Recently I was talking with my good friend Afonso Lima, from ZigurArtists, and realised that a lot of what’s been happening in the Portuguese music scene just isn’t getting the international recognition that it deserves… so I decided to show you a few of the great tunes that have been coming out of the brilliant minds of my fellow countrymen! So here’s my little selection:
1) Surma – Maasai
Débora Umbelino aka Surma is an adorable and talented girl who’s actually from my hometown, Leiria. She does everything herself: playing the guitar and bass, using loop pedals and her beautiful, soft, eerie voice to create dreamy songs that will make you travel through memories and feelings.
2) First Breath After Coma – Gold Morning Days
These five guys also come from Leiria (amazing how many great artists a small city can produce!) and they are named after Explosions in the Sky’s third album, which already tells you something about their musical taste. They’ve been smashing it in Portugal and in some other European countries, but they definitely deserve more attention!
3) Alek Rein – River of Doom
Alexandre Rendeiro was born in the US but moved to Portugal as a young child. He first visualised his sort-of-alter-ego Alek Rein in a dream, as a typical 70s hippie – and his music reflects that in various ways. ‘River of Doom’ might have been written decades ago and I believe it will remain relevant for decades to come. Definitely keep an eye on this one!
4) You Can’t Win Charlie Brown – Above the Wall
This band from Lisbon is one of my favourites, not just because of the brilliant alternative music they produce, but also because it allowed me to see a different side of Noiserv, who is part of the band. The Portuguese public already know them very well (as well as the multiple side projects all the band members are/have been developing), and most people impatiently awaited the release of their latest album, ‘Marrow’ (which, btw, is available on Spotify). ‘Above the Wall’ is a great example of their talent, so press play now!
5) Noiserv – VINTE E TRÊS
Speaking of the man, here’s his latest track ‘VINTE E TRÊS’. It still sounds as amazing as the first time I heard his work, even though this introspective song appears much simpler than his older work. Give it a chance to sink in. I promise it will make you feel loads of different things.
6) Ditch Days – Melbourne
Also coming from the capital are Ditch Days, a dream pop 4-piece band that draws inspiration from nineties and noughties music, ‘Melbourne’ is their first single and the video is absolutely stunning – it will leave you craving a day at the beach. I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes next!
7) White Haus – Greatest Hits
João Vieira aka White Haus is a producer from Porto, in the north of Portugal. His music is self-characterised as ‘a mix of genres, heavily influenced by the New York leftfield disco, the West coast ‘80s electro and no wave’. ‘Greatest Hits’ is incredibly catchy and will make you want to get up and dance!
8) Octa Push – Gaia Cósmica
‘Gaia Cósmica’ is the latest single by the Lisbon brothers Octa Push, full of African vibes and reflecting the many influences of Portuguese culture. One of the reasons why I admire their work is their incredible ability to collaborate with different artists from different backgrounds – just check their latest album ‘Língua’ and you’ll be surprised!
9) Mighty Sands – DK
Yet another great band coming from Lisbon, this time a 5-piece band that makes dreamy surf rock which is as timeless as the city they live in, and as universal as the influences you can identify in their music. Put your headphones on and let them take you to the beaches of Portugal or California – it doesn’t matter, you’ll know what I mean.
10) Savanna – Get It Right
The last song in this list also comes from Lisbon and it’s called ‘Get It Right’, by Savanna. Their music is a mix of dream pop, prog rock and psychedelic rock which will take you back to a warm summer night. Highly recommended for fans of Tame Impala!
There’s a lot more being created in Portugal, this is just a taster. Thank you, Afonso, for bringing me up to date!