PT / EN

June 28 — Afonso Gomes da Silva, Anjos70, cultural agitators, Joaquim Quadros, Lisboa, Lisbon is the new Lisbon, Music, Village Happy Hours, village underground

This glistening Lisbon is pure gold for the braves discovering it

The Lisbon we’re living in today is worth its weight in gold, and it’s valued like never before. A city in a constant boiling state, yet still with wild land ready to be cultivated, falling back on structures like O/B to make it flourish. And O/B stands for Ouro Bravo, a name that explains the concept in which musical gems are revealed in places that are like gold mines they keep digging out through the city. Its prospectors are Afonso Gomes da Silva, Joaquim Quadros and Vicente Futscher, and I chatted with the first two about the paths that are yet to be uncovered.

Jorge Naper (EN version Soraia Martins)

Joaquim Quadros e Afonso Gomes da Silva by Sbrugens

Everyone who sees Afonso play, free, light and unrestricted, can’t quite grasp him wearing his suit and tie behind a desk working as a lawyer from 9 to 5, but O/B holds the paradigm of that party we go to unwind from the daily monotony: “I work a lot inside an office, but I get home, put a record on and cook — and that gives me utter pleasure. To spin records is to put all those pleasurable moments together and share them with others”. Since he was a kid, he’s been familiar with his father’s 60s and 70s psychedelic rock record collection, and Afonso was already playing in college and going through a range of different range of genres, from rock to post punk, from French touch to house and 90s garage, making his current way into “more organic” roads. He comes across Joaquim precisely on those roads, in a party at Anjos70 where the idea for Ouro Bravo first comes to be, from name to concept that had to be “Portuguese, rare, wild, raw, not as polish, uncompromised, simple”. And the value of that gold, what they emphasize more about O/B, is the energy people give back to who shows them those gems — something that’s part of Joaquim’s life.

Joaquim Quadros became well-known to the public when he became a radio host for Vodafone.fm, a breath of fresh air in the Portuguese radio scene with more alternative sounds. When he started, he was only 21, so he spent a decade following music up closely, something he always wanted to do since early: “Music has always been present in my life thanks to my mother, who’d take me to live performances, mainly Fado. Later I got madly hooked on skate culture, and I remember recording film scores and listening to them with the sound of the skates behind. Then I began realizing there was a bond between skate and the music, rock, hip hop, punk, I listening to. I studied journalism because I wanted to research and promote music, and I knew that’s where I had to be”, which was confirmed by his venture into the newspaper ‘Milhões de Notas’ for the Milhões de Festa festival, and Ginga Beat, which he does with Red Bull Music Academy.

With Puro Fun, Joaquim was already fond of that idea of spending matinées listening to music with your friends, but with bands instead. The switch to DJing came not only from the desire to promote music, but also as an option semi imposed by the markets: “Puro Fun was an awful headache… Bands have three distinct circuits: festivals, independent promotors and concert halls. Festivals are more profitable and the one leaving with nothing is the promotor, because he can’t pay the artists as much as the festivals. There’s no competition there, and at the same time the concert hall has to profit from this at all times. Because festivals hold the economic power of the brands associated with them, they’ve inflated the price of bands that don’t even have a record out yet but has been deemed popular and hyped by the Internet. It’s a legitimate cause, but it cuts off independent promotors”. And as a band promotor (or artists like Luís Severo), he says “it’s easier to make someone pay 10€ for a DJ than 6€ for a band. And the band’s more expensive. It just wasn’t viable”.

And O/B’s idea is to book DJs that bring along some of those artists as well, who’re willing to show us new things from cultures they come in contact with. Like Tomás Station, for example, a Colombian-born living in Brooklyn, who’ll come to Village Happy Hours curated by O/B, “because he’s a collector of thousands of influences, from South America’s Latin music to the more Anglo-Saxon sounds”. They want to entice “music collectors who are more selectors than club DJs per se, who share more organic sounds, less obvious, less heard, different, non-committal sounds from clubs, away from the darkness of the night”. Joaquim believes the “idea of exploring the afternoon it’s because it’s more representative of Lisbon. The light… Lisbon’s prettier during the day. I don’t think it’s a city that should be lived at night as it is now”. Something Afonso agrees with, but hits back: “it’s culturally common to dance at night until the sun goes up, but habits are changing”.

O/B’s genesis lies in the day: he started precisely during a matinée at Anjos70 following an invitation by Afonso himself, Marie Lopes and Catarina Querido, and it was thought-out for that space, becoming the starting point for this freedom of being able to test what it was later reproduced through those unexplored gold mines, like Terraço do Capitólio, Hub Creativo do Beato, Palácio Sinel de Cordes, and other warehouses in Beato and Marvila, and now Village Underground: “we’ve known Mariana and Gustavo for many years and we know it’s not easy to drag people here, but we’re very thankful of this makeover, a cultural 2.0 of what’s been happening so far and which we want to be part of”. Perhaps because of those specific traits, O/B has been growing as well thanks to immigrants and expats living or passing through Lisbon, who love to find out about new spots, though “Anjos70 was always our home and the defining stamp of our identity. Anjos have a particular audience, pretty different and open. They reflect Lisbon and its multiculturality.

O/B’s genesis lies in the day: it started precisely during a matinée at Anjos70 following an invitation by Afonso himself, Marie Lopes and Catarina Querido, and it was thought-out for that space, becoming the starting point for this freedom of being able to test what it was later reproduced through those unexplored gold mines, like Terraço do Capitólio, Hub Creativo do Beato, Palácio Sinel de Cordes, and other warehouses in Beato and Marvila, and now Village Underground: “we’ve known Mariana and Gustavo for many years and we know it’s not easy to drag people here, but we’re very thankful of this makeover, a cultural 2.0 of what’s been happening so far and which we want to be part of”. Perhaps because of those specific traits, O/B has been growing as well thanks to immigrants and expats living or passing through Lisbon, who love to find out about new spots, though “Anjos70 was always our home and the defining stamp of our identity. Anjos have a particular audience, pretty different and open. They reflect Lisbon and its multiculturality.

Those particularities have further defined O/B: beyond the sun and daylight, the eclecticism and the musical diversity: “Lisbon is as much the afro beat movement as it is disco, house or techno. It’s a parade of different music genres, and there’s so much happening we shouldn’t lean on just one”. This is a project made by Lisboans to the city, the ones who were already here before it was “the new something”. In fact, what changed was the focus, something Joaquim often feels in his various trips: “when I say I’m from Lisbon, I’ve never had so many people interested and asking questions. Maybe the fact that we’re a city with many more visitors has given us a certain confidence to think that we no longer represent a forgotten province, but rather a European capital. The fact that many people want to visit makes us want to embrace it with all of its quirks”. And Joaquim knows that those idiosyncrasies also hold a place in its growing cosmopolitan side: “The business opportunity is important, but we should focus on the creative opportunity instead. To get foreigners together with locals, whether it’s the public or the music selectors, and enrich both. To get the city together with culture”.

Ouro Bravo is just that, a group of prospectors ready to extract the next piece of gold from the mines they come across with, be it an unknown space in Lisbon or a record that has yet to be shared. It’s the comeback of locals who see themselves more as glocals, world citizens who’re gatherers of cultures, who bring the wealth that Lisbon absorbs and take back what Lisbon emanates back. It’s valuable nuggets of the brave explorers who find the right way for the next gem, the next well-kept secret.

* Friday June 28, there’s Village Happy Hours curated by O/B, with Tomás Station and O/B DJs. It’s free entrance and you don’t even have to pay for the sunset. From 6 to 8, there’s “Pay 1, Get 2 beers”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *