My favorite things Portugal

1. Singer: Amalia Rodrigues, fado specialist.  I am also a fan of Sara Tavares, especially this CD.  Carmen Miranda is often thought of as Brazilian, but she was born in Portugal and I believe she grew up there as well.  She was good.

2. Popular music: Nelly Furtado has Portuguese ancestry, although I believe most of the demons who inhabit the MR comments section would count her as Canadian.

3. Novelist: Jose Saramago.  But I don't like them all.  Blindness, The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis, and The Double are the primary ones to read.  Baltasar and Blimunda I should try again.  The Stone Raft is good.  Currently I am reading, and enjoying Antunes's Fado Alexandrino.

4. Philosopher: Can I count Spinoza?

5. Painter: I guess I pick Paula Rego.  I can't think of a classic painter here. 

6. Poet and essayist: Pessoa.  I've been influenced by his work.  The Book of Disquiet is his masterpiece.

7. Composer: Manuel Cardoso is the only one I can think of.  He's OK.

8. Former colony: Brazil.  But there's stiff competition.

9. Economist, one eighth of him: Can you guess?  The eighth is from the Madeira Islands with the family name Alfonso.

The bottom line: I am worried by the gaps here, including classical music, cinema, painting, and sculpture.  Yet #8 makes up for it all.  I suspect that too much royal patronage is the reason why there are so many notable Portuguese explorers and so few recognized composers.


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