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Banda Do Casaco

Prog Folk

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Banda Do Casaco Dos Benefícios Dum Vendido No Reino Dos Bonifácios album cover
3.85 | 37 ratings | 5 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Aliciação - Espírito Imundo (4:51)
2. D'Alma Aviada (2:29)
3. A Ladainha Das Comadres (1:58)
4. A Cavalo Dado (2:45)
5. Henrique Ser Ou Não Henriquecer (1:37)
6. Bonifácios (3:27)
7. Lavados, Lavados Sim (3:41)
8. Cocktail Do Braço De Prata (4:39)
9. Na Boca Do Inferno (2:01)
10. Horas De Ponta E Mola (5:00)
11. Memorando - Sábado Sauna Sábado Santo (3:24)
12. Opúsculo (1:48)

Total time 37:40

Line-up / Musicians

- António Pinho / vocals, tymbales, sistrum
- Nuno Rodrigues / guitars, sistrum, vocals
- Luís Linhares / pianos, recorder
- Celso de Carvalho / double bass, cello, vibraphone

- Judi Brennan / vocals
- Helena Afonso / vocals
- Carlos Zíngaro / violin, electric guitar, cello, double bass, carillon, tymbales, vocals
- José Campos e Sousa / guitar, vocals
- Nelson Portelinha / guitars, trumpet, trombone, vibraphone, recorder, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Carlos Zíngaro

LP Philips ‎- 6330 013 (1974, Portugal)

CD Philips ‎- 518757-2 (1993, Portugal)
CD CNM ‎- CNM471CD (2013, Portugal) Remastered by José Fortes

Thanks to micky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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BANDA DO CASACO Dos Benefícios Dum Vendido No Reino Dos Bonifácios ratings distribution

(37 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (43%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

BANDA DO CASACO Dos Benefícios Dum Vendido No Reino Dos Bonifácios reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars Typically when one see a Latin band listed as folk, particularly one whose genesis was in the seventies, the instant expectation is to hear either a lot of fat acoustic flamenco-like guitar and castanets; or yet another Santana clone. Well think more like the diversity and multi-disciplined artistic approach of Beggar’s Opera; a little bit of After Crying’s penchant for mixing chamber chorals with piano, ethnic instrumentation, and spoken-word passages; and Super Furry Animal’s sarcastic sense of humor, and you would be a bit closer to what these guys sound like.

It’s very difficult to assess an album when all the reference material about them is in Portuguese (unless you speak Portuguese of course), and when some thirty-two years have passed since the album had any kind of visibility beyond the band’s tight group of fans. But let’s try.

First, the album artwork here is more like something to be expected of Birth Control or even the Furries. Multimedia artist and band violinist Carlos Zíngaro provides the adult-underground like cartoon sketches on the cover, and while they’re kind of funny this is not what you’d expect of a folk band. Que sera.

The music here is an eclectic and haphazard mix of acoustic folk that borders on Wyrd at times, those chamber-like vocals supplied by just about everyone in the band but mostly the two female members Judi Brennan and Helena Afonso, the requisite acoustic guitars, Zíngaro’s violin, and all manner of brass, woodwinds and percussion. I even heard what sounded like a Jew’s harp on “Bonifacios “. The strings are mostly discordant and tense; the brass mostly improvisational and jazzy. There’s lots of delicate piano and even the occasional electric guitar. I’m not exactly sure how many instruments are employed among the nine band members, but there are about twenty listed in the liner notes.

So you get the picture: lots of instrumental sounds, plenty of vocals, and what seems to be a largely irreverent approach to composition that results in songs that require close attention to avoid missing anything.

There’s not much point in my trying to decipher all that’s going on here – that must be left to someone who has a native mastery of the Portuguese tongue. But a few observations can be made: “Horas de ponta e mola” contains the most emotive and beautiful strings on the album, while “Aliciação - espirito imundo” blends Latin and Arab percussion and strings into a veritable stew pot of world music sound. Zíngaro shines on violin on the brief but beautiful “Henrique ser ou nao henriquecer”. And “Cocktail do braço de prata” seems to cover about a century of folk sounds in its four and a half short minutes.

