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Grândola, Vila Morena: uses and meanings of a song throughout the years

João Madeira, Ricardo Andrade, and Hugo Castro

In March 2013, hundreds of thousands of people, from different generations and social conditions, marched in Lisbon to protest against the austerity policies of the right-wing government then in power and demanding their resignation. The demonstration had fundamentally been called through social networks by an informal movement – To hell with the troika! (Que se lixe a troika!). Both at the end and during the demonstration, a song was sung – Grândola, Vila Morena (Grândola, Brown/Tanned Town), composed almost 50 years before and available on record for almost four decades. The collective vibe conveyed by the song has remained until today. How to explain such an extraordinary occurrence? How to explain how such different generations, with such different social and political experiences, raised their voices and sang it in unison? At the time of its composition, and even its release on record, Portugal was under a dictatorship, installed by military means in 1926 and in power until 19741. However, this song slipped through the meshes of censorship, one of the most powerful repressive means of the Estado Novo (New State) regime, which, given its characteristics, falls within the scope of the greater family of interwar fascisms. In fact, the song is not exactly a political pamphlet but rather evokes, as metonymy, the social and cultural environment that its author, José Afonso, encountered in a popular association in Grândola, a small town in southern Portugal, at one of his performances in 1964, when he would play by invitation throughout the country, and that greatly impressed him.

The song, which would be sung in public, became popular amongst opposition circles in the early 1970s, being released on record in 1971. In 1974, the state censorship apparatus authorized it to be sung by José Afonso during a concert held on the 29th of March at Coliseu dos Recreios2, one of the largest concert halls in Lisbon, where the vibrant enthusiasm and boldness of the statements shouted by the audience foreshadowed the near end of the 48-year-old authoritarian regime. In the room, amid the audience, were several of the young officers who, a few months later, on April 25th, 1974,  used Grândola, Vila Morena as one of the signals aired on the radio to launch the military movement that overthrew the dictatorship, which, on the morning of that same day, with strong popular support, was transformed into a revolutionary process with democratic and socialist meanings. The song, which had in the meanwhile become a symbol of resistance to the dictatorship, then went on to symbolize the defence of these ideals in the turbulent and enthusiastic years of 1974-75 before remaining a symbolic reference with a strong critical connotation within the process of democratic “normalization” and subsequently rekindled as an anthem when the neoliberal order attempted to reverse social and labour rights. This is an essay on how a song, while remaining alive in its political matrix, was able to reframe itself and remain incandescent, crossing different conjunctures and historical contexts, and appealing to different generations of political and social actors.

José Afonso: from Canção de Coimbra to Balada

In 1964, when he performed in Grândola, José Afonso was just a few months away from turning 35 and had, in the previous year, through the record company Discos Rapsódia, released a small 45 rpm EP, entitled Baladas de Coimbra containing two songs that would become emblematic – Menino do Bairro Negro (Boy from the Black Neighborhood) and Os Vampiros (The Vampires), which marked the start of the new Portuguese protest song. In fact, just after the end of the World War II, Fernando Lopes-Graça, a renowned composer and conductor long linked to opposition circles, had set to music a number of poems of an anti-fascist nature by neo-realist authors3 which became commonly known as Canções Heróicas (Heroic Songs), whose edition4 was prohibited and seized by the censorship apparatus, restricting this songbook (mainly) to oppositionists attached to the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP).

José Afonso completed his high school studies before attending the University of Coimbra, where he became involved in its longstanding musical culture, deeply rooted in the city’s student milieu, expressed through the Canção de Coimbra (Coimbra’s song) tradition5. In this environment deeply linked to academic bohemia, he also participated in the Tuna and the Academic Orfeon6 groups, which performed regularly both nationally and internationally. Moreover, his first two records were released in 1953.

