© Rita Draper Frazão

Inner Tour is a blog about People, Arts and Traveling by Rita Draper Frazão.
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segunda-feira, 9 de fevereiro de 2015

The phoenix in Lena d'Água

Because this is also a blog about people, their stories are relevant to share, and this live drawing I made from the singer Lena d'Água is my starting point to tell you a bit more about this artist.

My first memory of Lena d'Água goes back, around 20 years ago, when she was doing music for kids and I was a happy child dancing to the sound of her LP's. I was far from imagining I would meet her later on.

Being José Águas (Benfica's football former player) daughter, Helena Águas (a.k.a. Lena) was already born a star. Her birth was announced in press and she was the cover of Benfica Ilustrado Magazine with less than 2 years old.

Years later, and along with talented musicians and poets (with projects like BeatnicksSalada de FrutasLena d'Água & Banda Atlântida, and later on, herself as a solo artist) she helped to shape Portuguese Rock Music through her work. Songs like Olha o Robot and Sempre que o amor me quiser made her so popular in the 80's, that one couldn't turn the radio on without listening to her.

One of my favorite videos of this period is this one, from Lena d'Água & Banda Atlântida with the song Vígaro cá vígaro lá. It's a story of tricksters with an injection of fun meets what it would become Sailor Moon's main character garment in the 90's. Absolutely visionary! I love it! Plus, a grand part this video clip was shot in one of my favorite places in Lisbon city, Belém.

In the 90's, and for almost a decade, Lena was singing and touring with the project Canções do século. It was also during this period that she developed a drug addiction that she overcame years later.

Now free from drugs, and away from the big hits and the spotlights, in 1999, she started a project in homage to Billie Holiday, and then to Elis Regina.

The drawing above was made just afterwords that period, in a concert she did at the Hot Clube de Portugal in 2004. I remember she sang Portuguese authors like Jorge Palma and Sérgio Godinho. I thought more about it as a sketch but I decided to published it along with this article because, although it's "raw", I think it's spontaneous and true. Funnily she is wearing the same neckless in this drawing and in her promotional photos and CD cover, all from the photographer Rita Carmo. I also found a photo of this exact concert where this drawing was made, at Lena's blog.

Some years later, in 2007, Blue Note edited "Sempre", but somehow mostly the jazz hard core public payed attention to it, as many people thought she was out of the picture.

Bela Adormecida film from Rogério Ribeiro Rogério, documented, in 2010, (quoting) "her past and (...) the circumstances that led to its disappearance from the Portuguese music scenery." This follows a period where she moved away from the city, and chose to live in the countryside.

In 2011 she wrote a book about her dad, "José Águas, o Meu Pai Herói" edited by Leya.

With her dad's blessing, lungs full of fresh air, birds singing, sinuous cats strolling and dogs barking, she is back with Carrossel album with Lena d'Agua & Rock'n'Roll Station, where she refurbished her music house with some new arrangements of 13 of her most famous songs. It's a new look over decades of work. And it sounds fresh fresh fresh!

Lena is a nature lover, an activist who defends animals & vegetarianism and that sang against demagogue politicians and nuclear energy.

Her beauty and the sweetness of her voice continue to enchant and this is my little tribute to a person that, with all her ups and downs in life, has never given up, and has the ability to reinvent herself from the ashes over and over.

I believe that hadn't she had so many difficulties, sung jazz and other musics and moved to the countryside, and this album would've never been this good. Bravo!

You can buy her newest album here and listen more of her here. Also, find their next concerts details, here.

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