In a bold fusion of genres, Paula Teles's latest single, "Jogo do Silêncio," merges symphonic and progressive metal with traditional Portuguese music. This innovative blend is not the result of a premeditated plan but an organic development in the studio with producer Jorge Lopes. "We were in the studio, and ideas just started flowing naturally," Paula reveals. "There was no pre-set rule; we just kept adding fragments that made sense to both of us. I will always have a tendency to write darker music, based on minor keys. So, I let this happen in a free and spontaneous way."
Born in a village between Douro and Minho, Paula's music is deeply influenced by the rural Portuguese culture of the 1940s to 1960s. She recounts how music was a crucial part of life in her village, used to alleviate the hardships of extreme poverty under a repressive regime. "Music was always present, in fieldwork, religious pilgrimages, and evenings by the fireplace. It was a way to perpetuate stories and emotionally connect people," Paula explains. This emotional intensity and translated sadness are what she seeks to capture in her music.
An interesting aspect of "Jogo do Silêncio" is the special collaboration with Bjorn Strid (Soilwork / The Night Flight Orchestra), who, for the first time, sings in Portuguese. Paula, a long-time fan, describes working with Bjorn as an honor. "He's incredibly professional, and in my view, the best male voice in modern metal," she says.
The single delves into the psychological complexities of a female character, a narrative inspired by the stories Paula's mother shared about her childhood. "My mother always enjoyed sharing with me the stories of her childhood. There were so many narratives and characters that stayed in my memory that I ended up combining all their traits into a single character. Everything I narrate in my music are fragments of what I remember hearing from my mother's recollections." Paula says, explaining her narrative choice.
One of the song's poignant themes is the story of a Portuguese soldier who never returned from the Colonial War, reflecting a real-life tragedy from Paula's village. "This is a true story. My mother would tell of a girl who went mad because her beloved never returned. My village lost many sons, brothers, and lovers who were forced to fight in a war from which they never returned. Entire families suffered, longing to receive news (good or bad)!", Paula shares.
When asked about her place in the symphonic metal genre, Paula clarifies that "Jogo do Silêncio" is not a typical symphonic metal project. Her classical training influences her singing style, and the use of the Portuguese guitar and melodies inspired by fado set her apart. "This is not a symphonic metal project. However, as I have classical training, I do not forsake that influence in the way I sing. The presence of the Portuguese guitar, the melody influenced by fado, and the melancholic yet intense atmosphere are some of the aspects that distinguish my music", she states.
Paula Teles's "Jogo do Silêncio" is a unique musical journey that pays homage to the rich cultural heritage of Portugal. With its blend of symphonic and progressive metal and traditional Portuguese elements, the single is sure to captivate fans of bands like Epica and Nightwish, while offering something distinctively its own.