As the 1950s ended, with his degree in History and Philosophy still incomplete but already working as a teacher, he gave classes in the Algarve region. There, he lived through the presidential elections of 1958, an interesting phenomenon in a country under dictatorship. Salazar’s government controlled and manipulated the entire electoral process, from the census to counting the votes and, in these elections, with the anti-fascist opposition initially divided. However, the candidate Humberto Delgado, a military high official opposed to the regime, supported by the non-communist sectors of the opposition, acquired great prominence and support, attracting thousands of people to street rallies. The great enthusiasm surrounding his candidacy determined the withdrawal of the Communist supported candidate and with strongly radicalized supporters reacting against repressive government policies, with street clashes against the police during the electoral campaign7. General Humberto Delgado lost the elections due to monumental institutionalized electoral fraud that fuelled popular indignation and oppositional awareness in a country that was then undergoing important changes with the growth of industrial clusters and the intermediate social strata. Across the country, small nuclei of intellectuals and service workers cemented opposition to the regime and aspired to its overthrow.

These were indeed difficult years for the dictator. In January 1961, a group of exiled Portuguese and Spanish anti-fascist militants, who had constituted in Venezuela the DRIL, the Directório Revolucionário Ibérico de Libertação (Iberian Revolutionary Liberation Directory), willing to undertake more radical actions, proceeded on the island of Curaçao, in the Caribbean, to seize and divert, for 13 days, the ship Santa Maria, drawing international attention to the dictatorship in Portugal, which demoralized Salazar’s government8. 1961 was also marked by the beginning of the Colonial War (1961-1974), which broke out with particular violence in Angola. The following year began with an assault on a barracks in Beja, in southern Portugal, an unsuccessful attempted coup. Demonstrations commemorating the 1st of May became particularly fierce and, in the rural fields of the South, a concerted wave of strikes took place calling for an 8-hour working day. Meanwhile, in Coimbra and Lisbon, the main universities in the country, there was a major academic crisis, with thousands of students on strike and holding rallies and parades. Despite no longer living in Coimbra, José Afonso maintained a close relationship with the city, whether with intellectuals or with more advanced student groups, and these events necessarily influenced him. This provides the context for his breaking with the fado tradition of Coimbra, and with its formal restraints. He held his own ideas, an irrepressible creative drive for other sounds, and started composing baladas (ballads)9.

In the very early 1960s, on one of his trips to Coimbra, he took a set of these new songs that distanced themselves from Coimbra’s song and, wanting to show them these new compositions, he sought out his circle of friends who gathered at the café table but lacking any classical guitar (viola). One, Rocha Pato, remembered his son Rui, still very young, was studying music and had a classical guitar. Thus, it was at their house he would timidly interpret José Afonso’s ideas, working on improving the musical sketches the singer had brought. José Afonso was a fertile stream of creativity but had not undertaken any formal musical studies and he would benefit from an aesthetically complicit relationship with Rui Pato’s guitar accompaniment from then until the end of the 1960s. This would prove of fundamental importance to the renewal of his way of composing and singing, definitively abandoning the traditional accompaniment of Coimbra’s Portuguese guitar. In 1962, the EP Baladas de Coimbra was released after its recording in an old, abandoned monastery with these new compositions featuring José Afonso’s voice rising clearly to the sound of Rui Pato’s classical guitar. Similarly, a year later he recorded, in the same location and with the same accompaniment, a new EP that was again called Baladas de Coimbra, and including the two aforementioned songs with strong political and social connotations. The censorship apparatus would subsequently seek to seize the entire edition.

In Coimbra, the rehearsals were held in café billiards rooms where he met up with friends. Requests to perform multiplied, some with small cachets that eased his financial difficulties, others out of complete generosity and solidarity. He performed both in student associations and in concert halls, outdoors, at social gatherings or at the invitation of friends. José Afonso began to be well known and the impact of his new compositions increased, gaining admirers, particularly among student activists who lived through the election campaign of General Humberto Delgado in 1958 and the academic strike of 1962. This social and political situation was unparalleled in Europe. Portugal lived under a dictatorship that, as in Spain, and with the support of Western democracies, managed to survive the international defeat of Nazi-fascism in the context of the Cold War. However, within this environment, such as in the rest of Western Europe, the reconfiguration of the opposition forces, especially those on the left of the PCP, reflected, particularly in student and intellectual circles, the influences of the Cuban revolution and of the Sino-Soviet dispute.

