Revolutions negotiated in Portuguese songwriting and performance

Margarida Rendeiro

Abstract


This article examines the poetic use of the revolution in four songs written and played by the Portuguese rapper Sam the Kid, the bands The Soaked Lamb, Os Quais, and The Loafing Heroes. Despite these songs showing aesthetic and formal differences, the revolution is a common trope to discuss the post-revolutionary nation. The Portuguese singers did not experience the revolution because they were born in the 1970s. A close analysis of these compositions suggests that the revolution is part of the collective imaginary and stands as the moment utopia could have been made real in Portugal. In times of crisis, the revolution emerges as the impetus to change and 1974 becomes the Portuguese appropriation of utopia in the twenty-first century. Rap, bossa nova, indie and roots emerge as legitimate musical genres to discuss postmodern times and the post-revolutionary nation. In ‘Abstenção’ (‘Abstention’) (released by Sam the Kid in 2006) and in ‘Palhaços’ (‘Clowns’) (released by The Soaked Lamb in 2012), the present is gloomy and the memory of Carnation Revolution is appropriated to give voice to the dispossessed of the Portuguese democracy and offered to make amends with the memory of the failed revolutionary solutions. ‘Meu Caro Amigo Chico’ (‘My Dear Friend Chico’) (released by Os Quais in 2012) and ‘The Shepherd’ (released by the Loafing Heroes in 2014) are compositions where the crisis of utopia is redeemed to reconfigure the conceptual limits of individualism and the body, an extension of the world, becomes the unchartered territory of utopia.


References


Agamben, G. (2009), What is an Apparatus? And Other Essays, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Almeida, O. T. (2017), A Obsessão da Portugalidade (The Obsession of Portugality), Lisbon: Quetzal.

Anon. (2012), ‘Jacinto Lucas Pires: Os escritores deviam fazer como os músicos e dar concertos de livros’ (‘Jacinto Lucas Pires: Writers should be like musicians and give book concerts’), Jornal i, 15 June, ionline.sapo.pt/475535. Accessed 25 February 2017.

Arendt, H. (1988), On Revolution, New York, NY: Penguin.

Armstrong, M. (2014), ‘The Loafing Heroes: Raggle-taggle songs about Casement and Kierkegaard’, The Irish Times, 4 December, bit.ly/2Alk8Vo. Accessed 25 February 2017.

Barriga, P. (2013), ‘Entrevista com o músico, ilustrador, cineasta e escritor Afonso Cruz: Jesus Cristo bebia cerveja no Alentejo’ (‘Interview with musician, illustrator, filmmaker and writer Afonso Cruz: Jesus Christ drank beer in the Alentejo’), 20 September, https://issuu.com/diariodoalentejo/docs/da_1639. Accessed 10 December 2018.

Bloch, E. (2000), Spirit of Utopia, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Corte-Real, M. S. J. (1996), ‘Sons de Abril: Estilos musicais e movimentos de intervenção político-cultural na Revolução de 1974’ (‘Sons de Abril: Musical styles and political-cultural intervention movements in the 1974 Revolution’), Revista Portuguesa de Musicologia, 6, pp. 141–71.

Dionísio, E. (1993), Títulos, Acções, Obrigações: A Cultura em Portugal, 1974–94 (Titles, Actions, Obligations: The Culture in Portugal, 1974–94), Lisbon: Salamandra.

Eagleton, T. (2005), ‘Just my imagination’, The Nation, 23 June, bit.ly/2zmO8ka. Accessed 1 March 2017.

Foucault, M. (1994), The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences, New York, NY: Vintage.

Gil, J. (2004), Portugal, Hoje: O Medo de Existir (Portugal, Today: The Fear of Existing), Lisbon: Relógio d’Água.

Habermas, J. (1991), The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Hutcheon, L. (1989), The Politics of Postmodernism, New York, NY: Routledge.

Jacoby, R. (1999), The End of Utopia: Politics and Culture in an Age of Apathy, New York, NY: Basic.

—— (2007), Picture Imperfect: Utopian Thought for an Anti-Utopian Age, New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Jameson, F. (1990), Signatures of the Visible, New York, NY: Routledge.

—— (1991), Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, London: Verso.

Kundera, M. (1997), Slowness, New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Levitas, R. (2001), ‘For utopia: The (limits of) utopian function in late capitalist society’, in B. Goodwin (ed.), The Philosophy of Utopia, Ilford: Frank Cass, pp. 25–43.

—— (2013), Utopia as Method: The Imaginary Reconstitution of Society, New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.

The Loafing Heroes (2014), Crossing the Threshold, CD, Stockholm: Record Union.

Lourenço, E. (2000), O Labirinto da Saudade: Psicanálise Mítica do Destino Português (The Labyrinth of Saudade: Mythical Psychoanalysis of Portuguese Destiny), Lisbon: Gradiva.

Marcuse, H. ([1967] 2016), ‘The end of Utopia’, in Psychoanalyse und Politik (Psychoanalysis and Politics), lecture delivered at the Free University of Berlin, July 1967, bit.ly/2Qi1DuY. Accessed 25 February 2017.

Miranda, J. A. B. (2000), ‘Corpo utópico (Utopian body)’, Cadernos Pagu, 15, pp. 249–70.

Nora, P. (1989), ‘Between memory and history: Les lieux de mémoire’ (‘Between memory and history: The place of memory’), Representations, 26, pp. 7–24.

Os Quais (2012), Pop é o Contrário de Pop (Pop is the Opposite of Pop), Digital Abum, Lisbon: Mbari Música, Comércio de Audiovisuais, Lda.

Pires, J. L. (2011), O Verdadeiro Actor (The Real Actor), Lisbon: Cotovia.

Pessoa, F. (1994), Poemas Completos de Alberto Caeiro, Lisbon: Presença.

Sam the Kid (2006), Pratica(mente) (Practic[ally]), DC Hamburg: Edel Records.

Santos, B. S. (1994), ‘Modernidade, identidade e a cultura de fronteira’ (‘Modernity, identity and border culture’), Tempo Social: Revista Social, 5:1&2, pp. 31–52.

The Soaked Lambs (2012), Evergreen, CD Almada: Ponto Zurca.

Trindade, L. (2015),‘ Dividing the waters: The sea in Portuguese post-revolutionary popular music’, Portuguese Journal of Social Science, 14:3, pp. 287–301.

—— (2016), ‘Starting over: Singer-songwriters and the rhythm of historical time in post-revolutionary Portugal’, in I. Marc and S. Green (eds), The Singer-Songwriter in Europe: Paradigms, Politics and Place, London and New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 137–52.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.