I close my eyes in order to see better
A voice that is timeless and touching ( Charlie Gillet 2006)
Even today fairy tales still happen - tales sounding as if they came straight out of the Arabian Nights. This is the miraculous story of the blind singer DONA ROSA of Lisbon. Already in the 70s, she turned up in video documentaries as a street singer, accompanying herself only with a triangle in the alleys of Lisbon, where she had long been a local heroine. Then in 1999, André Heller was captivated by her and invited her to appear in the „Voice of God“ TV production. This was followed by her debut recording „Historias da Rua“ in 2000. Two further CDs followed in 2003 „Segredos“ and
„Alma Livre“ in 2007
„Sou Luz „ her latest CD, is a showcase of her extraordinary gifts in rich, sonorous instrumental settings. Unforgettable melodies like „Beija Flor“ and „Lago de Ontem“ were created by the brother team Raul and José Abreu. While Raul has been for many years her faithful guitar accompanist and composer of the songs , José is the brilliant lyricist for Dona Rosa. Wonderful ballads like „Asa de Anjo“ and „Retrato“, with their poignant strings and piano settings, are among the gems of this CD.
In the finale, „Nesta Terra Portuguesa“ Dona Rosa returns to her origins, accompanying herself on triangle alone. Then, in an extraordinary bonus, she tells us, in her own words, her tragic life?s story.
Dona Rosa embodies the true longing of the soul, rooted in a tradition whose most relevant and famous symbol is Fado. Her voice is the ideal instrument for the expression of this
longing. And as she sings, she enables us to see and feel her world, which though outwardly blind, opens vast internal emotional vistas. .....“ The eyes of the body are unable to see. The real vision comes from the eyes of the spirit. It is important to return to that first vision, the vision of the soul“...
The famous blind activist Helen Keller said that “the biggest problem that blind people face, is the lack of vision of their friends who see ". In a world, where senses are dormant, what is the real meaning of seeing?
Blind people live in a luminous world, even if they can’t see. They live very near the source of the inner life where light is always present. If what is essential is invisible, will it be possible to share and make audible some of the atmosphere and colors of the rainbow that are part of the inner landscape of someone who lost the capability of seeing?
This is the main purpose of this project in which through original lyrics and songs, poems that evoke the possibility of redirecting our attention to the soul dimension, we want to remember a space within us that remains almost inhabited.
Dona Rosa with her generosity and unique way of being gave voice to words, songs and memories of her life. She faced the challenges of this new step in her career with courage and the consequence of her commitment is shown in the particular and different sound atmosphere of this CD called: " Sou Luz ".
Drawings done by blind children that brought another color to the cover of this CD, a poem created by Aliu Baio , a sixteen year old pupil of the Helen Keller Institute of Lisbon, new songs that had the support of "devoted" musicians , contributed for making this challenge of Dona Rosa a visible reality.
May “Sou Luz" be, above all, an invitation to close our eyes, in order, to see better...
Memories of a Trajectory (Dona Rosa/Miguel Camilo)
The funny thing is, though it is not funny at all, that my mother used to tell me that I stopped seeing exactly when I was playing blind man's buff, so much that I sometimes say jokingly that I went blind playing blind man's bluff. Suddenly I had many headaches; later they uncovered my eyes and I asked them to switch the light on, but the light was already on... since I could no longer see I began to call them all the names I could think of because they were lying, because the light was not switched on; then I was unable to walk, but later I recovered... if we were all still living we could be 23 children, 16 of us blind... my mother also had meningitis, but when she was seven years old. The meningitis took my sight, it got to my mother's leg...
Life doesn't stop when you don't see; I don't remember seeing... in my dreams I see things but I don't remember having had vision... when I spoke to a psychologist she said that even though I don't remember, when I saw until I was four years old, when I lost my sight, was recorded... In real life I don't remember anything, I only see bad things, but it's when I am sleeping... there is no point in looking for what I saw in dreams because I can't find it...
I liked to be treated as a normal person... When I go into a shop and they say, ah, sorry, you can't touch, I turn my back, and if I can't touch something, then I can't buy it.... I can't touch it, let's go, let's go to another shop... so I went to another shop, and I touched everything and touched it all again, and then bought what I wanted...
I don't like red, I like blue, I like yellow, I like white, but I really prefer black... I often dress entirely in black. I used to write lots of letters, but now I used the telephone more, and when I win the lottery I'll buy a computer... a computer adapted toe blind people, whether in Germany or Portugal, I've heard costs 10,000 Euros; 10,000 Euros.... I have to win Euromillions.
Now, the only thing that concerns me, the only thing that really interests me, is the moment when I am performing, nothing else...
Concerts and Tours:
Since 2001 Dona Rosa performed in 19 countries of the world.
She visited beside the most European countries: USA, CANADA,TAIWAN, RUSSIA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND
WOMEX - WORLD MUSIC EXPO Fall 2000 - solo performance -
WOMAD Festivals ( UK,ES, AUS, NZL )
Canada: Toronto - Harbourfront Festival, Sunfest , Vancouver Folk Festival
USA: San Francisco – World Music Festival
Taiwan: Women Festival
Ireland: Cork Festival
International TV productions:
1999 ORF: „ Stimmen Gottes“ TV production of André Heller for national Austrian TV
2001 German TV: Kultureport ( National cultur magazine in public TV )
2003 German TV: „ Menschen „ Portrait of Dona Rosa a national TV magazine ZDF (2nd program)
2007 (31.12.) New Years Concert of Dutch TV (!)
2009 45 minutes for TVP2 , Polands National TV station
Historias da Rua JARO 4228-2 (2000)
Segredos JARO 4243-2 (2003)
Alma Livre JARO 4282-2 (2007)
Sou Luz (2012) 4309-2