José Afonso was, as he himself recognized, a “turn of the page” as a singer, even though he maintained an expressive flow of compositions without overly evident political connotations. This process preceded the social, political and cultural wave brought by the French May 1968 movement, which, however, would also impact Afonso. At the turn of the 1960s into the 1970s, he increasingly contacted cultural circles of the radical left abroad, particularly in Paris, where many young deserters from the Colonial War took refuge, and in London. This new phase provided José Afonso with the establishment of an informal solidarity network with a particular focus on protest songs, befriending singers of different nationalities such as Paco Ibañez and Caetano Veloso. Never having adhered to the Communist Party, positioning himself on its left, he nevertheless collaborated with its political and social sectors, especially in the countryside, on the basis of anti-fascist unity in the common fight against the dictatorship of Salazar and, later, Marcelo Caetano.

The genesis of a song

In this new phase of his musical endeavours, José Afonso experienced the need to perform more in working-class environments, whether in urban areas, such as in Lisbon’s industrial sector, or in rural areas, particularly in the south of the country. In the latter region, the intense activities of the clandestine Portuguese Communist Party had built up an aura of resistance amidst the struggle for bread and labour expressed in both towns and villages with strong concentrations of agricultural wage earners, in a region where large landholdings – the latifundium – mostly with a wheat monoculture, predominated. Grândola, a town located 120 km south of Lisbon, was one such location, surrounded by olive groves, cornfields and cork forests, home to rural wage earners, cork cutters, small traders and craftsmen in small workshops. Particularly following the proclamation of the Republic in Portugal in 1910, such locations built up a popularly based associative dynamic that resulted in the launching and maintenance of cultural and recreational associations which were, with their libraries, philharmonic bands and other musical groups, real informal schools attended by workers in a country heavily afflicted by illiteracy.

Against this backdrop, the SMFOG – Sociedade Musical Fraternidade Operária Grandolense (Workers’ Fraternity Musical Society of Grândola), was formed in 1912. Its founding members, mostly workers, such as member no.1, Alfredo Lúcio Feio, a cork sector worker who wrote the society’s statutes, set up a philharmonic band and this musical formation structured its activities and integration into the town’s population with greater or lesser difficulties over the years. In the 1940s, after the course of the Second World War turned favourable to the Allies and when the opposition to Salazar combined efforts to overthrow the regime, in a phase of great expansion for the PCP, political intervention also emerged through popular associations. This was clearly seen in Grândola with the activities ongoing at SMFOG as in the other cultural and recreational collectives established in the locality.

At this point, differences in opinion between some of the Fraternidade Operária Grandolense musicians had already led to a split, with some transferring to another local association, Sport Lisboa e Grândola, with the former becoming known as Música Velha (Old Music). The international defeat of Nazi-fascism did not bring with it the overthrow of Salazar’s Estado Novo, which held out with support from the western powers in the Cold War context. Very isolated politically in the early 1950s, the PCP engaged, together with peripheral organizations such as the MUDJ – the Youth Movement of Democratic Unity and the MDP – the Movement for the Defence of Peace, in strenuously denouncing the western imperialist bloc headed by the United States. In Grândola, there was a council recognised MUDJ group with a professional nucleus of young bricklayers, shoemakers, cork makers and seamstresses. Despite publicly maintaining the organization was legal, the regime undertook thorough surveillance and repression of its members and their activities, forcing them to meet secretly, sometimes in Música Velha but mainly in the fields. They organized dances and youth gatherings in local associations, particularly in Música Velha and Grupo Desportivo Grandolense, sold raffles to raise funds, collected signatures for petitions and distributed propaganda.