There’s lots to absorb here, and nearly all of it is worth the time and effort. I’ve only had the chance to listen to this for a couple of weeks and already I know I’ll be revisiting this review some time down the road to flesh it out with more discoveries. In the meantime I hope other progressive fans discover these guys and their deep discography. If this debut is any example then Banda do Casaco has plenty to offer. Four stars and well recommended.


Review by Kotro
4 stars A historical document and all-round awesome album

So, I finally have some time to review the albums that I know from this almost forgotten band. More of a small orchestra then a typical 3-5 piece band (their origin was a phylarmonic, even if it was a fraudulent one - pun intended), Banda do Casaco took portuguese folk music to new heights, mixing modern instrumentation with traditional themes. Very much like any other folk-rock band, one might say. Well, it's not that simple.

When Banda do Casaco first appeared, the concept of traditional folk music in Portugal was restricted to popular balls and marches, songs taught to children in pre-school, and ethnical dances. Banda do Casaco took other themes from deep folk culture, and revamped them in new lyrics, using the unapparent musicallity of the Portuguese language through several wordplays. This was a constant throughout most of their albums, but it is especially present in this one - Dos Benefícios Dum Vendido no Reino Dos Bonifácios is an exceptionally strong vocal folk- prog recording: it features some very poetical lyrics and singing, with great choirs, and unusual ranges (Na Boca do Inferno, for instance, has some low rough vocals that could easily find a spot on some Death Metal album 30 years later). But let's by trying to describe the most important element: sound.

This is not a rock album. It's a full-blown folk album whose arrangements and experimentation make it fall under the "progressive" moniker. The album opens with the sound of drums, in an almost tribal rhythm, which is soon enough followed by an incredible paraphernalia of instruments, with the strings being the most dominant element. The first track reeks of Wyrd, although one cannot really be sure if the band knew what Wyrd was. Aliciação - Espírito Imundo is reminiscent of some of the sounds of Comus' First Utterance, with it's delicate percussion and subtle vocals, with the piano and female choir complementing the strings later on. D'Alma Aviada and Ladaínha das Comadres follow on this sonority, with some lovely acoustic guitar work and harp, as well as the wild violin. Percussion is present here and there, always in a fast-paced, almost tribal rhythm, with the later track featuring a hypnotic litany accompanied by flute. A Cavalo Dado is an astonishing track due to its multiple variations in such short time, less than 3 minutes, beginning with a pastoral choir accompanied by a jazzy piano, switching to a repetitive theme closer to a rock n'roll rhythm, then back to strict folk. Lovely choir vocals present throughout the song, before the cool ending with some sublime piano and declamation. Henrique Ser ou Não Enriquecer is the shortest track, a delicate pastoral folk ballad delivered by the female voices of the band, featuring a lovely violin solo by multi-instrumentalist Carlos Zíngaro. Bonifácios is an acoustic guitar-driven ballad, with some soft male vocals, and a catchy rhythm. The first half of Lavados Lavados Sim is the folkiest part of the album, close to the typical sounds of village fairs of days long gone. Featuring an interesting interplay of male and female choir, it soon sees the introduction of cello and horns, at times evocative of Renaissance. The jazzy piano returns in the end, clearly breaking all conventions of folk tunes. Cocktail do Braço de Prata begins with the interplay of acoustic guitar and violin, before the vocals kick-in. Like A Cavalo Dado, it features plenty of variations in sound, between regular folk and some percussion that reminds me of Moerlen's work in Gong. A delicate electric guitar can be heard in the back. Na Boca do Inferno is a two-part song (in only two minutes), featuring some very low, rough vocals in a grim track dominated by the violin. It quickens in pace as it comes to the end and several instruments (mostly flute and acoustic guitar) take their place in an amazing vortex of sound. The Gong-like xylophone-like percussion returns for the beginning of Horas de Ponta e Mola, where we also get some piano and electric guitar in the background. The longest track of the album, it is more constant in its sad, delicate sonority than many of the other shorter tracks. The ending is extremely eerie, with a weeping violin being heard over the repetitive piano, like something out of the darkest Hitchcockian scene. Memorando - Sábado Sauna Sábado Santo, after a small spoken part, begins almost like a lullaby, even though the words sung by male and female vocals are far from advisable to children. The chorus drops this sonority at moments, but the sarcastic lullaby dominates. The final track, Opúsculo, is a mostly vocal track, with a cacophony of instruments and sounds in the background. Vocals do dominate this album - as I said previously, a lot of the musicality inherent to the songs comes from the singing, greatly helped by a mastery of the Portuguese language not available to every native speaker. The main concern was to make the words musical, something not very easy to achieve in any language, while at the same time having them making sense, which is even harder - yet the band managed to do so in style. Let's give the theme a quick run-trough.

