Music of Portugal
Portugal is internationally known in the music scene for its traditions of fado, but the country has seen a recent expansion in musical styles, with modern acts from rock to hip hop becoming popular. If Amália is still the most recognizable Portuguese name in music, today the biggest exportations are bands like Moonspell (metal), Madredeus (fado and folk inspired), Buraka Som Sistema (electro/kuduro/breakbeat), Da Weasel, Sandro G (hip hop), Blasted Mechanism (experimental electro-rock) or Wraygunn (rock, blues), and artists like Mariza (fado). The musicality of the Portuguese language has also inspired non-native speakers to use it in their recordings, for example Mil i Maria. Regional folk music remains popular too, having been updated and modernized in many cases, especially the northeastern region of Trás-os-Montes. Dance, Rock, pop, kuduro, zouk, kizomba, Heavy metal, house and Hip Hop are among the most popular musical styles in Portugal; however, the recent arrival of revivalist folk bands, such as Deolinda, led to a newfound interest in this type of music.
Portuguese music was influenced by music from Ancient Rome's musical tradition brought into the Iberian Peninsula by the Romans and the rich artistic Europen tradition. Its genres range from classical to popular music. Portugal's music history includes musical history from the medieval Gregorian chants through Carlos Seixas' symphonies era to the composers of the modern era. Musical history of Portugal can be divided in different ways. Portuguese music encompasses musical production of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern eras.
Portuguese music reflects its rich history and privileged geographical location. These are evidenced in the music history of Portugal, which despite its firm European roots, nevertheless reflects the intercontinental cultural interactions begun in the Portuguese discoveries.
A short list of past and present Portuguese musicians with important contributions must necessarily include the names of composers Pedro de Escobar, Manuel Cardoso, Duarte Lobo, Filipe de Magalhães, Carlos Seixas, Diogo Dias Melgás, João Domingos Bomtempo, Marcos Portugal, José Vianna da Motta, Luís de Freitas Branco, Joly Braga Santos, Fernando Lopes-Graça, António Fragoso and Emmanuel Nunes; organists such as António Carreira or Manuel Rodrigues Coelho; singers such as Luísa Todi, Elisabete Matos or José Carlos Xavier; pianists such as Maria João Pires or Sequeira Costa; cellists such as Guilhermina Suggia;
Fado (fate in Portuguese) arose in Lisbon as the music of the urban poor. Fado songs are typically lyrically harsh, with the singer resigned to sadness, poverty and loneliness, but remaining dignified and firmly controlled.
Many[who?] claim that fado origins are much older, back to the 15th century, when women cried with longing for their husbands that went to the never sailed seas; others also claim that Arabic inprint in Fado is visible, especially in instruments. Arabs left Portugal in the 13th century, but their influence in crafts and music prevailed. Fado is often sung with a Portuguese guitar.
Late in the 19th century, the city of Coimbra developed a distinctive scene. Coimbra, a literary capital for the country, is now known for being more refined and majestic. The sound has been described as "the song of those who retain and cherish their illusions, not of those who have irretrievably lost them" by Rodney Gallop in 1936. A related form are the guitarradas of the 1920s and 30s, best known for Dr. Antonio Menano and a group of virtuoso musicians he formed, including Artur Paredes and José Joaquim Cavalheiro. Student fado, performed by students at Coimbra University, have maintained a tradition since it was pioneered in the 1890s by Augusto Hilário.
Starting in 1939 with the career of Amália Rodrigues, fado was an internationally popular genre. A singer and film actress, Rodrigues made numerous stylistic innovations that have made her probably the most influential fadista of all time.
A new generation of young musicians have contributed to the social and political revival of fado music, adapting and blending it with new trends. Contemporary fado musicians like Mariza, Mísia and Camané have introduced the music to a new public. The sensuality of Misia and other female fadistas (fado singers) like Maria Ana Bobone, Cuca Roseta, Cristina Branco, Ana Moura, Katia Guerreiro, and Mariza has walked the fine line between carrying on the tradition of Amália Rodrigues and trying to bring in a new audience. Mísia and Carlos do Carmo are also well known fado singers.Ricardo Ribeiro and Miguel Capucho are one of the best male fado singers of the new generation.
Regional folk music
Recent events have helped keep Portuguese regional folk (rancho folclórico) traditions alive, most especially including the worldwide roots revival of the 1960s and 70s.
Azorean folk music
Madeira folk Music
Music in Madeira is wide spread and mainly uses local musical instraments such as the Machete, rajao, Brinquinho and Cavaquinho, which are used in traditional Folklore dances like the Bailinho da Madeira.