In December 1952, a group of MUDJ members set about distributing communiqués and collecting signatures in the town’s streets, including a message from the World Peace Council, an international structure set up under the auspices of the Soviet Union and “popular democratic” countries. They would quickly be intercepted and arrested by the GNR, the National Republican Guard, the main police force operating in rural areas. Family members, companions and neighbours quickly gathered in front of the GNR post demanding their release. The Guard dispersed the concentration but there was no talk of anything else that day throughout the locality with a popular concentration once again gathering in front of the mayor’s house to demand his intervention and the release of the young people with words shouted in defence of peace. There then followed a demonstration through the streets of the town, which was violently repressed by police forces on foot and on horseback.

According to the communist press, 31 arrests were made10, and 24 individuals, mostly young people11, were interrogated by PIDE, the International State Defence Police, the political police. This event left a great mark on the town, being recalled for many years in the collective memory and influencing younger generations.

Hélder Costa, 13 years old at the time, reiterates the impact of those events and the entire oppositional environment that then existed. One of the town’s barbershops was a location for discussion and antifascist indoctrination12 and the very environment in Música Velha, as in other groups, served as informal schools of democratic formation in a hostile political environment set up by both the local political and social elites and the political-administrative apparatus of the state – mainly the Town Council and the GNR. In the early 1960s, Hélder Costa was studying in Coimbra and participating in intense student association cultural activities where he met José Afonso. In Grândola, Música Velha continued as one of the most important legal channels for opposition activities, albeit carried out prudently. In 1963, António Manuel, a communist militant, one of the young people arrested ten years earlier, was now Board President. That year, for the annual SMFOG celebrations, the Choir of the Academy of Music Amateurs, directed by Fernando Lopes-Graça, and Antunes da Silva, a neo-realist author, were invited to give a lecture about their experiences. The collective theatre group, with members including some of those arrested in 1952, staged a play by Romeu Correia, also a neo-realist writer and playwright13.

As from the following year, José da Conceição, brother of the previous president, António Manuel, was elected vice-president while continuing to belong to the theatre group, began imparting a remarkable dynamism to the town’s cultural life not only through the philharmonic band, to which he added a music school to train new members, but also through the theatre group and the library. It is in this context and for commemorations of the 52nd Música Velha anniversary that José Afonso was invited. The initial contact was made by Hélder Costa, who was then running the theatre group even while studying in Coimbra, with the Board subsequently formalising the invitation. José Afonso, who lived in the Algarve region, readily accepted the invitation, interested not only in performing in popular associations and collectives alongside student associations but also excited to meet and participate in the same event as Carlos Paredes, a virtuoso interpreter of the Portuguese guitar.

In his letter accepting the invitation, dated 27th April, he said he was interested in “not giving a «variety» style exhibitionist character to the presentation of my songs” and wished that “everything takes place in the climate of solidarity that your association proposes to encourage beyond a simple recreational purpose”14. The session’s leaflet program states that:

Although Dr. José Afonso still maintains the musical and interpretative sense of Coimbra in his songs, Dr. José Afonso is an innovator. Through his beautiful and strange baladas, he permeates the whole poetic-tragic sense of our people’s sensitivity. For the first time, through this singer-poet with an imminently popular theme, Portuguese song finds its right path. He is the author of a large number of songs, such as “O meu Menino é de Oiro”, “Os Vampiros”, “Bairro Negro”, etc., which have been a great success on radio and television.15

