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Alentejo,Culture,Music,Portugal,Wine

Instead of Wine, Women, and Song; How about Wine, Men and Song?

I’m thinking the title of “Wine, Women, and Song” must have emanated from a man somewhere at some point in time… The odds are in favor of it being created this way. If I’m wrong, I stand corrected.

As a woman, I see “Wine, Men, and Song,” as a more interesting phenomena; maybe that’s because I’m a woman and see life through a different set of eyes… Perhaps much more differently than the first person to coin the original phrase.

So… Wine, Men, & Song

It has a great ring to it.

I find it fascinating that my American wine culture has become mostly about Food & Wine, away from the cultural aspects of people joining together to enjoy life to segueing mostly just to the table. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with it as it’s evolved, but I really get off on the social benefits more than the food tie ins. I eat to live. I don’t live to eat, as anyone who knows me well will tell you. I’d much rather have a gathering and dance than have a lamb chop and dessert.

I must admit that I still yearn for the days of pre-feminism, in certain areas.  I was one of those women who broke barriers… First to join Rotary Clubs (more than one), become their first board member, sit on committees of all men, except for the ironic one female secretary who was allowed to come in and take notes (for the male secretary board member).

And, I guess it’s because I was allowed to break certain barriers that I can write, Wine, Men, and Song… But I still miss the days of chivalry once in a while. There… I’ve said it, and I know I’ve made more than one guy happy about that one.

All of this said, this is why I’d return to Europe in a heartbeat, where chivalry still lives, regardless of the sociocultural changes. Men still think kindly of women, are willing to open and close doors, make sure that we’re seated correctly, and attended to in some very special ways. I don’t take offense to any of it… Never did.

[Image borrowed from What a Wonderful New World.com.xanga.com]

For Wine, Men, and Song, there’s even a group in the Alentejo region of Portugal called Baldão (pronounced similar to Bal-down, like you “own” something, with a “d” in front of it… and a sharp mouth closing at the end of the word).

The ethnomusicological study of cante ao baldão (singing of the baldão) can be read at Cante ao Baldao: A Song Dueling Practice in Alentejo, by Maria Jose Barriga

I was inspired to write this story as soon as I learned about the Portuguese culture’s love of music as being part of celebrations; Wine, Women & Men, and Song included. Their culture has two traditional song types:

  1. Fado (sung by women with acoustic back up)
  2. Baldão ~ image of Alente’s label at the right.

If you travel to the Alentejo region of Portugal, you might be serenaded by one of the town’s traditional singers. These men are genuine descendants of medieval troubadours… Their ancestors date back to the days of chivalry.

And so to the birth of a label coming from the Alentejo region of Portugal, inspired by Baldão, and encompassing the culture… Alente’s image of these three men: The cape, scarf worn at the neck, and the large fedora-style hat are all part of the garb. The singing is all part of their modern celebrations.

In all of this process in Portugal, wine is never the center of the activity, even in the Wine, Men, and Song part of it. It’s like having a glass of water… It just is, and it is what it is… magical.

Traditional culture gives birth to a wine brand where the tapestry of how Portugal has become what it is is honored with each and every thread along the way… Including the cloth of the Baldão singers.

Wine, Men, and Song…

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