The album is in fact a concept album, but you wouldn't really know it unless you read the liner notes, where the entire storyline is explained - it is basically the story of a man (the "Vendido" - sell-out) who sells his soul to the devil (there is a thin line between metaphor and fictional reality regarding this "sale") in order to be rich and successful in the "Kingdom of the Bonifácios" (Portugal, presumably in the years that preceded the 74 revolution) - a Portuguese society musical spin on Dr. Faust, if you will. A giant metaphor criticising the abandon of moral values in exchange for money, power, and ultimately, comfort. Our subject, the "sell-out", is a rural man, awaken from his sleep by a gorgeous woman, who lures him with promises of all sorts. Thus the title, Aliciação/Espírito Imundo (The Luring/Immoral Spirit). In the second song, he observes his simple way of life, which never pleased him, and decides to sell his soul to the woman whom now appears to him as the Devil. The song's title (D'Alma Aviada) is one of several puns and wordplays present in the album. Before he leaves, he his stopped by the elder women of his village (the "Comadres"), who instantly know something isn't right. They warn him, and he answers with scorn. The women sing a litany ("Ladaínha") to keep the Devil away. In the next song, A Cavalo Dado. (Don't look a gift horse.) the "sell-out" sets out on his journey and meets a one-armed woman, created by the Devil, with whom he marries for money, after briefly thinking it over in the track Henrique Ser ou Não Enriquecer (another of those puns and wordplays impossible to translate without loss of meaning). Bonifácios is a lovely poem which makes a really sarcastic, but in the end, very true appraisal of the Portuguese - they appear here as sheep, as Henrique (Prince Henry the Navigator) and his political heirs drive thousands of them into hard living conditions and death for their own profit. It establishes a parallel with Lavados Lavados Sim, which speaks of all those who, in the 20th Century, had to leave the country searching for a better life while others, like our "sell-out", were getting richer at their cost. With the money he has made serving the State, the sell-out is able to afford is armless (but not harmless) wife a shinny new silver arm - this is told in the 8th song, Cocktail do Braço-de-Prata. With a fat account in a Swiss bank, his family taken care of, the "sell-out" spends his days fattening himself even further. In the haze of success, he appears to have forgoten his earlier contract. But the evil is there to remind him - in Na Boca do Inferno Beelzebub himself reminds the sell-out of his contract, and puts him back on his path, by telling him to take his son to Boca do Inferno (Hell's Gates, loosely translated - a cliff near Lisbon overlooking the Atlantic) and teach him how to follow is own success, by dropping all moral values in favour of watching over one's own back. Horas de Ponta e Mola - yes, another wordplay, this time combining the expressions "Hora de Ponta"(rush hour) and "Ponta e Mola" (switchblade knife) -, along with the next track, Memorandum - Sábado Sauna, Sábado Santo, tell us how our "sell- out" is safely at home with his family after a day's work, while a presumable partner is killed-off by his henchmen. He coldly tells his secretary to send a nice envelope to the widow and buy the kids something. Sábado Sauna, Sábado Santo shows the band in their nastiest sarcastic poetical vein, telling us about the good life of those whose money makes them invincible and hides their crimes, while they practice the good life of saunas and gambling on Saturday morning and church and family in the evening. The final track has the most undecipherable meaning of the album, but the final liner notes are clear: "the sell-out remains faithful to Fatherland, God, and Family - or so he claims. We say: to Hell with him!". Unlike Faust, there is no Lord to save our "sell-out" from his diabolical contract, probably because he doesn't want to be saved. Its an extremely vicious (but deserved) attack on the lack of moral values of pre-1974 Portuguese society (but which could have perfectly been written today) and those who forget their humanity in the face of capital and power. A lot of the meaning in this album will be lost to non-portuguese speakers - hell, it may even be lost to some natives - and I cannot dabble to much in it in the space of this review: the literary content of this album would be enough to fill the pages of an academic thesis. It may be of help to say that the whole theme of the album is visually summarized in the artwork - a small comic book where one can easily identify the elements told by the words and music, using humorous, exaggerated and provocative drawings, courtesy of Carlos Zíngaro.