The singer arrives in Grândola by train, accompanied only by his wife and welcomed at the station by José da Conceição, who took them on a tour of the town and SMFOG where, on May 17, 1964, he performed for free to a packed room, overflowing into the street, and sang new songs such as Coro da Primavera or Cantar Alentejano16, the latter one composed practically on the eve and evoking the murder of Catarina Eufémia, a rural worker, shot dead by the GNR in Baleizão, near Beja, during a protest for better wages. José Afonso left Grândola, after one of his first performances outside of student circles or more formal circumstances, including television, moved by the reception, the audience’s enthusiasm and the community ambience, directed and dynamized by workers, with a clearly fraternal and oppositional culture. Days later, on 23rd May, already back in the Algarve, in a letter he wrote to his parents, he mentions his performance in Grândola at the SMFOG:

(…) an old little house with half a dozen divisions, an orchestra, a scenic group and a library. The Board, made up entirely of workers, has already promoted lectures and concerts in which Alves Redol, Romeu Correia, Lopes-Graça and Rogério Paulo collaborated. The authorities have not only refused them the slightest support, they have also hindered many other initiatives of this kind.17

During these days, José Afonso also wrote a letter to José da Conceição, thanking him for the warm reception he received in Grândola and enclosing a poem that precisely evoked this event, which Conceição would then read publicly on May 31st18 in Música Velha. Its first four lines proclaimed: “Grândola, brown town/Land of fraternity/The people are the ones who command the most/Within you, O city”. According to musician Fernando Alvim, who accompanied Carlos Paredes during his performance, Afonso started composing the words and music of Grândola, Vila Morena on his way back from this session19.

Recording the song

Another version of the lyrics, consisting of two stanzas, would eventually be published in the book Cantares20, which first came out in 1966. In a new edition of Cantares, published in 196721, the poem already features a new third stanza (referring to the “shadow of a holm oak”, a tree common throughout the Alentejo), and explicitly mentions that it had already been set to music by José Afonso22. The song’s definitive version would be finished a few years later, in 1971, when it was recorded for the Cantigas do Maio album in one of the Château d’Hérouville studios in Paris, produced by José Mário Branco, and published by Orfeu23. Exiled in France since 1963, José Mário Branco had been developing his activity as a recording musician and phonographic producer since 1969. Several months before recording Cantigas do Maio, and in the same studio, he had recorded and produced his first LP Mudam-se os Tempos, Mudam-se as Vontades, having also served as musical advisor on the first LP by musician Sérgio Godinho, Os Sobreviventes, albums that would also figure at the top of the critics’ choices in Portugal at the turn of 1971 to 1972. These records caused substantial media impact and constituted milestones in what the press of that time called the “renewal of Portuguese popular music”. This “renewal” was, among other things, characterized by more intense recourse to the potential of multitrack recording and a closer approach to the emerging production practices within the context of Anglo-American pop-rock, aspects inseparable not only from how these records were all recorded in a studio primarily dedicated to rock music but also the musical profile of the leading figure behind producing these albums, José Mário Branco.

The work of producer George Martin, responsible for the musical supervision of almost all the recordings by the English pop group The Beatles, would have a particular impact on José Mário and on a whole new generation of musicians. Precisely from the 1960s onwards, studio productions acquired a specific “artistic” dimension that reconfigured the very repertoire through the creative application of multitrack technology and other technological devices in the studio, with the recording practice also becoming a compositional practice and the studio a compositional instrument24. The importance of the sonic/timbrical element on conveying the musician’s and the repertoire’s idiosyncrasies, associated with the construction of studio based sonic realities that went beyond merely capturing and recording live performances, popularized the idea of recording as a specific compositional practice25. In the case of José Mário Branco, his early radio experiences in Oporto, his sound work for theatre and contact with new ways of manipulating sounds within pop-rock music would have a strong impact on his recordings.

