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Banda Do Casaco

Prog Folk

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Banda Do Casaco Coisas Do Arco Da Velha album cover
3.67 | 18 ratings | 4 reviews | 11% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Morgadinha Dos Canibais (Traditional) (3:47)
2. Ai Mê André (Traditional) (4:22)
3. Romance De Branca-Flor (Traditional) (5:04)
4. Rigolindo (1:30)
5. Olá Margarida (5:16)
6. Canto De Amor E Trabalho (5:43)
7. É Triste Não Saber Ler (4:15)
8. Virgolino Faz O Pino (3:45)
9. A Mulher Do Regedor (2:42)
10. Era Uma Vez Uma Velha (4:46)
11. Cantiga D'Embalar Avozinhas (Traditional) (1:43)

Total Time 42:53

Bonus tracks on 2013 reissue:
12. Ao Cabo D'Um Ano (2:34)
13. Ai Mê André (Demo) (2:43)

Line-up / Musicians

- Cândida Soares (Branca-Flor) / vocals
- António Pinho / vocals, percussion, co-producer
- Nuno Rodrigues / guitars, percussion, vocals, co-producer
- Luís Linhares / pianos, recorder
- Mena Amaro / violin
- Celso de Carvalho / double bass, cello, vibraphone

- Helena Afonso / backing vocals
- Armindo Neves / guitar
- Mike Sergeant / guitar
- Carlos Zíngaro / violin

Releases information

Artwork: José A. Oliveira with Chico Graça (photo)

LP Philips ‎- 2169 (1976, Portugal)

CD Polygram ‎- 518758-2 (1993, Portugal)
CD CNM ‎- CNM4712CD (2013, Portugal) Remastered by José Fortes with 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to micky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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BANDA DO CASACO Coisas Do Arco Da Velha ratings distribution

(18 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BANDA DO CASACO Coisas Do Arco Da Velha reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Kotro
4 stars "Coisas do Arco da Velha" is a Portuguese idiom used to describe bizarre events, weird happenings or really far-fetched ideas. However, like a previous reviewer wrote, what you'll find here is mostly very old stuff. The band's debut album wasn't exactly well-received by the usual folk mob and fellow artists, and while the band fiercely defended their work on stage (there are several written reports of concerts of the time), in the studio they were preparing to take a step down by leaving their unconventional approach aside for a more typical Portuguese folk album. The result, while having its merits, turns out pale in comparison with the previous and especially the following works.

The first three tracks express this tendency clearly: they are arrangements (with the bands own lyrics) of traditional songs. Morgadinha dos Canibais features a very varied rhythm between faster and slower paced, with intertwining male and female vocals, with some great flute, harmonic and cello playing, among the usual paraphernalia of instruments at the band's disposition - an excellent opener, and one of the highlights of the album. Ai Mê André is an ethereal love ballad featuring great female vocals and a tasteful string arrangement. The middle section is driven by the piano as the vocals multiply. A bassline and acoustic guitar give it a bit more punch, before the phantasmagoria of the vocals and strings return for the ending. Romance de Branca Flor begins with some very traditional vocals and percussion. What we ear is a sung dialogue between man and woman, the story of a woman cheating her husband, who soon discovers the betrayal (Matty Groves, anyone?). Hints of the band's early album are then heard as the traditional sounds give way to organ, wind instruments and cellos - a lovely piece. Rigolindo is a short track mostly percussion and flute driven, with a full band choir - a typical traditional folk song. Olá Margarida is another calm love ballad, almost a male version of Ai Mê André. The acoustic guitar (complemented by the eerie female chant in the background) is the motor of the song, showcasing some excellent playing. Canto de Amor e Trabalho is one of the more upbeat songs on the album (but not in a jiggy kind of way - Portuguese folk is much more melancholic than Spanish, French or even English or Irish folk). The violin makes its first clear appearance in this song, which once more features some great mix of male and female vocals, as it tells the story of a farmer returning home after a hard day's work and his wife's wait - a celebration of rural life. É Triste Não Saber Ler brings the melancholia back, being as it is a long lament about not knowing how to read (which metamorphs into one's inability to imagine and have ambitions). The arrangements in this song are superb, with excellent strings and even what seems to be a didgeridoo, making any kind of percussion completely unnecessary. Virgolino Faz o Pino begins with a female choir backed by church organ, soon replaced by a single voice accompanied by strings. The whole first and second section repeat throughout the song. A Mulher do Regedor is another upbeat and this time funny song (about the less appropriate adventures of a lady in a village while her husband, a national assemblyman, is away in Lisbon), more jiggy than the others, dominated by the cello, violin and acoustic guitar. Era Uma Vez Uma Velha is another song starting as a ballad with sudden changes in rhythm and punch. The quieter parts are, as usual, female sung accompanied by strings, before the rest of the band jumps from behind a rock displaying all their instruments and different vocals for the chorus. Cantiga d'Embalar Avozinhas is another take on a traditional song, a really different take, as it is opened by a jazz piano and a full strings orchestra, and featuring a child singing a lullaby to his granny - an amusing display of the world upside-down that the band seem to love so much. This last songs brings the album to a closing.

