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BANDA DO CASACO

Prog Folk • Portugal


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Banda Do Casaco biography
BANDA DO CASACO's genesis comes from the reunion of jazz musician Nuno Rodrigues and FILARMÓNICA FRAUDE's men António Pinho and Luís Linhares, who made the decision to establish a new group who could wield some influence in the Portuguese music scene. Their first LP, "Dos Benefícios de um Vendido no Reino dos Bonifácios" is a real provocation to the estabilishment.
In 1976 they launched their second album, "Coisas do Arco da Velha", where the bands takes their satirical lyrics even further. The song "É triste não saber ler" ("A sad thing, not knowing how to read") is a good example.
BANDA DO CASACO's third and most renowned album, 1977's "Hoje há Conquilhas, Amanhã não Sabemos", features the inclusion in the band of António Pinheiro da Silva, as guitarist, as well as multi-instrumentalist Rão Kyao. This is the band's most experimental album. Launched in 1978, the album "Contos da Barbearia" is a culmination of styles previously explored by the group.

After three years without any recordings, the band returns with in 1981 with a new album, "No Jardim da Celeste". This album is the most rock-oriented of the band, a natural repercussion the growing trend in Portugal. It featured the inclusion in the band of female singer Né Ladeiras and Jerry Marotta, former drummer for Peter Gabriel.
In 1982, António Pinho leaves the group to write lyrics for pop-band "Doce", while the rest of the band present the album "Também Eu", which for the first time features vocals all done by one member, Né Ladeiras.

The final studio album by BANDA DO CASACO, 1984's "Com Ti Chitas", features the inclusion of a somewhat mystical figure in Portuguese music, old lady shepherd "Ti Chitas" (Catarina Sargenta), who sings and plays adufe on the album. It is the band's biggest approach to strict folk music and traditional themes. The group disbands shortly after, while the new pop-rock, punk-rock and synth-pop of the 80's slowly dominated the Portuguese musical scene.

Overall, the band had a very folkish sound, complemented by the use drums, keyboards and the occasional brass and strings, without really having a very strong focus on the "rock" part of "Progressive-Rock" or "Folk-Rock" (electric guitars, for instance, when in existence, were extremely subtle).


by João Cotrim



Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
This band is widely considered, both in Portugal as abroad, as the country greatest Prog-Folk band...
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Dos Beneficios Dum Vendido No Reino Dos BonifaciosDos Beneficios Dum Vendido No Reino Dos Bonifacios
Import
Universal Portugal 1994
Audio CD$6.47
$9.19 (used)
O Melhor De 2O Melhor De 2
Import
Universal Portugal 2001
Audio CD$37.33
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BANDA DO CASACO discography


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BANDA DO CASACO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.65 | 20 ratings
Dos benefícios dum vendido no reino dos bonifácios
1975
3.25 | 9 ratings
Coisas do arco da velha
1976
4.48 | 18 ratings
Hoje há conquilhas, amanhã não sabemos
1977
3.78 | 8 ratings
Contos da barbearia
1978
2.05 | 2 ratings
No Jardim da Celeste
1980
3.00 | 2 ratings
Também eu
1982
3.00 | 1 ratings
Com Ti Chitas
1984

BANDA DO CASACO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BANDA DO CASACO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

BANDA DO CASACO Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
A Arte e a Música de Banda do Casaco
1988
0.00 | 0 ratings
O Melhor De 2 - Banda Do Casaco / Filarmónica Fraude
2001

BANDA DO CASACO Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

BANDA DO CASACO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Coisas do arco da velha  by BANDA DO CASACO album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.25 | 9 ratings

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Coisas do arco da velha
Banda Do Casaco Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

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.

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 Dos benefícios dum vendido no reino dos bonifácios  by BANDA DO CASACO album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.65 | 20 ratings

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Dos benefícios dum vendido no reino dos bonifácios
Banda Do Casaco Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

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.

