“Reflector” is a series Atlas correspondent David Soares has undertaken to bring to your attention songs by non-Portuguese bands inspired — in many cases, rather mysteriously — by the westernmost European nation.
After three years of intense touring, the charismatic Philadelphia jazz singer felt the need to find somewhere peaceful “to forget about work and make-up.” She ended up in Lisbon in 2011 for several months, and that stint bore influences in The Absence of the following year, on top of her already characteristically mature voice for her relatively young age and known devotion to Bossa Nova. During that time, she also got initiated in the Portuguese guitar (the Coimbra version) and probably brushed up on the language.
“Lisboa” is bilingual, it sings about the “sorrow of days gone by,” “vacant skies,” “the ever twilight amber of the alleyways,” and it boasts the light, in spite of her own photosensitivity (from a severe accident in her teenage years). If she doesn’t complain.