Dos Benefícios Dum Vendido No Reino Dos Bonifácios, despite the "folk" label, is everything but a cheerful album - it is actually a display of very grim, eerie and dark music, complementing an even darker storyline. The instrumentation of choice (more than 20, not counting other objects not necessarily instruments) are kept to minimum levels of volume, with the strings and piano occasionally achieving a greater presence. The vocals are essential is conveying the various moods, and all singers of the band do an exquisite job. Everything about this album is top-notch: composition, songwriting, musicianship, performance. A sublime array of talents, with plenty to discover and guaranteed to make you want to listen over and over, each time discovering something new - the pleasure is doubled for those who understand the concept. This is not a masterpiece of progressive rock, but only because it's not progressive rock. It is a sublime folk album with progressive leanings and a masterpiece in its own right. Anywhere else it would get five stars, but for the purposes of this website it will have to settle for four - but rest assure, Banda do Casaco will get their 5-stars from me soon enough, in another album. Because no matter how good this album is, it's NOT as good as it gets from this band.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Folk-Rock ensemble hailing from the Iberian peninsula and formed by singer Antonio Pinho and pianist Luis Linhares,both former members of Filharmónica Fraude,a musical project which failed due to political reasons.The two of them met with ex-Musica Novarum guitarist Nuno Rodrigues and bassist/cellist Celso de Carvalho to establish the basic form of BANDA DO CASACO,who meant to be one of the historical bands in Portugese history.First album ''Dos benefícios dum vendido no reino dos bonifácios'' was recorded in 1974 but only released the next year ,fortunately a CD re-issue would follow about 20 years later on Phillips.

BANDA DO CASACO was always a group dealing with social and political issues and thus they became very popular in their country.Their sound is very far from the rock attitude,actually this album could easily be described as Folk music with experimental and psych elements here and there.12 short tracks with extensive lyrical content do not leave much space for adventuruous musicianship,however some of them contain quite nice passages close to the progressive rock nature:acoustic guitars and piano interplays,delicate flutes,a few grandiose horn sections and a good dose of complex violins,contra-bass and cellos offer sometimes a decent music experience.Unfortunately the shorter tracks are only dominated by Acoustic Music and vocals and a foreign listener loses such way his interest,unless you are familiar with the Portugese language.Speaking of vocals,both male and female work here is very nice,sometimes presenting decent polyphonic lines.As for the typical rock instrumentation,only ''Cocktail do Braço de Prata'' and ''Horas de Ponta e Mola'' contain a few distinctive electric moments supported by some beatiful piano and keys...and please notice the total absence of a drummer.

The final result is a big question mark in my head.Lots of stuff in here sounds really boring and leaves me rather cold,while the musicianship can get sometimes really intricate and challenging,regarding the clear folk nature of the band.The accurate rating is exactly 5/10,but I will upgrade this one to three stars,considering the album's importance and the quite original sound of the band.For pure folk fans though,this would be possibly a highly recommended album.

Review by VianaProghead
5 stars Review Nº 401

October 1974. Portugal was in a state of great political upheaval, with the April revolution on 25 still very fresh, and with a not yet fully established and stabilised social order after having left a 48 years of a dictatorship political regime. It was in this month, and in this socio political troubled context that a new prog group in Portugal named Banda Do Casaco came into the studio to recorder their debut studio album, "Dos Benefícios Dum Vendido No Reino Dos Bonifácios".

