Reflector #18: Suzanne Vega – “Ironbound”

True fact: Suzanne Vega once met Mário Soares when she was in Lisbon and he was President of Portugal.

“Reflector” is series undertaken by Atlas correspondent David Soares to bring to your attention songs by non-Portuguese bands inspired — in many cases, rather mysteriously — by the westernmost European nation. 

I’m cheating a bit here again. This is geographically far away, the “Portuguese women” mentioned here who “come and see what you sell” are actually in Newark in the Ironbound neighborhood that gives the title to this song off Solitude Standing .

But Suzanne Vega’s relationship with Portugal goes back a long way. She once wrote her impressions on a tour diary. In 1988, she had the peculiar honor of being invited to Belém palace by the president at the time Mário Soares (no known kin of this one). That’s just the kind of thing he would do as a president, anything that could take him away from drudgery. That slightly awkward but amusing encounter is described here.


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