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 Hoje há conquilhas, amanhã não sabemos  by BANDA DO CASACO album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.48 | 18 ratings

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Hoje há conquilhas, amanhã não sabemos
Banda Do Casaco Prog Folk

Review by Kotro
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Coisas do arco da velha  by BANDA DO CASACO album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.25 | 9 ratings

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Coisas do arco da velha
Banda Do Casaco Prog Folk

Review by Kotro
Prog Reviewer

3 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.

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 Dos benefícios dum vendido no reino dos bonifácios  by BANDA DO CASACO album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.65 | 20 ratings

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Dos benefícios dum vendido no reino dos bonifácios
Banda Do Casaco Prog Folk

Review by Kotro
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Coisas do arco da velha  by BANDA DO CASACO album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.25 | 9 ratings

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Coisas do arco da velha
Banda Do Casaco Prog Folk

Review by progLee

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, large variety of instruments beeing used (and sometimes abused) and no drums! Though this time they did use a little bit more of percussion. And on their third (Hoje Há Conquilhas...) yet to come at the time, they where going to use even more... Don´t get me wrong, no drumkit is no weakness, it´s just a characteristic of this rather unique sound. The rythm is still there, you can even dance to it if you feel like it!

This time they dug out some traditional oldies from several regions of the country and gave it a prog treat! worked out preety well! Along with a bunch of new originals BDC did not disappoint with this Coisas do Arco da Velha ( Things from the old lady´s arch wich means: really old stuff...ironic hum?), and so i recommend this album and this great band to all those who like and NEED to listen to different and refreshing stuff...

...refresh yourself with Banda do Casaco´s genuine ProgFolk! 4 Solid Stars!

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 Dos benefícios dum vendido no reino dos bonifácios  by BANDA DO CASACO album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.65 | 20 ratings

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Dos benefícios dum vendido no reino dos bonifácios
Banda Do Casaco Prog Folk

Review by progLee

4 stars Great debut!

Banda do Casaco surely had the knowhow and when freedom of speech came to Portugal (1974...so 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), wich indicates that this was a very consistent group of musicians despiste the formation changes and various guests. They always seemed to be able to keep things interesting no matter what they did.

The Music: This is Folk,Prog Folk, not Rock! this has no Rock at all, this doesn´t even have drums, just some ocasional percussion here and there. still it has great rythm when it´s intended to.This are characteristics of Portuguese tradicional music, low on percussion, high on vocals and a sad feeling to it, melodies to make you cry...just like Fado! (Fado:tradicional music that consists in vocals and acoustic guitars of various types and sizes, exclusive from Portugal) Vocals are the main instrument and all the other instruments come and go as they support the excellent lyrics,all in Portuguese...please don´t ask me to translate,i haven´t got the time nor the knowledge to do so. I can only say that the lyrics are very political due to the times they where going through (Portugal just had a revolution,the fascist pigs got their ass kicked!)...political but ironic and funny, always simple...these where words for the people to understand, people who had been repressed for too long...i think you got the picture!

The Instruments: This guys played...everything, i don´t even know what...! Everything but drums, though not missed... the thing about BDC´s music are the melodies, the multi-instrumentalism and the message in the words, not the rythm. Remember Gentle Giant? these guys play as many, probably even more instruments than GG! And they do it very well, with virtuosity!(like GG!) And they go from very simple to extremely complicated in a blink of an eye, without any fuzz! Great dynamics!

So, if you want prog rock long epics you should keep away, this has no drums, does not rock and the tracks are short.

But if you are openminded and you´re looking for some folk orientated original music this is it! ...and even if you don´t catch a word of Portuguese this will still be pleasant, this certainly dodges the obvious and that´s what prog is about... something like you never heard before! Try it!

4 solid stars!

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 Hoje há conquilhas, amanhã não sabemos  by BANDA DO CASACO album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.48 | 18 ratings

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Hoje há conquilhas, amanhã não sabemos
Banda Do Casaco Prog Folk

Review by progLee

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.

