By Luciana Leitão
“Does everybody know Sérgio Godinho?” The teacher and the students replied a cheerful “yes”. As soon as the famous Portuguese musician entered the room, the children started using the maraccas to mark the rhythm. “It’s two arms, it’s two arms, they serve to give a hug, while four arms serve to give two hugs,” they sang, replicating the rhymes from the Canção dos Abraços (Song of Hugs). The cheerful voices in unison marked the beginning of the session, which took place on March 13, at the Portuguese School of Macau, under The Script Road — Macau Literary Festival.
The auditorium was filled with children aged from six to nine years old, eager to listen to what Sérgio Godinho had to say. The author started by presenting his book for children and youngsters titled O Pequeno Livro dos Medos (The Small Book of Fears, in English). “Fears are something common to all ages,” he says. “If they throw us into the zoo, at the lion cage, they will eat us,” he added, to the sound of children’s laughter.
In a talk that travelled through his path as a writer and musician, Mr Godinho also mentioned his versatility in different genres, as he “is more known in Portugal for writing songs”, but he also has written short-stories, children’s books as well as, more recently, novels. “In songs, I have a music; there are rules in music. When I write for songs, I have to obey these rules, then there is the lyrics, which is the words from the music,” he mentions. “In the song you sang, there’s a rhyme from hugs [abraços] with arms [braços], which is the simplest in the world.”
The author just launched his debut novel titled Coração Mais que Perfeito (More than Perfect Heart, in a free translation to English). As for the process behind it, he mentioned: “All of us, and you have written stories, make up people — these people are based in things that already have happened. When we write, we start from that imagination and we also write about things that have happened.”
Mr Godinho also mentioned his first readings, having been raised in a reading environment. “At my house, we read a lot […]; I started by reading The Five [by Enid Blyton],” he says. “Then, when I was an adolescent, I read other things, like Eça de Queiroz and others, who my parents loved.”