O que há aqui então sobre Lisboa? Primeiro, uma compilação em CD, com Coldfinger, DJ Ride, Cacique 97, Cool Hipnoise, Dead Combo, Hipnótica, Noiserv, Micro Audio Waves, Gnu e B Fachada. Depois, um texto de Wolfgang Schlögl sobre a cidade. Finalmente, um texto sobre bandas actuais de Lisboa, aqui deste sempre vosso.
Aproveito para reproduzir o texto aqui, já que a Fleisch não é distribuída por cá, nem tão pouco haverá lojas de importação que a tenham. Na revista, tudo aparece, claro está, em alemão, mas deixo aqui a versão original em inglês, sem quaisquer cortes da edição. (Reparem que o texto foi escrito em Julho, antes da notícia do fim dos Vicious Five, e quando o Musicbox tinha aquelas quintas-feiras de afro beat.
Lisbon beyond the Fado
By Vítor Junqueira
Nearly 500 thousand people live in the inner skirts of the city of Lisbon, a number that hits almost three million in the greater metropolitan area factsheet. There’s no surprise that most of the music acts that come from Lisbon were in fact raised over its suburbs. Take out the first name from the Lisbon band you’ll probably know best in these days: Buraka Som Sistema. Buraca, spelled with a C, is one of these suburbs. There lives a vast community of first through third generation African immigrants and it is a very common place to hear kuduro, the urban Angolan dance beats that BSS are taking all around the world. The hip hop scene, fronted by long lived Da Weasel or the producer and MC Sam the Kid, amongst endless other examples, also lives in suburbs of the same kind.
For rock matters, the river Tagus’ south bank has always been a fertile ground for new and enduring acts. Barreiro, a town in the old industrial belt south of Lisbon, is today’s rock’n’roll and avant rock place par excellence. That’s where growingly acclaimed festivals like Barreiro Rocks and Out.Fest are manned every year by groups of young people who amongst themselves play in several bands, many of the times with almost the same line-ups. That’s the case of Los Santeros, three manic Mexican-wannabes playing surf rock, The Act-Ups, psych-garage, or Frango, a noisy experimental act. And if you’re into avant rock, you should check Os Loosers, fronted by Lux DJ and bassist-guitarist Tiago Miranda, who along people from Out.Fest also started Gala Drop, whose dub-infected grooves are being acclaimed everywhere (check out their self-titled debut record).
Communities like these help to describe the way most bands are born all around Lisbon. In fact, it’s just a small capital and everyone knows each other. Even if not, there’s always a friend of a friend. Everyone ends up at the same venues, like the Galeria Zé dos Bois (ZDB for short), MusicBox, Lux, Lounge, Bacalhoeiro, to name a few of the ever growing list of places where bands can play live in Lisbon. The development in the Lisbon music scene owes significantly to this increase and diversification of venues over the last 10 years. People from Lisbon, and from all around Portugal in a broader sense, have more places to play but, perhaps more important, they also have more places to learn from bands that come more and more from everywhere in the world, and more places to hang out, to discuss their methods and ideas, to form new projects with akin souls.
One of the most peculiar communities to rise recently in Lisbon comes out from the Baptist Christian Church grounds. FlorCaveira (SkullFlower) is the name of the religion meets rock movement which nowadays comprises almost 20 acts that have been gaining an increasing space in the radio waves, a territory that, believe it or not, has been uncharted waters for the most of the new Portuguese bands for several years. Amongst these acts, the most acclaimed are Os Pontos Negros (The Strokes’ kind of mainstream rock) and singer songwriters Tiago Guillul, B Fachada, Samuel Úria and Bruno Morgado. “The new wave of Portuguese rock”, as every newspaper is now calling it, also embraces the Amor Fúria label, whose acts, Os Golpes being the most celebrated, share stages regularly with those from FlorCaveira.
All these bands from this “new wave of Portuguese rock” sing in Portuguese, something that became out of fashion since the eighties wide explosion of rock. Apart from groups like Madredeus and some few other bands, mostly of them coming from outside Lisbon, shame of being Portuguese was the most striking anathema for Portuguese rock in the nineties. The nation was still suffering from years of enclosure from the outside world, and it was adhering to everything it could that came from abroad. And that also showed up in the music itself. But the times are changing again. A project like Dead Combo (electric guitar and doublebass only) does hold on to Ennio Morricone spaghetti western kind of landscapes, but there is a quite subtle inner feeling of Portuguese sound coming from it, tracing out to common memories like those left by the late great guitarist Carlos Paredes. Also Norberto Lobo, a young, celebrated, and crafted fingerpicker does bring something evoking Paredes. In a clearer way, groups like Deolinda, who take the Madredeus heritage to present days, and O’Questrada are also making people realize that Fado – or some of its essence – it’s not only sorrow. It can also mean partying; it can also mean dancing with a shinny happy smile.
Over the last years, Lisbon also became home sweet home for a growing community of European young people, mostly Spaniards and Italians, who also started to create interesting bands, like the Italian-Swiss Anonima Nuvolari, who play old Italian songs in a Pogues-ish way. In the same scene, Farra Fanfarra and Kumpania Algazarra take the fit of the Balkan brass bands to play the streets and parties everywhere around town. On the grounds of noise and experimental music, Mécanosphère is one band living in Lisbon and it’s mainly operated by French artists. Panda Bear, from Animal Collective fame, also lives in the city.
As a matter of fact, in the recent years, if not always in its history, Lisbon became home for many cultures. For instance, it’s common to cross by excellent players from the old African colonies (Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, …) who live in the city. Take Kimi Djabaté and Braima Galissá, for instance, from the young generation of “griots” from Guinea-Bissau to come by. Music from Africa and other continents is also present in some other interesting bands from Lisbon, like Terrakota or Cacique ’97, whose members gather up regularly along with those of Cool Hipnoise, a quite interesting and nearly veteran funk local band, to produce the most intense afrobeat party (every second Thursday of the month, at MusicBox, if you’re thinking dropping by).
I’ve been talking mostly of new bands from Lisbon. There are also, of course, the veteran ones, the mainstream rockers Xutos & Pontapés being the most celebrated one with a 30 year old career. Emerging from the eighties, the dadaists Pop Dell’Arte, one of the most interesting acts to arise in Lisbon, are still running up, playing gigs and recording tracks. From the nineties, there’s Hipnótica, who started with the trip hop explosion and evolved to a kind of post rock, post jazz stuff over which Wolfgang Schlögl of Sofa Surfers collaborated.
Two final namedrops for The Vicious Five, who started around in the hardcore underground, developing a faithful mass of fans ever since, and for Bypass, scholar post rockers who deserve to jump out borders anytime soon.
There are a lot of bands in Lisbon. A great lot of good bands, indeed. This is only a tiny shortlist. Many of them were ignored over the above lines, due to lack of remembering, due to lack of space, due to intention on not letting this grow to a mere namedropping. Still, the best way to know bands from Lisbon (and Portugal) is to stay for sometime in the city and to attend to the venues cited above whenever you can.