The band is the creation of two brothers, Nuno “Jel” and Vasco Duarte, who first performed as a comedy act on Portuguese television five years ago. They then took their message to the people by touring the country. For inspiration they draw from a tradition of collective singing that can be traced back to the 1970’s, when the peaceful Carnation Revolution transformed Portugal from a dictatorship into a democracy. They choose comedy as their medium because “comedy is serious. It is in comedy that the most serious things are being said.”
Presenting viewers with an odd performance begs an explanation, one which the performers are eager to provide. The band’s varied costumes represent different elements within Portuguese society: the farmer, the intellectual, the soldier, the African worker, the care-free singer, etc. Nuno himself plays the lady-loving deadbeat.
It doesn’t trouble Nuno if some people might find his act an acquired taste: “We never wanted to please everybody. I don’t think an artist should do that. Some people will like us. Others won’t.” The political undertones of the song have created some controversy, with some wondering if the band should be disqualified for preaching under the guise of entertainment.
Nuno counters: “You say our song is political? I say that everything is political.” Love, friendships and human relations are all political and there is nothing special about any particular point of view. “We are against fear, resentfulness, and moaning … against people being afraid of everything. We turn on TV and its problems, problems, problems. This crisis is an opportunity to preserve the things we need to be happy … our struggle is joy.”
Summing up the band’s theme, Nuno observes: “We are in a new millennium now. We believe the world could and should be a better place with more justice. This isn’t just hair or clothes. This is how we try to live every day.”