Thursday, September 15, 2011

Foreign Correspondent Turns His Attention to 'Fado' Music

After graduating from Brown University, Joshua Dylan Mellars began an enviable journalism career. The Marin County native reported from various Latin American hotspots for outlets such as UPI and the BBC.

But this weekend in Santa Rosa, he will unveil the fruits of a very different kind of journalism. His documentary Heaven's Mirror: A Portuguese Voyage, which premieres Saturday and Sunday as part of the Santa Rosa International Film Festival, is the product of six years and travels totaling 33,000 miles.

After the death of his grandmother, Mellars chose to essentially duplicate the Portuguese explorers of old, traveling on an arc stretching from Old Lisbon and Goa to Rhode Island and Central California. Through it all, his mission was get to try and get to the bottom of Portugal's 150-year-old musical movement known as Fado. Encompassing bittersweet laments about the sea, bullfighting, and unrequited love, Fado is promulgated by performers known as “Fadistas,” beginning in earnest in the 1940s with Amalia Rodriques.


Mellars curated an ongoing jam session in Old Lisbon that united leading guitar performers with Fado singers. It's a virtual hit list of experts in expressing the sentiment of “sausade,” and one that will be sure to please any aficionado of culturally rich musical art forms. There are a number of additional video clips from the documentary, in addition to the above trailer, shared across different sections of the film's official website.

[Heaven's Mirror: A Portuguese Journey]

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