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Banda Do Casaco - Hoje Há Conquilhas, Amanhã Não Sabemos CD (album) cover


Banda Do Casaco

Prog Folk

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4 stars Very Good! And not only for FolkProg fans!

I must say that Folkprog isn´t my favourite sub-genre but Portuguese Prog definitly is! Therefore i started (not long ago) exploring what was done (progressively speaking) in my country in the late seventies. (yes,late 70´s because it was impossible to do so before '74 due to political reasons,we had a dictatorship!)

...and so i discovered Banda do Casaco! ("band of the jacket" ,or "the jacket band" ,or something like that...) It is a band that mixes Jazz and Rock influences with tradicional portuguese music and the outcome is awesome! Their lyrics are mostly political yet simple, always ironic and sometimes even funny.

Their music is surprisingly pleasant, it never gets you very high but it never lets you down either,anyway i´ve only listened to this album some 20 times or so and i believe i´m going to apreciate it even more. it´s been building up on me and i truly believe it will give me even more satisfaction than it already does! (and i´m not even into folkprog...yet! Maybe i will after this,who knows!?)

"Hoje há conquilhas, amanhã não sabemos"

I read somewhere that this is their best effort...i can´t comment on that because it´s the only BDC album i know,but i can hardly wait to get some more...

My favourite tracks are:
- 3- País: Portugal!
- 5- Geringonça
- 6- Dez-Onze-Doze

A special highlight to Gabriela Schaaf´s voice on tracks 3 and 5 and Rão Kiao´s Tenor Sax on track 3.

So, even if you´re not a huge Folkprog fan (like me) this will still be an excellent addition to your prog music collection!

Check it out! 4 stars.

Report this review (#153138)
Posted Thursday, November 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The crown jewel of Portuguese progressive music

Hoje Há Conquilhas, Amanhã Não Sabemos is an extremely difficult album for me to review properly. It deserves a thorough analysis by someone clearly more competent to judge than me - still, I will try to do my best. To begin with, it's difficult to review because there is so much to analyse: vocals, instruments, song structure, History, similarities with other bands, originality, etc, and my own knowledge (whether of music theory or just music in general) is simply not enough to do it justice. So I will adopt my usual approach to reviews by trying to describe in the simplest, most honest way what I'm hearing. But boy, it won't be easy.

Like in previous albums, the band took 800 years of Portuguese folk and refurbished them in modern sounds, courtesy of electricity, while at the same time maintaining the use of archaic and traditional instruments. On Hoje Há Conquilhas, Amanhã Não Sabemos, their experimentalism took a step further, following the footsteps of their debut instead of their more conventional second album. There is still room in this album for some of the melancholic folk of Coisas do Arco da Velha, but it offers so much more, in fewer songs than previous efforts. Acalanto opens the album with the typical eerieness of the band. A delicate flute is heard, accompanied by dissonant strings, before the dominant cello steps into the picture, paving the way to a languid male chorus. A sudden change of pace as the full band comes in. The acoustic guitar, flute and violin take the lead. A short violin solo makes the transition for the band's first attempt at rock, featuring a drum kit and an electric guitar - still, it's the violin and cello that have prominence, along with one of several instruments unknown to me. The track then returns to its opening eeriness and languid chorus. The next track, Despique, is another take on traditional themes. It begins with the delicate sound of tuning, before another unusual instrument opens the song (Stylophone?). It features the funny vocals of António Pinho accompanied by the violin. The drums are once more modern sounding, adding flavour to this amusing folk rant. The delicate voice of Gabriela Schaaf opens the next track, País: Portugal accompanied only by the acoustic guitar. The drums soon kick in, as well as the wild saxophone solo by Rão Kyao. In a strategy so common to Banda do Casaco, the famale vocals give way to the male, and vice-versa. The fast pace of this song is complemented by the drums, violin and a subtle electric guitar. Alvorada, Tio Lérias! begins in a spacey mood, clearly dominated by bass, that quickly turns into a thrilling strings track, very similar to chamber music, with the cello and violin dominating, subtly complemented by the electric guitar. A sudden change in pace in rhythm give way into an almost martial beat, with the adufes, drums and wild flutes being heard. A paraphernalia of small traditional percussion instruments then bring this excellent track to a close. Geringonça is the first track by the band to features that ultimate prog instrument, the mellotron. The celestial choir of the keyboard open this spacey song, soon enriched by a sweet flute, delicate electric guitar chords and the lovely voice of Gabriela Schaaf. After the first sung section, the drums, strings and unidentified electric instrument make their appearance. A delicate, yet powerful track, spacey in sound and theme (an alien sighting), featuring, as usual, great arrangements and an unusual (but highly welcome) mellotron and electric guitar. Dez-Onze-Doze is another take on the sounds of Portuguese folk, featuring an impressive array of traditional instruments, in a very celtic sounding track, whose percussion and strings provide it with a very fast pace, here and there broken by the melancholic chorus. The guitars introduce the vigorous lead male vocals, complemented by a full band chorus. Of special relevance in this track are the guitar and harmonica solos. A spacey female chorus brings the song to its end. Ont'à Noite is a traditional ballad, with a piano, harp and violin driven opening, dominated by the stunning angelical vocals of Mena Amaro and the soothing tone of Nuno Rodrigues. The piano, harp and violin are replaced, in a second section, by acoustic and jazzy electric guitars, flute and bass, before the delicate, jazzy fade-out. Água de Rosas is an instrumental closer - a short, bucolic track, driven almost exclusively by the string instruments (violins, cello, guitars), also featuring flute and another unusual appearance, the oboe. A delicate finish to an exciting album. Overall, it is an extremely varied record in terms in musicality, even if folk is the dominant trend. Here and there you can hear hints of chamber music, the space-rock of bands like Eloy, jazz- fusion in the vein of Miles, and the kind of ethnic music and chorus one could find among Oldfield's finest works, all delivered with a technical proficiency hard to find these days in a rock band. The female vocals reach the heights of Maddy Prior and Annie Haslam (sometimes surpassing them), while the male vocals vary from soothing to vibrant. It is truly an orgy of sounds, with plenty to explore.

