Freedom Now: Sounds of Portugal is the latest in our series of mixtapes, and it can be downloaded for free here. One of the stars of the mix is Tonicha, singing Já chegou a liberdade. I understand Tonicha has been over the years one of the most successful pop figures in Portugal. She represented her country in the 1971 Eurovision Song Contest, singing the brilliant Menina, and if you hunt around on the web you will find some great photos, pic sleeves etc. of Tonicha in her pop prime. Ironically I first came across her music while rooting around randomly, and found a great track enthusiastically tagged 'acid folk'. It is quite amusing when rummaging around to note how pervasive the tag 'acid folk' has become, and I'm still not sure if it is helpful or not to use the label on each and every recording from any part of the world that blends traditional folk music with a suggestion of electric guitars.
I have yet to come up with a convenient shorthand of my own for what seems another universal art form. In the 1960s there was a worldwide trend for wonderfully dramatic ballads which seem to fuse ultra-emotional soul-style songs with more traditional local pop forms. Dusty Springfield is the UK example, Italy had Mina, and pretty much any country you care to choose has its own wonderful and often odd examples of this art form. But what is a convenient catch-all for this strand of pop history? I mean, I hate labels, but sometimes ... Anyway, here is a clip of Tonicha from 1968 giving a great performance of this very art form: