The Story Behind “Ribeira”.

I’m sure many of you noticed all the Portuguese names to the songs and were scratching your heads as to what they all mean. Well, let me explain. 

1) O Tripeiro = The Tripe Man

People from Porto are known as Tripeiros. Which means Tripe People. Ya, gross. But if you study closer you’ll discover that it has a very sweet meaning. I could explain why but this link would do a better job than me. Click Here to read the history. So, imagine in your mind the people of Porto wandering the Plaza of Ribeira. Got it in your mind? Ok, now here’s the next song…

2) A Praça da Ribeira = Ribeira Plaza

This is the plaza where all the inhabitants and foreigners roam and enjoy the sights and smells of Ribeira. Located in the middle of the plaza is a large cube sculpture which is sort of the icon of Ribeira. Here’s a PIC to help you visualize.

3) A Cigana = The Gypsy Woman

Now, I never actually saw any Gypsies down in Ribeira. But I did see a lot of them around Portugal. I thought it would be a nice touch to imagine a Gypsy woman dancing on the streets of Ribeira. 

4) O Guitarrista e O Ceguinho = The Guitarist and The Blind Man

Imagine a blind man comes every day to beg in his little nook for money. He sits himself down with his comfy blanket and puts on his best pathetic face. You know, to get the most alms. Right across from him comes a guitarist to play for tips. Now, the blind can’t see that the guitarist is playing for tips. He can only hear the beautiful music. This inspires the blind man to beg with great emotion. With every coin that drops his enthusiasm is increased. Only what he doesn’t know is that it’s the guitarist who’s making all the money. This goes on for some time until the guitarist feels he’s made enough money. Out of feeling bad for the blind man the guitarist generously shares his earnings with the blind man. 

5) Os Ventos de Trás-Os-Montes = The Winds from Behind-The-Mountains

Trás-Os-Montes is a very special place. Located in the northwest region of Portugal. Outside of Porto. You do have to drive for a while to get there. But it’s a very magical place with beautiful rolling mountains and the occasional hut or sheepherder tending to his sheep. The wind can be felt all the way down to Ribeira almost as if it’s calling you to visit there. A magical woodland place where the city can’t be heard. 

6) O Pescador = The Fisherman

The fisherman who goes out to sea on a daily basis to catch his food for his family. He’s a rough man with calloused hands but his heart is kind and he loves his family. Every morning you can catch him preparing at dawn. He checks his hooks and his lines to make sure everything is in order and then he sails out to catch his fare.

7) O Ladrão = The Thief

The sneaky boy pickpocket who’s always looking for some unsuspecting foreigner. Better be careful or he’ll snag your wallet and you won’t even notice it until you’re safe back at home in your hotel.

8) Marieta = Mary

The beautiful young woman who catches the eye of every man, married or not. She’s dressed in a lovely yellow summer dress and all the young bachelors of the town dare not approach someone of such stunning beauty. Little do they know that her beauty has caused her some loneliness. She desires friendship and even a companion. But none are brave enough to approach one who is so remarkable and flawless. All the bachelors think “There’s no way she’d be interested in someone like me” And so the bachelors marry lesser beauties and Marieta grows older and alone. 

9) Porto = Port

The great city of Porto. Home of Port wine, the Soccer club of Porto, great restaurants, music, people, culture, art and music. This is where I studied at the Professional School of Music. And this is the city that houses my favorite locale of all – Ribeira. 

10) A Menina dos Olhos Cor de Avelã = The Girl with the Hazelnut Eyes

This is Marieta again. Her 2nd song. When you listen to this song it’s as if you’re looking deep into her eyes and seeing her soul.

11) Romança = Romance

A romance eventually sparks for our beautiful Marieta. She finds a companion and all is wonderful. Eventually they marry and have kids and grow older. She stays home to take care of the kids and he does what his fathers and father’s fathers have always done for generations – he becomes a fisherman. Mariata is the wife to our dear Fisherman. Remember track 6? This song is their story and how they grow older together. Yes, they bicker and argue from time to time. But don’t all couples who truly love each other? 

12) Lágrima = Tear

A tragedy has befallen our Marieta. But we don’t know what yet. All we see is a single tear fall from her eyes. 

13) A Viúva Olha Para o Nada = The Widow Looks Out into Nothingness

Marieta is now an old widow. Her husband passed away at sea and never came back. You can see her sitting at her windowsill in Ribeira every day looking out into the sea awaiting the return of her beloved Fisherman. Her children have all moved out and now all she has are her memories. Somehow this consoles her as she reflects back and realizes that she had a good life. She enjoys watching the daily commotion in Ribeira. 

14) A Bófia = The Cop

The police officer walks his daily route through the streets of Ribeira. All the locals know him. He’s a good man but not a bright one. The locals enjoy his company but know that the streets aren’t exactly the safest on his watch. Still he loves his job and takes it very seriously. On a sudden he hears someone scream out “STOP! THIEF!”

15) A Pesquisa = The Chase

The cop turns and sees a young boy running for the alleyways and a foreigner pointing in the direction of the boy. The police officer breaks in to a sweaty run while blowing his whistle. They pass below Marieta’s windowsill and she eyes the disruption with cool detachment, but with just a hint of childish delight. Locals all around are following the disturbance in hopes of seeing some action but no one steps in to stop the thief. Eventually the cop can’t keep up with the boy’s stamina and his energy fails him. Too many sausages and wine have not been kind to the police officer’s physique. With head hanging low the cop will have to return to his superior to report yet another failed attempt at catching the pickpocket. 

16) Perdido no Mar = Lost at Sea

The Fisherman has sailed out to sea but was hit by an unexpected storm. He survives the storm but the mast of his boat does not. His sails broke during the massive storm and now he’s powerless to return home. Having only 2 days of water and food to last him he sets his hopes on the chances that someone will find him and return him to his beloved Marieta. By the 3rd day he’s out of provisions and knows he can’t last much longer. With the type of acceptance that only a Portuguese fisherman can have he lays himself down on his rocking boat and closes his eyes. In his mind’s eye he remembers the first day he met Marieta. The beautiful yellow dress, her smile, the way the wind blew her hair and how he, of all the other bachelors, found the courage in himself to approach the most beautiful girl in Ribeira and asked for her hand.