Portuguese music: heroes of the sea

Many moons ago I worked for an English guy who came to live in Portugal in the early 80’s. He said that, at the time, there was a feeling of general excitement in the country which made it easy for him to choose to live here.
Music was one area where this excitement was more noticeable: there were lots of new bands and singers, new soundscapes and the liberty to say things which would have been forbidden before the 1974 revolution (and some which today, in the era of the politically correct, wouldn’t be on the radio or TV, either). 

In 1981 a new band appears in the Portuguese musical scene: Heróis do Mar. The name of the band is, in itself, a kind of provocation, being the first words of the Portuguese national anthem. Both their clothes and their lyrics reflected a romantic-kind-of-military-but-also-a-bit-idealistic aesthetic.
In a country where the memory of war was still very recent and where many people were dealing with conflicting feelings of patriotism and shame for recent events this band would, obviously, have a rough start. Some accused them of being bourgeois while others went as far as calling them neo nazis. The truth is they were neither.

In 1982, however, things cooled down a bit and their song “Amor” was such a tremendous hit that it was, in fact, the first platinum record in Portugal.

Although some people associated Heróis do Mar with a certain patriotic-almost-nationalist aura eventually they won over the hearts of the Portuguese. Ask your Portuguese neighbours, friends, colleagues or family and I’m sure they’ll be able to at least sing a little bit from one or two of their most famous songs!

When Heróis do Mar disbanded, in 1989/90, all band members would go on to other more or less famous projects. Pedro Ayres Magalhães, the author of most, if not all, of the band’s lyrics, would start a new musical project called Madredeus. The way I see it, Madredeus were an extension and a “refinement” of some aesthetic traits already present in Heróis do Mar. Madredeus sold records worldwide, toured pretty much everywhere and won several awards. They deserve a blog post of their own, obviously!

I hope you enjoyed this post!

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The website: http://www.beyondlisbon.pt/

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