A New Review of Mar Portugues

 There is a new review of our CD Mar Portugues on Amazon!

Shawna Lenore & Darrell Kastin – MAR PORTUGUES: A Tribute to Florbela Espanca & Fernando Pessoa

Pianist and guitarist Darrell Kastin’s vision was to musically transcribe the beautiful poetry of Portugal’s Fernando Pessoa and Florbela Espanca. Kastin’s mother was born in the Azores, and he has spent considerable time in the country soaking up the culture. Married to a Portuguese woman, Kastin was clearly inspired by his love and passion for Portuguese music, poetry and culture. The country is well known for its rich, deep fado music (literal definition meaning “fate”). As with fado, Kastin’s melodies and arrangements provide great emphasis on stringed instrumental accompaniment. While the project was conceived in Oregon, Kastin travelled to Lisbon to record with top Portuguese musicians including Pedro Barroso (vocals on two tracks, adufe, percussion), Miguel Carreira (accordion), Luís Sá Pessoa (cello), Luis Petisca (Portuguese guitar), and the Vox Nobis Choir. Barroso also served as producer.

The project’s emotional radiance and success is largely carried by the hypnotic voice of Kastin’s daughter, Shawna Lenore Kastin. She demonstrates considerable emotional depth, range and control as she sings the ballads and songs with haunting beauty. Like fado music, she uses warm, conversational vocalizing to present graceful stories of life, destiny, dreams, love and desire. One example of the strong emotional impact of this poetry and music is found with “O Maior Bem” that makes mention of deceit, suffering, pain, sorrow, weariness, disdain, and torment. There is a long Portuguese tradition of poetry and literature, both academic and traditional. Also, balladry has been part of Portuguese tradition since long before the early 19th century. Thus, Darrell Kastin is able to keep one foot grounded in tradition while providing engrossing contemporary music that captures the soulful concerns, stories and declarations of undying love found in the poetry. Besides his love of this kind of music, he also says the album took alchemy and a little madness. Alchemy was needed to bring many elements successfully together, and he attributed the madness to his desire to musically journey uncharted waters. (Joe Ross)


Some Reviews!

Our CD Mar Portugues has received some lovely reviews! So exciting 🙂

"The poetry of acclaimed Portuguese poets Florbela Espanca and Fernando Pessoa are highlighted in the most recent work, Mar Português (Portuguese Sea) by vocalist Shawna Lenore and writer/composer Darrell Kastin. The father-daughter duo joins Darrell Kastin on piano and guitar, and other musicians on vocals, accordion, cello, Portuguese guitar, adufe, and assorted percussion. Shawna’s seductive voice, along with the voice of producer Pedro Barroso, provides a classical and jazz foundation that is punctuated by elements of fado."

Read the rest here: http://www.reviewyou.com/shawna-lenore-darrell-kastin-mar-portuguesportuguese-sea/

"Besides the obvious, the father-daughter duo of Darrell Kastin and Shawna Lenore have a great deal in common. Kastin, a Los Angeles native, is an author of novels, short stories and poetry, as well a musician and composer. The Undiscovered Island, a novel written by Kastin, was published in 2009 while he also released a CD, Lullabies for Sinners, in 2007. Lenore shares her father’s literary and musical talents and passions. A graduate of Smith College and a singer, poet and writer, she is in the process of furthering her literary skills and credentials at the Vermont College of Fine Arts."

Read the rest: http://www.reviewyou.com/shawna-lenore-darrell-kastin-mar-portuguesportuguese-sea-2/


Darrell Kastin & Shawna Lenore announce their new album

Of course as soon as I finished writing my last post my dad came in and told me the CD is now up on CD Baby. Finally! So here is the official press release. If you’re interested in buying a copy this is the link: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ShawnaDarrellKastin

Also, I just updated my myspace page. My god! You don’t go on a website for a few months and everything changes. And, of course, it was practically impossible to figure out where anything was/how to do anything. Egad! I swear they do these things just to torture me…

Mar Português – Portuguese Sea
A Tribute to the poetry of Florbela Espanca & Fernando Pessoa

Darrell Kastin’s original music is inspired by the many folk traditions of Portugal and the Azores, the land of his heritage, and by the words of the great poets of Lusitania. Shawna’s mature interpretations and luscious, jazz-flavored voice compliment and seduce the listener in these poem-songs.

The father-daughter duo traveled to Lisbon last May to work on the project with legendary Portuguese artist/producer Pedro Barroso and his accomplished musicians. The album was recorded in a marathon week session at Tcha-Tcha-Tcha Studios.

More info at:


Mar Portugues

Several people have asked when the new CD is coming out and I realized it’s been awhile since I wrote an update about that. Right now a friend of my dad’s is finishing the cover and then it will need to be sent to the company that actually manufactures the CD, so at this point I don’t think we’re going to make our original goal of putting it out this month. I’m going to tentatively say it will be available in October.

If anyone is curious to hear some of the final versions of the songs you can hear them on my myspace: http://www.myspace.com/shawnalenore

Please do let me know what you think of them 🙂 I’ll post another update when we have a more definite release date.

I’ve also been having a lot of trouble with my stomach and my throat lately which means we haven’t been practicing at all. I’m trying a new medicine for acid reflux to see if it helps with my throat because if I can’t sing, well, I can’t promote the CD, and yeah. It’s been stressing me out lately because I know so many people want me to keep singing and I feel as though I’m letting everyone down, especially because there’s no quick fix to this. It’s not a passing cold, but an ongoing uphill battle through fire and ice. But the thing about singing that perhaps non-singers forget is that it’s a physical, full-body activity. You can’t go to the local music shop to get your body fixed if it’s broken. Alas, otherwise I would. In a heartbeat.