Nelly Furtado traveled to the pre-trendy destination of the Azores while on break in between tours and award shows. The Azores, nine Portuguese islands, traditionally known for a year-round Spring climate, sea cliffs, cove beaches, fishing villages and ancient palaces, may now be known as the birthplace of Furtado’s album, “Whoa Nelly!” The Grammy winner’s homepage reads, “It was summertime and I was in the Azores hanging around the small village my parents are from, I was looking out on this very rural setting, on a road going up a hill. There was an old man coming down the hill with a pitchfork on his shoulder. He was wearing gum boats, work pants and a Coca-Cola t-shirt, I saw that and thought ‘That’s my album!’”
Synthesizing old and new is a process Europe is quite familiar with. From London’s warehouse parties, and dance-hall churches to Spain’s Ibiza, many of Europe’s music scenes have set the stage for America’s pop-culture junky travelers. However, the Azores, an emerging tourist destination, are rarely associated with these already passé scenes. However, Furtado’s observation is what most people see while traveling through the Azores, a fusion of ancient and modern, old and new, without candy raver glow sticks, trance bass lines, and Louis Vuitton bags cluttering the panorama.
Among the diverse surroundings, travelers will not find five-story clubs with P-Diddy and Paris Hilton sipping Crystal, but they will find a rich culture that stands on its own. A destination that you don’t have to cram your rucksack full of your Saturday night outfits, but with cool traveling clothes to accent the established by the sea wateringholes. So, while a visitor may stand on a cobblestone street overlooking looking the ocean, watching a local woman hang out her laundry, it is possible to hear modern day music bumping away in the background from a local coffee shop, or some young guys 12 inch kickers. And it may just be Nelly Furtado’s music, influenced by her own Azorean descent and experience.