This one is a out of left-field choice, but one that exemplifies how varied and ecletic Portugal’s music output is nowadays, with a profusion of indie bands with different tastes and sounds.
The members of Melech Mechaya are all Portuguese, but their musical interests couldn’t be further away from the mainstream.
Their music is a mix of klezmer and Balkan and Romani folk music (which, unlike flamenco in neighboring Spain, can’t be considered “mainstream” sounds; in Portugal accordions are matched with Portuguese guitars, not cellos and oboes); it’s mainly instrumental, with the virtuosity of the players giving it the cadence and rhythms of a song; it’s playful and generally cheerful music you can dance to (or just be mesmerized by the artistry).
I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of going to one of their concerts and it’s a really fun, interactive experience. People are actively encouraged to dance and to provide support for the songs, being provided with some moves and clap and shout cues to feel like you’re a part of the show, matching the celebratory roots and mood of its main influences. All in all, a great experience if you’re into trying new things and just going with the flow.
A selection of three songs will follow, as usual, after the jump (:
“Dança do Desprazer” (Dance of Displeasure)
“Gente Estranha” (Weird People)
“Bulgar de Odessa” (Odessa’s Bulgar) – Odessa is a city in what’s now Ukraine, Bulgar is a traditional dance typical of klezmer music