There are places, scenes, scents that can prompt memories from decades past. When my Dad smells oranges he thinks of Christmas as a child and being excited to find a fresh, juicy orange in his stocking on Christmas morning.
Me? I seem to have an Echoic memory. When I hear things I remember moments in life. It’s like a rolodex in my head and I can almost feel my brain flipping through the index cards.
This morning while listening to new tunes from Patrick Watson, I came across his song “A Mermaid in Lisbon.” It’s actually one of three new pieces he released via Secret City Records.
Admittedly, it is not music I would have picked out on my own this morning, but the artwork in the labels email piqued my interest. Don’t get me wrong, Patrick Watson is a fantastic artist, but I have to be in the mood for it. While listening this morning I felt my shoulders relax and I was taken back to my childhood. I could see the sunlight streaming through my grandparent’s swimming pool water as I was looking up from the bottom of the pool.
My cousin, Roo, and I used to spend Sundays in the swimming pool. Yes, hours and hours of swimming and relaxing. Every Sunday we went to my grandparents for a big Italian dinner, because that’s what we did. I have one girl cousin on that side of the family and then there are ten boys. The girls always had to help clean up the dinner plates, but Italian dinners started at 1 p.m. so if we timed things right we could still get out to the pool when the sun was at its highest point. For the rest of the day we would see how long we could hold our breath while having pretend mermaid tea parties at the bottom of the pool.
Fast forward to current time, I’m not a mermaid, I’m wearing my Mandalorian sweat pants and I’m sitting on a sofa next to my dog. The kids are still asleep and that means I get to turn on Spotify and listen to music without interruption.
“The inspiration for these three pieces came the last time I was walking the streets of Lisbon. It’s my favourite place to wander it just generally feels like the streets are singing this wonderful melancholic sound for your walk, that pulls you into small winding roads, that make you feel like you’ll get lost and never return. Hence the mermaid title. It’s an incredible place and it was the one place in the world I missed most during the quarantine.”Patrick Watson
Featured in the tracks
While listening to “A Mermaid in Lisbon” you’ll hear the Grammy award-winning Attacca Quartet from New York. There’s just something magical about the sound of strings. You’ll also hear Teresa Salgueiro, because her music has been an influence for Patrick Watson and he was able to get her to sing with him for these tracks. Salgueiro was the lead singer for the Portuguese band Madredeus from 1987 until 2007.
The musicscape, Lisbon, is Portugal’s coastal capital city. I looked up photos of the city while listening to these tracks and it’s gorgeous. It’s never been on my bucket list to visit Lisbon, but it is now.
My 8-year-old daughter rates this music an 8.9 out of 10, she docked some points because she says it sounds too much like music from Minecraft. I wouldn’t know about this part, but thought you’d be interested in knowing her thoughts. 😉
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