Hoje Há Conquilhas, Amanhã Não Sabemos is an extremely influential work. Few albums have been quoted as an influence by groups and artists so diverse in musical background - it is featured in the preferences of contemporary jazz, rock, pop, folk, punk, classic and minimalist composers in Portugal. It is also a common presence in every list of greatest Portuguese albums regardless of genre. I am no exception to that - the album is placed high on my all-time favourites list. The degree of experimentation, technical ability, and quality of composition in terms of progressiveness is still high, even if it's already 1977. So, while late, it is indeed a masterpiece of progressive-folk, well-deserving of the five eggs. Stars, I mean.

Report this review (#179369)
Posted Monday, August 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Review Nº 403

Banda Do Casaco is a Portuguese progressive folk band which was active from 1974 to 1984. It was considered by many, critics and public, as one of the Portuguese greatest progressive rock bands of all times. After the failure of the Filarmónica Fraude musical project, more for political reasons than for quality reasons, António Pinho (vocals) and Luís Linhares (keyboards) joined with ex-Musica Novarum band's member Nuno Rodrigues (vocals and guitar) and Celso de Carvalho (cello and double bass) to form a new group named Banda Do Casaco. Many guest musicians passed through the band in their active musical period of life, and many used the band as a springboard to their own musical careers.

The debut studio album of Banda Do Casaco was "Dos Benefícios Dum Vendido No Reino Dos Bonifácios". It was released in 1975. It was a conceptual album very irreverent and innovative that shocked with the more traditional canons of the time. The band's debut album wasn't exactly well received by the usual folk critics and fellow artists. In those times, in Portugal, we lived in a very troubled revolutionary political period and the album wasn't considered properly a revolutionary musical work. Albeit, as Pinho said in an interview, Banda Do Casaco was much more on the left side than the artists who brought revolutionary flags because they used a protest language much more elaborated.

So, while the group fiercely defended their debut musical work on stage, in the studio they were preparing to take a step down by leaving their more controversial and unconventional musical approach for a more typical Portuguese folk album, to begin selling better than their debut. So, the final result was "Coisas Do Arco Da Velha" released in 1976, a more conventional work. However, while having its merits, it turns out in comparison with their previous debut work.

And so, it appears the third studio album from the group "Hoje Há Conquilhas, Amanhã Não Sabemos", which was released in 1977. If on "Coisas Do Arco Da Velha" the ethnographic collection of songs, crafted and freely adapted, is still decisive for the final result, this album leans toward a more experimentation into the avant-garde music. The album intended to be a satire to the economic instability and social insecurity in the country. In an album which are very significant the entry to the group of António Pinheiro da Silva and the musical collaborations of the beginners Gabriela Schaaf's voice and Rão Kyao on tenor saxophone, the highlights on the album are the tracks "Acalanto", "País: Portugal" and "Geringonça", which is the first track from the group to features a Mellotron, and as we know, Mellotron is probably the musical instrument that best defines the progressive music. On "Hoje Há Conquilhas, Amanhã Não Sabemos" there are no weak points, really. This is essentially an album that worth by its whole. As with their previous second album, this is also an album full of musical adaptations of Portuguese traditional songs. "Despique", "Alvorada, Tio Lérias", "Geringonça", "Dez-Onze-Doze" and "Ont'À Noite" are those songs. This third album of Banda Do Casaco is today almost unanimously recognized as one of the most fabulous artistic musical productions of that type of music in my country, Portugal. This album is even considered by some persons as their best musical work. In reality, "Hoje Há Conquilhas, Amanhã Não Sabemos" is one of the best jewels of the Portuguese progressive music, especially because Portugal never was really a traditional country of the progressive music. Anyway, I still continue preferring their debut.

Still, "Hoje Há Conquilhas, Amanhã Não Sabemos" has a very incomprehensible story that deserves to be mentioned. The original recordings of the album, pure and simply disappeared, during the turbulent revolutionary political period in my country, and for many years it was thought that it would be completely impossible to reissue it on CD, leaving only this remarkable work within the reach of the rare owners who still retain the original albums. It made that those rare copies became very expensive, turning practically impossible to reach one of them, if they were to sell. Fortunately, it was possible to retrieve it from the vinyl to CD and for the first time this musical work is finally available on CD format.

Conclusion: As I said before, fortunately, "Hoje Há Conquilhas, Amanhã Não Sabemos" is finally available on CD. Acclaimed in 1977 as the best album of the year in Portugal, Banda Do Casaco presents here one of their best works in reinventing their rich musical legacy. As I wrote before, basing part of their repertoire in the traditional Portuguese folk songs, as they have done on their previous studio album, here we have the subversion of the traditional canons of what we normally know as folk songs, reaching their work with surrealistic edges like "Despique" and "Geringonça". In other ones, like "País: Portugal", there are acute musical and lyrical true portraits of Portugal and of its capital Lisbon. Concluding, the complex sounds constructed on this album, place, in my humble opinion, Banda Do Casaco among some the best prog folk bands that appear in the 70's. "Hoje Há Conquilhas, Amanhã Não Sabemos" and especially "Dos Benefícios Dum Vendido No Reino Dos Bonifácios" are two of the best prog gems of the Portuguese music, really.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#2495674)
Posted Tuesday, January 19, 2021 | Review Permalink

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