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  • Amália Baraona

Who am I?

Updated: Mar 2, 2022

Rainy grey windy days like today can be spent cuddling, sitting in front of the TV wasting life, or sleeping, which I often do like any of us, I guess...!

But 2017 started in a very special way for me and to continue expressing myself through music and being happy as a person, these days I've been trying to work on who I am rather than what I do, where I go or with whom. It does sound too philosophical, but it has been very rewarding as well as painful, to be honest with myself! In the end, who I am goes into the way I sing, but I had never stopped to think about it!

Some years ago in an interview to Total Croatia News (TCN), I said that my living all over the world divided my life in 4 slices like a tasty birthday cake: 1 quarter in Portugal where I was born, 1 quarter in Brazil where I grew up singing with friends, 1 quarter in Belgium where I started shyly singing in public, and 1 quarter in the Balkans: in Albania where my singing flourished and I started singing regularly and needing music like the air I breathed, in Croatia where I fell in love with my husband and recorded my 1st and my 2nd albums (both in Italy), and in Macedonia where I recorded my 3rd album accompanied for the first time exclusively by Balkan musicians and loving friends playing Brazilian music with me.

But throughout all these years and places, who am I?

I am me, with all the happiness and sadness that I experienced in each one of these places, with all the qualities and defaults that I have, with all the musical achievements and frustrations that I've been through, with all the joy and grief that I gave to and took from the people who crossed my path.

I am not in a box where people constantly try to put me with stereotype questions like:

1. Ohhh! You're Portuguese! I love Fado. You sing Fado, right, like Amália Rodrigues?

No fellows, sorry to disappoint you! I sing Bossa Nova and Evergreens!

2. So, do you feel more Brazilian or more Portuguese?

Hum... why would I feel more this or that?!?!? I feel it all! I retain what I love from everywhere I go!

3. Your husband is Croatian! How come you still don't speak Croatian?

The same way I don't speak Albanian, or Macedonian! But I speak Portuguese, and English, French, and Italian, Spanish! I guess, as my husband says, that my linguistic hard disk is overloaded :-)

4. What's your key? Do you do this in Bb?

Ups! Dunno! I don't read music. I just sing! And here is where my shortcomings in music come rolling down like an avalanche!...

Being an uneducated musician, is also who I am. I am not independent in music. I have to rely on those who play with me, I have to trust them, I must feel the same sense of sharing and love for what I do in my musical companions. I am not a leader. I rarely stand alone in front of the stage like vocalists do, but I'd rather sit by or hang around the musicians because I love looking at them while I'm singing and feeding myself with their energy, as well as giving my energy back to them. No words required. Just a glimpse. A smile.

01/05/2016: DAM Festival, Pristina with Petrit Ceku (guitar) and Dinko Stipanicev (double bass)

I sing and share my singing with those who want to receive it. They have the knowledge and the feeling. I just stick to the emotion and often suffer from the insecurity that comes from ignorance. But when I start singing on a stage, when the musicians playing with me smile as they play, when I see a discreet tear rolling from the eyes of someone in the audience, when I receive the warmth and joy of an applause, when unknown people come to me and give me a flower or a wordless hug, all the insecurity and frustration of not being better at what I do disappear and only the emotion of having brought a moment of joy and happiness to those who were listening make it all worth it.

That's who I am wherever I go. I am not fully independent. I am not omnipotent. I am aware of my shortcomings, I know and accept my vulnerabilities, my strength as my fragility. I know that I don't always reach what I want, but I take responsibility for it and try to learn from experience and from people who are kind enough to patiently teach and guide me. I am the sharing with musicians and public, I am the lyrics of the songs, I am the melodies, I am the stories behind the music, I am the emotion and the stubbornness and I will continue doing music and incorporating in it all the fragility and imperfections which are also a part of me.

I am simply Amália who does not live of music, but who sings and shares music to feel alive!

... and as I wrote the last line of this post, the rain stopped and the most amazing sunset showed up! Nature and music never cease to surprise me and make life worth living!...

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