Reflector #26: Atlas Fret – “Lisbon 1755 (Earthquake Samba)”

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

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In 2007, two American high school teachers from North Carolina thought it would be a good idea to teach historical events through music. The curriculum coming out of it was Repeat The Days – Songs Inspired By World History, where one can find tracks such “Genghis Kahn”, “Crusades” or “Lean and Hungry (Cassius’ Lament)” — but also our own tragedy, in “Lisbon 1755 (Earthquake Samba)”, although it sounds more like a bossa nova.
It is written from the point of view of a baffled Lisbonense:

I walk through the streets of my city
God laid waste to this land

Or is it a force of nature we’ve yet to understand
Great minds of Europe will argue what brought this upon us
I say, what does it matter
It’s all hardship in the end, but then
I walk through city streets of my city on All Saints Day
Buildings rocked and glass shattered, everything was in disarray
Friendly fires in the hearth turned into conflagrations
Lisbon, my Lisbon, what have we done?
I don’t think we deserve this
Don’t we sit, stand and kneel to pray almost every single day?
I don’t believe God will forget us
He just works in mysterious ways
Like tidal waves on the Tagus and fire in Lisbon’s streets

This experience wasn’t repeated and Repeat The Days was a one-off. It seems the band ditched its recording plans for more conventional lesson plans and is now… history.

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