Porto’s Alma 3
The aim of this photo was to capture the cat inside her little shelter, but I scared her off. I felt so sorry about interrupting her and I hope my stories won’t get her into trouble with the paparazzi. When I was walking up and down the hills of Porto, I came across kittens everywhere and it was such a sweet image that I wanted to stay there forever. But then I wondered where their mother was and wherever I looked, I couldn’t find her. Now that I saw your drawing above the cat’s shelter, I again understood a little bit more about you. You are their mother. You watch out for them and I really have to thank you for it. You are the mother of the abandoned, mother of the lonely, mother of the forgotten. Do you know why I call you Alma? It is a beautiful German name but more importantly, it means soul in Portuguese. I learned this word while I was listening to Mariza for the first time. She is a famous Portuguese singer and instrumental as to making fado popular again. Fado is typical Portuguese folk music and it is the most beautiful honest expression of a culture I have ever listened to. It is so traditional. I love traditions of different cultures. I think, I am so drawn to them because I kind of lost my own culture’s tradition. Or maybe, I belong to one of these generations experiencing a change of cultural tradition. The same happens with fado as I am aware. It is so sad that fado only seems to be performed for tourists these days and because the restaurants have to pay a fee for fado concerts to be given at their premises, the prices are enormously high. But anyway, it is totally worth it. I once joined a true urban fado concert in Lisbon entirely performed by elderly Portuguese participating in an open stage setting. It was lovely and thank God, I was the only tourist there. It is nice to see that this tradition is still rooted in popular culture and not only a theatrical setting put on for tourist based on a historical tradition. Mariza really managed to make it a young people’s music again and she has this one song called “Minh’ Alma” where she sings the lyrics “alma, minha alma, diz-me quem eu sou”. It means “soul, soul of mine, say who I am” and it is this question accompanied with the affecting and melancholy melody my heart carries every day. So I am this flâneur of postmodern live wandering around and searching for a reason and wherever I go asking the same question. Soul, who am I? And then there is you, the mother of all wanderers, the answer to everyone’s question. Because you are Porto’s soul, you are all in one, you are the answer and the answer is a feeling.