Indie Sapiens: Manuel Seatra listens to Lourenço Crespo

Lourenço Crespo carries Portugal and its popular culture on his music. Every verse of him has a corner of Portugal, and vice-versa.

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Imagine you are hanging around on the street and everyone you pass by has a secret music artist they like to hear. Today is Manuel Seatra’s turn. He is a director and programmer for Produções Incêndio (a portuguese event promoter based in Lisbon), actor on O Joelho Teatrical Group and half-part of the poetic-performative duo Poesia de Bolso amongst António Reis, on keyboards. In this Indie Sapiens, Manuel talks about Lourenço Crespo’s album, Nove Canções.

Lourenço Crespo – Nove Canções

The summer aura left by this album, launched on april 11th the last year, was the decisive element for choosing this one to write about. I’ve been following Cafetra Records closely almost since its foundation. Off the top of my head, I was a 13 year-old kid in Évora – a city deep inside Portuguese landscapes of Alentejo – watching Lisbon through a funnel (such distance shortened by the Internet) and this record might be one of their gems that have spinned the most in my turntable.

The popular neighborhood dances, the smell of churros of the Popular Fair of Lisbon, the sun over Ribeira das Naus with a couple of  beers – these are the 3 things I immediately recall when I think about the album I’m writing about. My summer of 2016 was full of metro trips no longer than an instant, when compared to the time in which I consumed Nove Canções on repeat.

By this time, a lot has been said about this Portuguese singer-songwriter and his work – the oneiric essence, the vision of Alvalade (portuguese neighbourhood) and “Playing Cafes” (in portuguese: Brincar aos Cafés, song), playing semantic-visual games, half cinematographic, that are withheld in our ears and eyes. It’s hard for me to imagine the 2nd semester of 2016 without picturing clear moments of me addicting friends on “That Woman” (Essa Mulher).

The popular arrangements conjugate the urban confusion while hugging the typical (like the lyrics on Essa Mulher). The more prominent rarity is having an acapella neighborhood (Alvalade) always with the presence of the mundane, creating a nice shade to the Summer while going up and down Avenida de Roma. Beside this dual scenario, there’s an ironic facet of self-criticism that naturally comes up for someone who “be just me/ the hardest is to be who I am” (Trad. from the lyrics of Penantes, the closing theme: “ser só eu/ o mais difícil é ser quem sou”) and at the same time could be “Kanye West if I wanted” (Also from Penantes: “quisesse era o Kanye West”). Thankfully we have Lourenço Crespo just being himself!

What I have for me to keep is that it was more than a summer love or some junky phase of “playing-it-over-and-over-again”. Nowadays I still visit this album longing for new works from the precursor of the best unparalleled  Lisbon’s musical panorama (always plural on his influences, as one can notice in Iguanas, a side-project, probably sited on the antipodes of the most popular influences for his self-named project songs, as Lourenço Crespo).

Hear the whole album and keep tuned by following Lourenço Crespo’s Bandcamp on the link bellow: