Flip-side Ferragudo

By Natasha Donn

Sometimes the most extraordinary stories are just lying at your feet…

This is the tale of a brave barefoot girl, her dog Santiago and the haunting CDs she sells keeping alive the memory of her musician father. It may leave you with a lump in your throat, but there’s hope and sunshine there too – and we can all do something easy and effective to “make things better”.

In 2005, many people in the Algarve were shocked to learn of the sudden death of street-busker composer Norbert Langensiepen. The 49-year-old was well known for the lilting music he played up and down the region on his guitar. His death from a lung embolism was totally unexpected.

He left behind a much-loved wife Petra, two children aged 12 and 9, and four timeless instrumental albums.

Tragically, six years later – also at the age of 49 – Petra died from lung cancer.

“They had to be together”, daughter Lena, now 19 and working as a trainee for us at Arte Algarve, says with gentle wisdom. “I believe they are somewhere living together again.”

Lena scattered her parents’ ashes at sea – both times from the popular pleasure boat Santa Bernarda.

“Wherever I go in the world where there’s ocean, my parents will be there”, she smiles.

He and Lena start painting together. Both sides of the board suddenly dance with swirls of colour. This is Oyen’s speciality, two-sided paintings that can twirl in the breeze. The two of them, both with pony tails wound on the top of their heads, concentrate on the colours. They’re unaware what a picture they make themselves.

“She is such a beautiful girl, don’t you think?” Oyen smiles up at me as he mixes more colour.

She is. A beautiful, strong and wonderful girl, with an extraordinary future ahead of her.

She thinks she will be involved in music, wants to learn how to play the didgeridoo and feels “everything will come clear on the road” during her trip.

Who knows, maybe somewhere along the line she’ll find the wherewithal to compile her father’s final album, too?

For a taste of Norbet Langensiepen’s magical music, here’s a tribute posted on Youtube, with a conversation thread underneath


To purchase Norbert Langensiepen’s CDs, please email his daughter Lena: [email protected]

Article originally published on the Arte Algarve website – www.artealgarve.net