Like most novelties, rock & roll reached Portuguese shores a tad later than everywhere else: the first few bands and acts of the genre started springing up in the late 70s and early 80s, a clear break with what had come before (fruit of the Revolution, of which I spoke about when I talked about António Variações a month ago).
And the emergence of rock & roll wouldn’t make sense in any other conjuncture, and not just because its irreverence and style were derided by the authoritarian regime in the (social, religious, moral) correctness; it was also that socioeconomic (widespread poverty, illiteracy, child labor) and political constraints (repression of contrarian attitudes by the political police; drafting of many young men serve in Portugal’s Colonial War in Africa from 1961 to 1974) – all of which were caused by official Estado Novo policy – meant there wasn’t a true sense of fun or the opportunity to enjoy youth among most of Portugal’s teenagers and young adults.
Rui Veloso is one of the most enduring and beloved singers to have emerged from this new rock scene, and one who’s still working today (his passions have mellowed with age, but his voice and his clout in Portuguese music remain intact).
“Chico Fininho” (Skinny Guy) – Portuguese lyrics here
“A Paixão” (The Passion) – Portuguese lyrics here