The final result of the work made by the band was a conceptual album of Portuguese progressive folk music absolutely odd that no one managed to overcome in other subsequent efforts tested in this musical style, and in my humble opinion, not even the group itself. In reality, it's, therefore, a musical work of the highest quality level. That is true to the instrumental and composition level, to the level of the concept and lyrics and to the level of the art cover of the album.

From the lyrical point of view, it treats the Portuguese reality, setting it in a very highly intelligent and ruthless political satire. The album develops around the story of a character who sells his soul to the Devil in return, not so much for knowledge or wisdom, but only for money and social prestige. This entire narrative is served to the listener through excellent satiric lyrics, always cared, poetic, corrosive, allegorical and metaphorical, occasionally adorned with inspired puns which, moreover, are perfectly evident even in many of the titles of the tracks such as "Henrique Ser Ou Não Henriquecer", "Lavados Lavados Sim" and "Horas De Ponta E Mola". The use of puns is frequently used in Portugal, which is particularly evident in the dialogue of many Portuguese films of the 40's of the 20th century. Moreover, a simple attentive listening of this album is enough for realizing the enormous importance that the lyrics have. They're at least as important as the instrumental aspects, and, in fact, there are few moments unsung throughout these almost 40 minutes without it. However, this abundance of vocalizations never becomes tiresome. Probably, the fact that the sung parties will be divided by many performers contributes to that. So, this is a work that must be seen in both aspects, in lyrics and music. But, it's very difficult for those who don't know the Portuguese language to have the complete picture.

In music and in instrumental terms, the group will drink their musical influences from several different musical sources. The two most important are the intervention political songs and the traditional Portuguese music. To that we can join the jazz, some progressive music, experimentation and boldness, all served by an exemplary implementation. Indeed, we can find on this album, side by side, the reverence to the tradition of the old time music, and some absolutely revolutionary aspects such as the use of dissonances, the intricate composition or even the use of unconventional instruments like the use of stick and deodorant sprays. In terms of composition, its notorious the rich of new ideas that were put on the album, preventing any possibility of it becoming boring or repetitive, even after several hearings. This rich of ideas is particular evident on the song "A Cavalo Dado" where, thanks to the constant changes in melody, the band cans built a true epic track, which however, doesn't reach more than 3 minutes long. Which is more impressive to me is that despite all these changes in such a short time they never sound forced or seems to be put out of the place.

Finally, it deserves also highlighting the beautiful graphic work of the art cover of the album, courtesy of Carlos Zingaro, which involves the album with a kind of comics that reproduces some of the moments of the narrative presented on the album. If you have a copy of the original vinyl disc, you know perfectly well what I'm talking about.

Conclusion: Finally, I returned to review some more Portuguese progressive albums. After reviewing albums from Quarteto 1111, José Cid, Petrus Castrus and Tantra, here comes the time to review some albums from Banda Do Casaco. So, I decided to begin by their debut. And what an album it is, especially because we are talking about a debut. In my opinion, it belongs to one of the few and best Portuguese progressive albums from the 70's with some others like "Onde, Quando, Como, Porquê, Cantamos Pessoas Vivas" from Quarteto 1111, "10.000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus E Marte" from José Cid, "Mestre" from Petrus Castrus and "Mistérios E Maravilhas" from Tantra. "Dos Benefícios Dum Vendido No Reino Dos Bonifácios" is really an exceptional album from the lyrical, musical and even from the art cover point of view. It's an entirely acoustic album with lots of instruments performed, which some of them are very unusual, plenty of vocal works and an irreverent musical approach to the composition mixed perfectly completed with very special lyrics of the concept story. The final result is and incredible and very original album. So, and concluding, if you want to hear a traditional progressive album with long epics and where the use of electric musical instruments is common, stay away from it. However, if you are an open mind and you are looking for something "new", strange and original, even if you don't catch a word of Portuguese, you are in the right place. You can't lose your time checking it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

4 stars Great debut! Banda do Casaco surely had the knowhow and when freedom of speech came to Portugal ( late) they started recording one album each year, and this was the first, in75. It´s not better nor worst than their other abums from the 70´s, at least the ones i know (the first three) ... (read more)

Report this review (#157752) | Posted by progLee | Saturday, January 5, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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