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 No Jardim da Celeste  by BANDA DO CASACO album cover Studio Album, 1980
2.05 | 2 ratings

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No Jardim da Celeste
Banda Do Casaco Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

2 stars The band seems to have settled into a more commercially-appealing and polished groove on their fifth album. This was the eighties however, so nothing get held too much against anything a prog band did in the first few years of this decade. There’s another change in vocals, with the exotic and seductive Né Ladeiras showing up in front of the microphone for this and the band’s next album as well.

The album and artwork seem to signal a schmaltzy pop-folk release, but on “Estranha Força” the harmonizing vocals, strings and Latin ethnic percussion surface again and the band for the starts to redeem themselves, but only briefly. “Barquinha de Lua” follows with those distinctive, pulsating and vaguely Moroccan-influenced cadences that distinguish so much Portuguese music. Ms. Ladeiras’ vocals are especially intoxicating here.

“Ai se a Luzia” wanders back into pop-folk territory, but the languid strings and haunting vocals on “Liliana Nibelunga” before the song explodes into a brackish vocal dirge that actually turns out to be pretty entertaining, if not progressive in any real sense.

The charming vocals and acoustic trappings of “Madrasta” are the high point of the album, while “É Ouvi-los” employs some odd metering and funky bass that are distinctly eighties and not all that memorable.

This is a rather unexceptional album in total, and while the addition of Ms. Ladeiras’ vocals are a welcome improvement, the overall package is not as good as any of their previous material. The band is clearly on the decline, and in fact would disband after just two more studio albums. This is pretty much a two-star effort, and recommended only to the band’s ardent fans.

peace

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 Contos da barbearia  by BANDA DO CASACO album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.78 | 8 ratings

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Contos da barbearia
Banda Do Casaco Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

4 stars Looks like there’d been a few lineup changes in the band since their first album a few years prior, the most noticeable being the absence of female vocalists Judi Brennan and Helena Afonso. There’s still a woman singing (Rita Rodrigues) but she’s listed as a guest musician.

The sound is mostly the same, although there are several ethnic inflections that are more prominent than on the band’s debut. There is what appears to be a bit of a Moroccan or Algerian leaning with some of the acoustic percussion, particularly on the opening track and the oddly-formed rhythms of “A Noite Passada em Caminha”. The Celtic influence is quite strong throughout with multiple flautists, and the alternating irregular tempos and chanting that is often heard in ethnic Asturian music of the Iberian peninsula’s folk musicians. Not sure if that’s where these guys hail from, but the indications are there in the music. The more notable representative works of this sound include the idyllic “La Pastorica”; the more upbeat “O Enterro do Tostão”; and the surprisingly peppy “Zás Pás”, which could have passed for a pop tune in the early eighties.

The almost lumbering cadences of heavier folk bands like Jethro Tull and even Amazing Blondel surface at times, especially in the almost martial beat of “O Diabo da Velha”, and on the medieval-sounding “Godofredo Cheio de Medo”. That last one also has the only overt use of horns, although they can be heard faintly on several other tracks.

The only time this really manages to sound like a Latin album is with the intricate and beautiful Spanish guitar solo on “Amo Tracinho te”, a short that also makes great use of the cello to cement the mournful and languid mood of the piece.

This is clearly a folk work of the highest order, and frankly could be considered a world music piece for all the ethnic influences it showcases. The vocals are pretty much all Portuguese, so the meaning of most of the songs is left to the imagination of non native speakers. But overall this is a very pleasant albeit rather short album (barely over half an hour). I can’t say that it is essential, and perhaps it doesn’t quite qualify as excellent either. But there are no filler tracks and the musicianship is top-notch. So as a prog-folk work I think four stars is a fair assessment. Well recommended to prog-folk fans as well as those who are interested in Celtic flavored music of the Iberian variety.

peace

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