Trás-os-Montes' musical heritage is closely related to the music of Galicia, Cantabria and Asturias. Traditional bagpipes (gaita-de-fole transmontana), a cappella vocals and a unique musical scale with equal semitones have kept alive a vital tradition. (Miranda de I Douro), some artists such as Galamdum Galundaina sing in Mirandese language. Also the Pauliteiros folk dance is popular. Some residents sing in both Portuguese and Mirandese.
- Notas e Voltas
- Roberto Leal
- Ronda dos Quatro Caminhos
- Oioai*Janita Salomé
- Frei Fado D'el Rei
- Gaiteiros de Lisboa
- Roncos do Diabo
- Dulce Pontes
- Tereza Salgueiro
Famous artists and bands included in the past Tonicha, Paco Bandeira, Paulo de Carvalho, José Cid, Linda de Suza, Duo Ouro Negro, Roberto Leal and Ornatos Violeta. Nowadays some of the most popular acts are Aurea, Amor Electro, The Legendary Tigerman, Madredeus, GNR, Xutos & Pontapés, The Gift, David Fonseca, Buraka Som Sistema, Mil i Maria and Boss AC.
Pimba music is the Portuguese version of the euro Schlager or the Balkan Turbo-Folk. Its name cames from a 90s hit Pimba Pimba. Some of its biggest names are Emanuel, Ágata, Ruth Marlene and Quim Barreiros. This genre mixes traditional sounds with accordion, Latin beats and funny or religious (mainly kitch) lyrics.
Political music (Música de Intervenção)
During the reign of the fascist regime music was widely used by the left-wing resistance as a way to say what could not be said, singing about freedom, equality and democracy, mainly through metaphors and symbols. Many composers and singers became famous and persecuted by the political police, some of them being arrested or exiled, such as Zeca Afonso, Paulo de Carvalho, José Mário Branco, Sérgio Godinho, Adriano Correia de Oliveira, Manuel Freire, Fausto, Vitorino, Júlio Pereira and some others.
José Afonso began performing in the 1950s; he was a popular roots-based musician that led the Portuguese roots revival. With artists like Sérgio Godinho and Luís Cília, Afonso helped form nova canção music, which, after the 1974 revolution, gained socially-aware lyrics and became canto livre. The biggest name in canto livre was Brigada Víctor Jara, a group that seriously studied and were influenced by Portuguese regional music.
After the Carnation Revolution, that same music was used to support left-wing parties. Political ideas and causes, like the agrarian reform, socialism, equality, democratic elections, free education and many other were a constant presence in these songs lyrics, often written by well-known poets like José Barata-Moura, Manuel Alegre or Ary dos Santos.
The highest exponents of this kind of music in Portugal are Tony Carreira and Marco Paulo (both, and even other performers, have a certain level of overlap with the Pimba genre, even partial or just in certain songs). The poet-singer-songwriter Fausto Bordolo Dias, a significant contributor to the modern romantic genre, can be compared to Leonard Cohen.
This is a relatively new sound in Portugal. Despite being an Iberian country, Portugal never had clear influences from the Caribbean beats. This style came to the country in the 90s, following a Spanish and world trend. Examples of Latin music singers in Portuguese are Ana Malhoa and Mil i Maria.
With immigration from the former colonies, Portugal received many African communities with their different traditional sounds. Some singers were born in Lisbon but still, were singing African influenced music. Two examples are Lura and Sara Tavares, who sing a mixture that includes sounds from Cape Verde.
People such as Mário Barreiros (drums), Mário Laginha and António Pinho Vargas (piano) and the singer Maria João have long and noteworthy careers in the field, despite experimenting, sometimes with notable success, other genres of music, and a more recent generation is following their footsteps, notable the pianist Bernardo Sassetti, Carlos Bica, João Paulo and the singers Jacinta and Vânia Fernandes.
Reggae and Ska
More underground but very prominent are Portuguese reggae and ska. Some of the more famous bands of these types include Primitive Reason, Three and a Quarter and Purocracy. This music is popular among young people, with its main roots based in Lisbon and the surrounding areas.
Zouk is a style of rhythmic music originating from the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. Zouk means 'party' in the local creole of French with English and African influences, all three of which contribute the sound. In Europe, it is particularly popular in France, while on the African countries of Cape Verde and Angola they have developed their own type of Zouk. Zouk was introduced to Portugal by Portuguese speaking immigrants from Angola and Cape Verde. Related styles include, kizomba and kuduro.
