We drove back to Porto da Cruz in the northeast of the island to meet with a team of Borracheiros or at least the descendants of these swarthy labourers who were going to reenact how the men used to carry goatskins filled with wine, often 50 litres and more down the mountains to be
They showed us how they (slightly macabre turned inside out and tied with a special knot. The skins were known to burst but more likely in the hands of a Borracheiro who’d imbibed a little too much of its contents and tripped up. The Borracheiros.
The boss was usually the owner of the vineyard and he would oversee his precious cargo's transport down to Funchal.
It was only 30 years ago that The Borracheiros stopped and we're grateful to for carrying on the trastion albeit for my camera.
The Borracheiros sing while they carry the wine and I asked Joao if he could tell me a little of the history. "The Borracheiros liked to take their mind off the walking.
The Braguinha is the precursor to the Hawaiian Ukulele.
and Rajao - slightly larger version. In the United States (especially Hawaii), it was introduced by Portuguese immigrants and became an important part of the popular music of that place. The Hawaiian islands have an instrument very similar to the cavaquinho, called the ukulele, which is based on the machete or braguinha (variation on the cavaquinho), brought to the islands by Portuguese immigrants. The Hawaiian ukulele also has four strings, though tuned differently (usually G–C–E–A), and a shape somewhat similar to the cavaquinho. The machete was introduced into Hawaii by Augusto Dias, Manuel Nunes, and João Fernandes in 1879.
Portugal is probably best known for its lamentable Fado singing. That's not a very flattering thing to say but I use the word 'lamentable' as most of the songs are a lament about something or other, usually the sea or a difficult life on the land infused with a sense of resignation and melancholia. People in Portugal seem to go for that sort of thing for some reason. Fado means destiny or fate. The Portuguese who have emigrated relate to Fado more than those they left behind.
The genre is enjoying a revival these days with artists such as Mariza giving it a much-need makeover. Young people are once again embracing it and Mariza fills concert halls. Back in the 50's Amalia Rodrigues was considered the Queen of Fado and by 1999, she had sold over 30 million records worldwide, the best-selling Portuguese artist in history. Coimbra is the Fado of the university students, and the town is halfway between Lisbon and Oporto, apparently the place to go for Fado and we'll visit this on our next trip to the Portuguese mainland.