For our next stop on the series dedicated to short video trips across Portugal we have not one, but two places – Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia! Spoiler alert: it’s going to get weird.
Why weird? Well, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you probably already noticed I don’t really do “normal” and/or follow most trends, especially because that’s predictable and boring. I see no good reason to focus only on the most common aspects of any given subject when there’s a world of interesting and potentially bizarre things to explore.
When I started writing this blog post I didn’t really know where to begin but then I thought: if this will end up being about weirdness, then why not start with “relatively normal / a bit cringe” and go all the way up until reaching full “wtf” level? Genius, I know.
So, let’s start off with “Porto Sentido”, *the* song about Porto (and a personal favourite, btw). This song was composed by Rui Veloso, one of Portugal’s most iconic musicians, who, ironically, was born in Lisbon.
The song is plain beautiful and the lyrics, written by Carlos Tê, are sublime – like the vast majority of the lyrics he wrote for Rui Veloso, in a collaboration that lasted for decades. At first, I’ll admit I was skeptical that this was the song’s official video, but the fact is that you can find it on the artist’s official Youtube channel.
What can you expect? Dubious quality stereotypical images from mid-80’s Porto but, let’s face it, at least they’re authentic. There’s also some video-audio out of sync going on and a very young Rui Veloso who keeps being zoomed in and out. Still, a lovely song!
Next, we go a bit higher on the cringe-o-meter with “Magníficos Dias Atlânticos”, by the band BAN. If you’ve been living in Portugal for a few years already the singer’s face might be vaguely familiar… he’s none other than João Loureiro, who you might recognize from the world of football and, erm, shady business.
Dubious dance moves? That late 80’s / early 90’s sense of fashion? Someone’s cute girlfriend just going around dancing? This video has it all! Plus, of course, images from Porto and part of the Douro river. As a side note, I’d just like to add that BAN managed to achieve relative success although the band didn’t last very long. If you’re curious about their music I highly suggest you look up their song “Irreal social”. You still get João Loureiro acting cringe and staring so much into the camera that you feel uncomfortable but the song’s great, trust me!
Love can be complicated. Especially when you fall for someone with all the qualities you admire but they happen to look like Chewbacca. We’ve all been there, amirite? This is what the next song is all about, really. “Cara de Chewbacca” by dB+PZ uses some mean samples and the Porto / Gaia scenario as background for this hairy love story:
For the next song, we’ll be reaching dangerously high weirdness levels, in a big kitsch cocktail with more 80’s and 90’s references than you might be able to handle. There are 90’s tracksuits, gold chains and bracelets, white socks and sandals (dare I say a nod and a wink to the expat community?), TV and music samples, as well as more or less well known figures from Portuguese politics and pop culture: I give you “O Último Tango em Mafamude” (literally, The Last Tango in Mafamude).
The author is David Bruno (the “dB” from the previous song) and this album is like one big cheesy love song with a touch of The Godfather. There are a lot of references that are quite specific to this area of Vila Nova de Gaia but I feel that, if you swap those very specific references for their counterparts from any other part of the country, anyone who lived in Portugal at that time will be able to identify with the spirit of this album and its inherent nostalgia.
The first few seconds of the video feature a statue called “O Desterrado” (The Exiled) by Soares dos Reis, a sculptor born in Vila Nova de Gaia in 1847, and can be seen in the Soares dos Reis National Museum which is… in Porto! 😉
I saved a special video for last, as a sort of honorable mention. Although Dead Combo are actually from Lisbon, this video shows some images from a very special chapel in Vila Nova de gaia, called Capela do Senhor da Pedra, of which I talked about here.