Reflector #34: Bertrand Belin – “Porto”

French singer-songwriter, on opening his 2005 debut album, took the bold step of combining sardines with porto the drink. Or is it Porto the city?

Bertrand Belin is an acclaimed French singer-songwriter with half a dozen albums under his belt already and a career that has also straddled him over to cinema, as an actor, director, and composer of numerous soundtracks. His self-named 2005 debut album opens with this “Porto.”
Now, the word Porto in French can refer to both the city and port wine. The lyrics indicate it might be a blend of both. On the one hand, they describe how the narrator has “the sugar on the edge of his lips and the ruby in the pit of his stomach” and wants to “share a glass of old port wine on a boat.”

On the other hand, there’s mention of a “sardine dinner on a bed of green tomatoes,” “a eucalyptus-scented leafy evening wind” and the “courage of fishermen on garish-colored boats.” Scenery that could well be in Portugal, if not in Porto. Then again, sardines and port wine don’t really mix well together, so who knows…

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