Rock and other
The rock in Portugal was born in the 80s of the 20th century. Its beginners were Rui Veloso and Jorge Palma, among others. An example of a popular Portuguese rock band, having a long history, is Xutos & Pontapés who've been playing for over 30 years and are known widely throughout Portugal, as well as Mão Morta, a unique and controversial group with 25 years of existence. Well known solo singers include Rui Veloso, Jorge Palma, and Pedro Abrunhosa. Clã (pop rock), Blasted Mechanism (experimental electro-rock), RAMP (metal), Re:aktor (metal) ThanatoSchizO (metal), Alkateya (metal) Faithfull (soft rock), Suspiria Franklyn (punk-rock/new wave), Riding Pânico (post rock), Linda Martini (post/noise rock), peixe : aviao (post-rock), Ornatos Violeta (indie rock), Stereo Parks (Indie Rock), A Book in the Shelf (grunge rock), Mazgani (alternative) or Green Echo (experimental dub), are other important acts.
Portuguese hip hop
The beginning of the 21st century was the origin of a new wave of Portuguese Hip Hop singers, who adapted foreign sounds to the Portuguese reality and who sing in Portuguese. Some of the best examples are Da Weasel, Boss AC and Sam the Kid.
The biggest exponent of heavy metal music in Portugal are the bands Moonspell and Corpus Christii, originally from Lisboa and who have achieved some international recognition, mainly in Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Turkey. Others bands like Holocausto Canibal, Heavenwood, Sirius, Decayed, Fili Nigratium Infernallium, Morte Incandescente, Gwydion, Tarantula also achieved some international recognition.
In electronica, Underground Sound of Lisbon was a musical project that brought international attention to the Portuguese DJs, namely Rui da Silva – the only Portuguese musician to reach #1 on the UK charts – and DJ Vibe, Pete tha Zouk. Some other important names of this kind of music are Buraka Som Sistema and Micro Audio Waves. In Porto, the hometown to numerous talents such as Nuno Forte, Drum n' Bass styles are immensely popular, and the city has hosted various important international names in the genre such as Noisia, The Panacea and Black Sun Empire. Also, in the Psychedelic Trance genre there are a worldwide famous project: Paranormal Attack.
Experimental and Avantgarde
Portuguese music has a striving experimental underground musical scene since the 80's, with some exponents attaining international attention. Notable groups and musicians in this genre are Osso Exótico, Ocaso Épico, Telectu, Carlos Zíngaro and Pedro INF.
Popular and Rock
Other popular music include bands born out of Portuguese 'telenovelas' or 'soap-operas'. The first wave of such bands included 4Taste and DZRT who went on to gain national popularity.
The indie and alternative rock movements are also popular in Portugal. Some indie and alternative bands and artists from Portugal are Os Pontos Negros, Memória de Peixe, We Trust, B Fachada, Linda Martini, The Glockenwise, Capitão Fausto, Frankie Chavez and Best Youth.
Portugal has been participating at the Eurovision Song Contest since 1964, its best result being the 6th place achieved by Lucia Moniz's folk inspired song "O meu coração não tem cor" in 1996, penned by Pedro Vaz Osorio. Since then Portugal never had a Top 10 place.
Singers of Portuguese-descent
Musicians such as Nelly Furtado, Katy Perry, DEV, Kenny Rogers and Nuno Bettencourt (the latter actually Portugal-born) are popular in North America, though only Nelly Furtado reflected some of her Portuguese origin, especially in lesser-known songs in her first albums (songs like "Scared" sung by Furtado in English and Portuguese, "Nas Horas do Dia" and "Força"). Luso-francofonic artists (also of Portuguese origin) include Linda de Suza (Portuguese born and later an immigrant in France) and Marie Myriam. Steve Perry, former lead singer of rock group Journey is American of Portuguese ancestry. The lead singer from Jamiroquai, Jay Kay is descendent from Portugal through his father. Ana da Silva founding member of the cult post-punk band The Raincoats is of Portuguese origin.
- Cronshaw, Andrew and Paul Vernon. "Traditional Riches, Fate and Revolution". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 225–236. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0
- (French) Audio clips: Traditional music of Portugal. Musée d'Ethnographie de Genève. Accessed November 25, 2010.
- Portuguese Music Information Centre
- Folk and Trad music and dance News, interviews, reviews, photos and music
- XLRap – www.xlrap.net – Portuguese HipHop Portal, containing news, events, interviews, biographies, books, reviews and hosting local radio podcasts
- BlancoMusic Home of Mil i Maria, Portuguese-language nu-fado.
- Portuguese Music By Gina Modesto in Accessible Portugal Online Magazine
- GangdoMoinho – HipHop Tuga – Hip Hop Tuga e Crioulo, downloads, videoclips, albuns, mixtaps, entrevistas, concertos, beefs/battles, novidades e desporto online (Sportv)
- Portuguese Composers Database