Musically, it's a more conservative effort, but still featuring some glimpses of brilliance. As in the first album, the singing, playing, composition and songwriting are among the best one will ever hear coming out of the Iberian Peninsula - but it's the musical approach that fails, due to its lack of experimentalism. As all the albums of the band, it requires a lot of attention to fully grasp it and therefore appreciate it. Lyrically it's still a strong album, filled with rich wording and political or humorous themes - while the first album was a critical take on the corruption of city life, this second album is a praise of the rural lifestyle. But I am not a lyrics man, not even in my mother tongue, and so the writing, no matter how good it is, is not enough to rate this album highly, especially when doing so from a progressive rock or folk point of view, and to an audience that probably wouldn't understand them anyway. Like the first album, it is an easy personal five stars for the beauty and quality of the compositions and songwriting, but for the purposes of a prog-oriented review I can only give three stars (perhaps four if you're a real folk lover), due to its more traditional and less adventurous approach to folk. But don't take my word for it - judge for yourself.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars First album by Banda Do Casaco was instantly followed by another one, ''Coisas do arco da velha'', supported again by the Phillips' management.There are some line-up changes, as Armindo Neves and Mena Amaro joined the band on guitar and violin respectively, replacing the departing Jose Campos e Sousa, while Carlos Zingaro would appear only as a past member on violin.The album features also the presence of female singer Candida Smith, who later had a decent career as a singer under the name of Candida Branca Flor.The album was recorded at Estudios Radio Triunfo.

A rather more mature effort, ''Coisas do arco da velha'' is not far better than Banda Do Casaco's debut, but it is certainly a more balanced and versatile album with some quirky Prog Folk Music surrounded by airy and dreamy soundscapes, fronted by smooth piano lines and ethereal female vocals by Candida Smith and guest vocalist Helena Afonso.The progressive content seems more apparent and there are even moments in here with some slight PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI mood, especially when acoustic guitars, piano and violin come in evidence.Horns and strings remain a regular component of the band's menu, producing somekind of dark Chamber Folk, which often gets more relaxed with the presence of ethereal male and female vocals.A few pieces are still grounded deeply in Portuguese Folk with strings and acoustic guitars being the dominant instruments.But there are also some new flavors explored, as for the first time Banda Do Casaco's arrangements, especially during the second side of the original vinyl, contain an obvious Classical nature with polyphonic vocals, church organ and orchestral strings creating cinematic textures and producing some trully impressive atmospheres, mostly in a melacholic yet grandiose mood.

Despite the little-to-none presence of electric instruments, ''Coisas do arco da velha'' appears to be a nice piece of 70's Prog Folk Music.Imagine a Portuguese version of PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI with more emphasis on traditional than symphonic arrangements and you are pretty close to its charming sound.Recommended.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nº 402

"Coisas Do Arco Da Velha" is the second studio album of Banda Do Casaco and was released in 1976. It was released after their admirable debut studio album "Dos Benefícios Dum Vendido No Reino Dos Bonfácios", in 1975. However, while that album was made in the format of a conceptual album, this time with "Coisas Do Arco Da Velha", Banda Do Casaco decided to divide the album into several individual songs without anything in common with each other, really.