As part of his participation in the political turmoil of May 1968, a period during which he played alongside Luís Cília and Sérgio Godinho in several striker occupied factories, José Mário Branco deepened his contacts with several French musicians, such as Jean Sommer, Colette Magny, among others. These contacts would then open the doors to the extensive and dynamic universe of Parisian recording studios, with his debut as an arranger taking place on one of the homonymous LPs by musician James Ollivier, recorded in September 1970 at the Sofreson studio. The second half of 1970 was also marked by the first personal contact between José Mário Branco and José Afonso, which would be of crucial importance to their mutual recording careers. José Mário Branco met José Afonso in around September 1970 after the former’s performance at the Foyer International des étudiantes in Paris, accompanied on guitar by Luís Pedro Faro26. Following this personal contact, through which Afonso also met Sérgio Godinho and Luís Cília, José Afonso had the opportunity to hear Branco’s most recent repertoire, whih fascinated him, at several joint performances27. José Afonso, partly motivated by his contractual obligations to Orfeu for finding new artists to record, returned to Portugal with some demo recordings by José Mário Branco and Sérgio Godinho with the prospect of them being signed by Arnaldo Trindade28; however, they ended up signing with the record company Sassetti. José Mário Branco’s first LP, recorded around February / March 1971, received greater financial support compared to his previous recordings, which allowed him to further elaborate the sonic (and, in his words, sonoplastic) component of the songs through the multiple technical capabilities of the recording studio29.

José Mário, after a survey of other musicians over which studio would provide the best quality/price ratio, decided to record his LP at the Château d’Hérouville, located on the outskirts of Paris, and owned by Michel Magne, a well-known film music composer. Magne had set up S.E.M.M. (Société d’Enregistrement Michel Magne) in November 1969 in order to commercially run the château’s first studio, called Strawberry Studio, and, in subsequent years, becoming the location for recording several leading French and British pop-rock acts (Pink Floyd, T. Rex, Elton John, etc.)30. At the time of recording Mudam-se os Tempos and Cantigas do Maio, the studio had an 8-track recording capacity, with sound technician Gilles Sallé responsible for recording these LPs. On his April 1971 trip to Paris, accompanying the musician Francisco Fanhais on his escape into exile in France, José Afonso met José Mário Branco to discuss preparations for Cantigas do Maio31. José Mário Branco’s abilities as an arranger, already demonstrated by Mudam-se os Tempos, Mudam-se as Vontades, corresponded to the drive Afonso had felt since the 1960s over diversifying the instrumental base of his recorded repertoire. After an important recording sequence in which he was accompanied only on guitar by Rui Pato, Afonso began diversifying the arrangements of his repertoire on the LP Contos Velhos Rumos Novos, published by Orfeu in 1969. In this LP, he introduced instruments such as the horn, marimbas and drums, even though these were, in his words, used in the “most dishonest possible” way as they lacked preparation prior to recording32.

Given the representative relationship between Orfeu and several foreign labels, José Afonso would record his subsequent LP, Traz Outro Amigo Também (1970), at the Pye Records studios in London. This began his practice of recording albums abroad, partially stimulated by what he described as the deficiencies in the sound quality of recording facilities in Portugal. In London, Afonso personally contacted exiled Brazilian musicians Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, whose work contributed to his later investment in better preparing the instrumental support of his songs:

In fact, what I wanted was to free myself from certain vices that exist in my songs, certain naiveties. (…) I would like to be able to do here, together with others, what Edu Lobo, Caetano Veloso or Gilberto Gil did (…). What I want is to improve my things, from a musical point of view, above all. Give them a richer musical support33.

