The new album by Portuguese singer, guitarist and composer Rafael Fraga comprises 14 original songs performed by the Rafael Fraga Quartet with strings. “Trova Caminhada” is a unique blend of Fado, Bossanova, Worldmusic and Jazz, served by a warm voice and sophisticated compositions.
The word “Trova” carries different meanings – sometimes music, others poetry, from the European Middle ages to Contemporary Cuban music. For me, it evokes the capacity to express something powerful, authentic and meaningful: a cry that puts things in motion – the “Caminhada”, which literally means “walking”, or, even better “outing”.
This “Trova Caminhada” departs from sinuous road, filled with memories, pain and joyful celebration. It puts in perspective my adulthood, in more than 15 years of songwriting, as “Plano Secreto” was written in 1999 and “A Ginga da Morna” in 2016, and the remaining songs written in between.
Until now, I made a career as guitarist and arranger; this album is a personal, landmark, in which I fully embrace the role of vocalist.
I appreciate the spontaneity in Portuguese culture, as well as the omnipresence of music in social gatherings; people get together, sing and play. I envisioned this album to retain that informal character by just bringing the musicians together and recording the result. This album is fully made under this spirit of spontaneity and gathering, in which we tried to keep as much of the “live” feel as possible – acknowledging the occasional leakages or noises that result from our proximity to each other, etc.
For me, writing is a lonely process. Sometimes it’s just a melody fragment that pops up from nowhere; others melody and lyrics seem to summon from the guitar strings. I analyse and rethink the texts word by word, trying to extract from them all the nuances. I write as a need, hoping that my writings light up a sparkle in someone.
The eremitic songwriter finding joy in a standing ovation is a paradox expressed in “Poeta Equilibrista”, opening song of this album. It sets the mood for a path of self-discovery, embracing desires and contradictions – the spice of life.