Today I am hunkering down writing grade reports for my students. JB is upstairs in his studio working on his art. JB has put some Fado music on. Fado music is a portuguese genre of music with lyrics that are mournful and sad, having to do with loss, struggle, desire. It is connected with the portuguese word saudade which means (though many claim the word is untranslatable) longing, yearning, nostalgia, melancholy. It is a kind of blues, distinctively portuguese. Amalia Rodriguez’s voice, the queen of Fado, is what is filling the house right now.
Music playing while I am trying to write these narratives can sometimes be distracting, but somehow this music is striking the perfect tone, keeping me grounded in the realities of students’ efforts and commitments. And to my own shortcomings in abilities to reach them or not. This narrative writing always takes a great deal of effort and energy because I always want to find the right balance of honesty and constructive encouragement. Not always easy to frame the comments in this way for each student.
Amalia Rodriguez (1920-1999) and narrative reports– who would have thought this synchronicity was so powerful and symbiotic. There is something uplifting about the struggle, lyrically and academically, to embrace the work we all have to do and discovering, in that embracing, the promise of possibilities.