"Coisas Do Arco Da Velha" has eleven tracks. The first track "Morgadinha Dos Canibais" is an adaptation of a traditional Portuguese song whith the usual criticism to the secular Portugal in its lyrics, which always was one of the trademarks of the band. By its musical arrangements and also by its lyrics so proverbial surrealistic, this track is really a must. The second track "Ai Mê André" is also an adaptation of another traditional Portuguese song. It joins nicely the pastoral lyricism of the strings, an exultant and decided piano and a beautiful female voice. The final result is another excellent track with enigmatic lyrics and without losing the touch of poetry. The third track "Romance De Branca Flor" is based on another Portuguese traditional song and their vocalist Cândida Soares wins her artistic name to Cândida Branca Flor with this track. It opens with anxious voices calling and a dazzling oboe. It's undoubtedly influenced by the British Folk of the 70's and where the strings and the keyboards accentuate the dramatic character and the sophistication given to this beautiful atmospheric piece of music. The fourth track "Rigolindo" is a very short piece of music. It's a small and fresh musical intrusion of a minute and a half by fifes and tambourines. These drums always sound to me manly and exciting. The lyrics say that "At least once every year, you know well from the piggy bank". But, unfortunately, in nowadays the banks replaced the piggy banks and brought us the problems that we all know. The fifth track "Olá Margarida" has the breath of a winter night with a fireplace in a wood house. A pale and a brooding eroticism of a string quartet and a guitar masterfully performed rises with a thousand strings for hope. With this track, the band can't be ashamed with this impeccable musical lesson of a passionate troubadour. The sixth track "Canto De Amor e Trabalho" lyrically is about the head of a family on the back of his donkey that yearns for homecoming after a fatigue day work to eat a hot meal and have time to give a kiss to his little girl. Musically, there is no instrument that doesn't participate in the ingrained smell of the Portuguese fields. The guitar the violin and above all the female chorus are the perfect proof of that. The seventh track "É Triste Não Saber Ler" lyrically is a song that reflects perfectly well the Portuguese traditional and telluric melancholy and it's very difficult not to feel a certain emotion with its lyrics that saying that is sad we don't know to read. Musically, it's a song that echoes with the jingle of chimes that alternates with deepest cello supported by the vocals. The final result is an excellent song with a superior musical arrangement. The eighth track "Virgolino Faz O Pino" is a song with a text full of nonsense supported by a female choir a church organ soon replaced by a single voice accompanied by strings. Despite being a nice song it's probably the less interesting track on the album. The ninth track "A Mulher Do Regedor" is a fantastic cornucopia of melodies framed in the social Portuguese context in those times. The violin plus the cello and the vocals will start us on the sofa in a drunken tone for a little foot dance. This song is perfectly at the same level in terms of what is bolder in the Portuguese popular music. The tenth track "Era Uma Vez Uma Velha" is a very humoristic song very well balanced with a little piano, violin, xylophones and where little by little "velha" (old woman) is exchanged for "ovelha" (sheep). Maybe it's not perceptive for those who don't know the Portuguese language, but as with on "Dos Benefícios Dum Vendido No Reino Dos Bonifácios" we have again the Portuguese puns, so typical in this band. The eleventh and last track "Cantiga D'Embalar Avózinhas" is another adaptation of a traditional Portuguese song. It's also a very short song that opens with a jazz piano and a full strings orchestra. This is a simple and nice song that serves perfectly well to close this pleasant album.

Conclusion: After their previous very strong debut studio album "Dos Benefícios Dum Vendido No Reino Dos Bonifácios", but which wasn't very well received by critics and public in Portugal, Banda Do Casaco decided to make a more conventional musical work in order to sell better than their previous debut. As was said by António Pinho in an interview made some time ago, Banda Do Casaco never was really a group with a continuity in their work and each album has a very own and distinctive sound. So, the final result of "Coisas Do Arco Da Velha" was a more musical conventional work nearest of the typical Portuguese traditional folk. "Coisas Do Arco Da Velha" is also an excellent album, even today, but is definitely less interesting than their previous album. Despite is has its merits, it turns out in comparison with "Dos Benefícios Dum Vendido No Reino Dos Bonifácios". Thus, I'm going to rate it with 4 solid stars.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

4 stars Second Effort...Great Again! There´s no big difference between BDC´s first album and this one. Both have short songs led by many different vocals (feminine and masculine;all good),excelent lyrics (all in Portuguese), great dynamics, many sudden and subtlle changes in tempo and texture, lar ... (read more)

Report this review (#157786) | Posted by progLee | Saturday, January 5, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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