Revolutions negotiated in Portuguese songwriting and performance

Margarida Rendeiro


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.


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