The Soaked Lamb
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The Soaked Lamb

Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal | SELF

Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal | SELF
Band Blues Jazz


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LP - "Homemade Blues" 2007
LP - "Hats & Chairs" 2010



The band was formed in 2006, when Miguel Lima (drums) decided to record a CD. Another future band member (Afonso Cruz) had an apartment ideal for music of the kind they had imagined. It was in Lisbon’s Avenida Almirante Reis, right next to a soup kitchen, and was a huge space divided into nine or ten rooms, its balcony boasting a superb view of one of the city’s seediest squares, Largo Intendente. It was here the base was recorded, with other musicians arriving one by one and recording their contributions. The musicians never all played together (some didn’t even know each other at the time) but recording went on; its completion was the cue for rehearsals to begin for live shows. In other words, the band emerged from the disc rather than the other way around. Because all band members have day jobs (two are in advertising, one is a designer, one a sound engineer, one an illustrator and director, and another a writer, illustrator and director) recording all took place on Sundays. Sometimes the lady of the house would make ensopado de borrego, lamb stew; but ensopado also means ‘soaked’ and so that’s how the band got its name, thanks to Sunday’s menu. If if you listen carefully to the first CD, you can make out the cloves, coriander and red wine in the mix. Since the disc was all recorded at home, it was dubbed Homemade Blues – real handcrafted music, recorded over a period of almost a year.
After a few rehearsals, the band set off to perform live around the country. The Soaked Lamb have also contributed to the soundtracks of films, including one feature-length movie by Leonel Vieira, ‘A Arte de Roubar’ (Art of Stealing) and adverts. About a year and a half ago, they started recording for their second disc, which was to be more eclectic than the first. It is exclusively made up of original tracks, recorded in a professional studio (�ndigo), but is still handmade, just like the first.
Much of the spirit of this band is inspired by American music of the first half of the 20th century. The Soaked Lamb don’t ignore what’s going on around them – contemporary life – but prefer to play sitting down. Basically, they compose at a slow speed that is not at all modern. The Soaked Lamb have no time for hurrying, crafting their songs as was done 70 or 80 years ago, with the care of people producing a melody to last rather than a rhythm to top the charts. At concerts, both audience and band remain seated. The music is in colour, but sounds as if it’s in black and white. All the musicians wear hats, although one of them did also once play – against all the rules – in sandals. There are six band members in all, but more than a dozen instruments: Miguel Lima plays drums and percussion, Tiago Albuquerque switches between trumpet, clarinet saxophones, guitar, concertina and ukelele, Mariana Lima sings and plays saxophone and ukelele, Vasco Condessa is on piano and other keyboards, Afonso Cruz sings and plays guitar, banjo, ukelele, harmonica and lap steel guitar, and Gito is on double bass. And a megaphone is also involved.
Given their dress and performance, the name of the band’s second disc came naturally: Hats and Chairs.