Instantly adding to the canon of poems and songs in Spanish dealing with exile and the constant dream for a return home, “Golondrina” (the swallow) is an original composition by the-then-24 year old Brazilian singer songwriter Dom la Nena. The title track of her November 2013 EP Golondrina is also an apt metaphor for the permanent expatriate.
Born in Porto Alegre, Dominique Pinto (aka Dom la Nena – a nickname she picked up while in Argentina to study the cello) has been on the move ever since, following her parents to Paris, then moving to Buenos Aires before settling in Paris again at the age of 18.
Classically trained on the piano and cello and taking part in various youth orchestras, the musician soon crossed paths with the world of pop music as she accompanied and toured with actress/singers Jane Birkin and Jeanne Moreau in her early twenties. This experience naturally led Dom la Nena to start composing her own music and writing her own songs, culminating in the release of the musician’s first solo album Ela in January 2013 on the Six Degrees record label.
This permanent nomadic condition has forged the musician’s personal universe over the years. Dom la Nena’s songs are infused with memories of childhood, a nostalgia and longing for home – the emblematic Saudade. And many of her own videos (all beautifully crafted by husband and film maker Jeremiah) see her constantly on the move in cars, public transport or in transit at airports carrying backpacks.
Não venho daqui
Não venho de lá
Não venho de nenhum lugar
Não sei onde nasci
Não lembro onde cresci
Mas sei que sempre tive um lar
No meu país se é feliz
I do not come from here
I do not come from there
I do not come from anywhere
I do not know where I was born
I do not remember where I grew up
But I know that I always had a home
In my country/myself one is happy
Dom la Nena – No Meu País – Ela (2013)
Singing mainly in Portuguese, Ela is a superb collection of 13 original songs and melancholic ballads balancing delicately between modern classical, folk and pop music, borrowing the polyrhythms from her native Brazil or the triple meter from European waltzes. On Golondrina, Dom la Nena also covers songs in English, French and Spanish from The National, Stephan Eicher and Lhasa de Sela, the late wandering singer a major inspiration she has acknowledged.
Ela features vocal contributions from Brazilian singer Thiago Pethit, French singer Camille and English/Italian folk singer Piers Faccini who produced and recorded the album. Piers Faccini’s minimal arrangements, Dom la Nena’s hushed voice and subtle cello loops as well as Jermiah’s trademark aesthetics all transpire beautifully in the original video for the title track “Ela”.
The same track was also captured live in December 2012 accompanied by Portuguese accordion quartet Danças Ocultas (with whom Dom la Nena is currently touring) in a sublime contemporary arrangement.
“Ela” and “Golondrina” were released on Six Degrees Records.