It was in 2012. I was surfing the net and I found something under the title “United for Mariana”. Mariana was a little girl, just 11, she had Dravet’s Syndrome, was losing her motor skills… and she lived with her parents, Carla and Miguel on a third floor with no elevator in Lisbon. And she need one of those special chairs to take her up, hence “United for Mariana”, a solidarity show that was being put up by a Twitter community which had heard of the little girl’s problem.
Espelho Mau is a small band, even by Portuguese standards, but since they were looking for people to act I sent them an e-mail saying something like we were a small act from the south margin of the Tagus (one needs to be Portuguese to really understand this) but we would be more than pleased to help in every way that we could.
They let us in!
On the day of the event we met Carla, the mother, and the little girl, shortly after we arrived. I remember being overwhelmed by their smiles. I remembered my daughter, just 3 then, and I remember Alex, our guitarist saying he felt the same about his boy, then just 2. How gothic of us both… But they were rocking the house, because they were there to celebrate life, a beautiful life as a family with so many friends and surrounded with so much love.
We were to play two songs, and so we did. Pedro was amazing on keyboards. Alex seemed to touch the sky with his guitar riffs. And I managed to keep up with them. We played “Desenho Suicida” (something like “Suicide Drawing”), a song about our love for the stage and being on the road, and we premiered “If Angels Should Fall”, a song about renewal, perseverance. .. and love.
On that day, for a little less than 10 minutes, we were a breath short of perfection.
When we were leaving the backstage, heading to the bar, this guy comes to us and says: “So, you guys are Espelho Mau, right?”. We said we were and he goes “Thank you so much”. We asked him what was he thanking us for, and he said he was Mariana’s father. I felt a river flooding my eyes and begged him not to as I felt we owed him and Carla and Mariana, as they were such an inspiration. That’s how we met Miguel.
To cut a long story short, Mariana still has Dravet but got the lift chair. She will eventually become invalid and lose her life. But, until then, she has her wonderful parents and a whole lot of people who care. I often pray my time in music will end before I have to write a song titled “She Past Away”. And this is an absolute truth because, I don’t know about Pedro and Alex, but they changed me so much I hardly have the words to explain.

By the way, Carla, the mother, has cancer. She’s winning so far.