Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Freedom Now: Sounds of Portugal - Pt.3

Freedom Now: Sounds of Portugal is the latest in our series of mixtapes, and it can be downloaded for free here. The collection draws heavily on the folk songs or canção de intervenção that were part of the protest movement against the totalitarian regime in Portugal, and the performers were an important part of the resistance that led to The Carnation Revolution on 24 April 1974. Among the featured artists is Luis Cilia, with a fantastic track from his 1973 LP, Contra A Ideia Da Violência A Violência Da Ideia. I have to confess it was the title of that set that initially attracted me while I was rummaging around in the treasure troves of vintage Portuguese music, and the title track itself is remarkable. I am far from being an authority on the music of Luis Cilia, but I do know he was exiled from Portugal for a decade or so from 1964. Almost inevitably he lived and recorded in Paris, the city of exiles, where he continued to make a nuisance of himself as an outspoken critic of the policies of the Portuguese authorities at home and abroad (e.g. in Angola, where Cilia was born). The theme of exile in Paris is a familiar one with the Anywhere Else But Here Today/Your Heart Out projects.
Unsurprisingly, the singers who are included in the canção de intervenção movement, and who found support among or supported the left-wing opposition groups in Portugal, were not featured on TV and so sadly there is not much in the way of archival footage. Fortunately, with Luis Cilia the opposite is true. There seem to be quite a few pieces of film of Luis performing while in exile in Paris, where he looks wonderfully like a young Jean-Pierre Leaud.

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