Danças Ocultas

Danças Ocultas


Danças Ocultas is one of the most innovating and enticing projects in Portuguese music today. Seducing the audience with a constant search for innovation with an instrument based on the European musical tradition, they are known internationally and have their records released in several countries.


Pulsar is the name given to those distant neutron stars whose existance we get to witness due to the radiation (not just light but also sound) they ommit in regular cycles.
Pulsar is also the title for the third originals’ album by the Danças Ocultas quartet – even if, in this case, for aparently different reasons. Indeed, in Portuguese, the same word also refers to heartbeat, or a certain inner rhythm. Finally, just out of curiosity, it is a word that incorporates (but goes beyond) the group’s previous work title, 1998’s record named «Ar». It indicates a moment of greater maturity and stability, which reflects on a superior composition work, an improvement in execution, and the dialogue with a variety of musical languages and traditions. In conclusion, a moment of opening up to the world.
Artur Fernandes, Filipe Cal, Filipe Ricardo and Francisco Miguel got together because of a shared interest in the recovery of an instrument that is outdated – the diatonic accordion, known in Portugal as «concertina» - and because they all accepted the challenge of exploring, imagining and conceiving new musical languages. With this in mind, the can transform the world through sound and develop all the possibilities provided by that one machine invented in the XIXth century.
Dancas Ocultas started off by adapting different classical partitions to the instrument - Verdi’s Aida, some of Bach’s work, Strauss’s Also Spracht Zarathustra – and performed live for the first time in May 1989, at the cine-theatre in the city of Aveiro. After that, they to started to look into creating their own repertoire. And, in 1992, they travelled to Evora to watch a concert by Riccardo Tesi, who would come to deeply influence them as he confirmed their initial intuition that it was possible to discover something new from such an outdated instrument.
They then looked for a new name that would force people to consider its meaning – hence the name Danças Ocultas, since it is a way of showing that they created music for dances still to be invented.
Only in 1993 did Artur Fernandes show some of their Danças Ocultas’s recordings to Rodrigo Leão, whose enthusiasm lead him to introduce the group to Gabriel Gomes, then accordionist with Madredeus. Gabriel pushed them to compose more original material and to develop a unique language. On a now memorable night in May 1994, the band performed in Braga with Madredeus, spending the early hours of the morning playing their repertoire in the hotel’s toilets, while Gabriel Gomes recorded the session on DAT. Since sound engineer António Pinheiro da Silva showed reservations about certains aspects of tuning, the following month the group went ahead with some technical changes, altering the instruments’ timbre in order to improve the harmonies. After that, they went down to Lisbon, where they spent some weeks rehearsing with Gabriel Gomes, before locking themselves away in the Angel 1 studio with António Pinheiro da Silva for the recording of what would come to be their first album. With 1995 came the group’s first interviews, while they strove to negociate a record contract. The album, with no other title aside from the band’s own name, was finally released in February 1996 by EMI-Valentim de Carvalho, though it was dated from the previous year.
Unanimously recognized as one of the best albums of the year, this work – predominantly made of compositions by Artur Fernandes – lead to a series of concerts and public apearances that quickly extended abroad: in 1997 the band was invited to take part in various international festivals throughout Spain, Marroco, France and Belgium.
Confronted with other stages and other audiences, the group felt the need to imprint a new dynamic into their sound. They needed a wider set one notes in flat sounds. This is when they decided to introduce a second technical change, by creating an unlikely and previously nonexistent instrument: the concertina-baixo – which, since it is not destined for a soloist, only makes sense within an ensemble. From then on, it was played by Filipe Ricardo.
With that same sound, between December 1997 and January 1998, Danças Ocultas record a second set on original compositions. This time, the collective begins to a have a greater influence in the composition process and it becomes clear that they desire to unite their own music with other traditions, other arts and even with other asthetic horizons. Released before the summer of the same year, and once again produced by Gabriel Gomes, the album «Ar» starts off with the song «Escalada», a tribute to the Argentinian mentor Astor Piazzolla. It also includes a scenic track («Hinos à Noite») created for a theater play by Filipe Pereira, as well as two songs included in the soundtrack for Carlos da Silva and George Sluizer’s film «Mortinho por Chegar a Casa».
With more concerts, tours and other festival experiences, this innovative asthetics also brought new challenges. In 2001, the chor


Danças Ocultas (Emi Valentim de Carvalho, 1996)
Ar (Emi Valentim de Carvalho, 19998)
Travessa da Espera - colêctania (L'Empreinte Digitale, France 2002)
Pulsar (Magic Music, 2004)
Festival Internacional Acordeões do Mundo (a compilation of the artists involved in the Festival, 2006)
Internationales Akkordeon Festival Wien live vol. 2 -(a compilation involving all the artists at the Festival 2007)
50 Years of Portuguese Music Vol. 7 - Great interpreters (Jornal Público e EMI-VC 2007)

Set List

Folia, Escalada, Dança I, Dança II, Quatro Ilusões, Do Fundo do Mar, Diatonico, Neia, Moda Assim ao Lado, No(c)turno das 7, Danca d’Alba, Contradança, Hinos à Noite, Queda d’água.
Duration: 70m