The preparation for the next José Afonso LP, produced by José Mário Branco, involved face-to-face meetings and correspondence, with José Mário letting himself be “inhabited by those songs” for “a few months”34, songs which Afonso said he had already written “three years or more ago”35. The recording of Cantigas do Maio took place between October 11th and November 4th, 1971 with the participation of some studio musicians with whom José Mário Branco had already worked, among them percussionist Michel Delaporte and bassist Christian Padovan, while also including the participation of Francisco Fanhais and Carlos Correia (Bóris), with the latter responsible for preparing the guitar accompaniments to some of the songs. This experience would profoundly reconfigure José Afonso’s musical output in widening the breadth of his arrangements. Branco would make a particularly important input to sonic (and, in some cases, structural) reconfigurations of several songs, including Grândola, Vila Morena, which was initially accompanied by guitar. José Mário, listening to the song and inspired by reminiscences of his trips to the Alentejo as a young man, convinced José Afonso to give “a real Alentejo feel” to the structure of the verses and the sound of the song, including the inversion of stanzas typical of the Alentejo’s cante, a traditional genre, and the emulation of its choral structure, including the introduction of the ponto, the alto (sung by José Afonso) and the choir (sung by Branco, Fanhais and Correia)36.

José Afonso and José Mário Branco’s interest in traditional music was markedly influenced by the ethnographic work of Michel Giacometti and the composer Fernando Lopes-Graça, which they understood as a subversion of the cultural models proposed by the state institutions of the Salazar regime, illustrating a non-typified musical diversity in the ways of singing, the instruments, their tunings, the themes addressed, and so forth. According to several musicians and intellectuals of this period, the Portuguese traditional music recorded and disseminated by Giacometti and Lopes-Graça contained, in its counter-hegemonic dimension37, the potential for political resistance by fostering a diverse and alternative vision to the regime’s idea about the supposed “integrity” of the Portuguese people.

In order to simulate the sound of the Alentejo peasant choirs “embraced along the road” at the end of a day’s work38, the four musicians recorded, at night and outside the studio, over a rhythmic reference39, the steps that would mark the tempo of Grândola, Vila Morena. According to José Mário, the final result were marked by a “technological error”, given how dragging the foot during the steps is indistinguishable from landing the foot, conveying the impression of having twice the initially intended slow tempo and often leading to the mistaken idea that the steps were that of a military march40. The albums Mudam-se os Tempos, Mudam-se as Vontades and Cantigas do Maio, published at the end of 1971, would receive substantial approval and make an impact in the mainstream press that promoted the universe of popular music in Portugal. Radio presenter José Manuel Nunes, at the release session for Mudam-se os Tempos and Romance de um dia na estrada, Sérgio Godinho’s first record, affirmed that these releases would finish the “baladeiros” (balladeers) phase and end the insipid recordings without instrumental and timbrical diversity – “orchestras appear, arrangements are made and Portuguese music seems to us to be in a starting phase”41.

The song would only be premiered live in 1972. Despite the first performance of the song in Música Velha in Grândola at the inauguration of an exhibition on neo-realist writer António Alves Redol in April 197242, it was only presented at a larger scale event at Burgo das Naçons in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain, on May 10th, with an audience mainly composed by students under the surveillance of the Spanish police. José Afonso’s tour of Spain during this period, at the invitation of the Galician musician Benedicto Garcia Villar, and the enthusiastic reception of Grândola, Vila Morena by the public, symptomatic of the oppositional impetus common to both dictatorships, would contribute to creating a strong bond between Afonso and the Galician region lasting through to his death.

A password for the revolution

At 00:20h of April 25th 1974, Grândola, Vila Morena was broadcast on the Limite radio program on the Portuguese catholic radio station Rádio Renascença. That moment would trigger a nationwide military operation that would swiftly culminate in a coup d’état ending 48 years of dictatorship in Portugal. The military operation would be engendered by a group of intermediate officers – captains, majors and lieutenants – organized as the MFA – the Armed Forces Movement, a structure set up in 1973 that reflected the unease the Colonial War was producing within the armed forces and intending to move towards changing the Portuguese political system through overthrowing the regime by force.

The use of radio signals was one of the most decisive aspects to the success of the tactical plan designed by Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho, senior responsible for the operational sector of the MFA Coordinating Committee. According to journalists Mercedes Guerreiro and Jean Lemâitre, who wrote a book about the song43, the decision to use songs broadcast on the radio as signals for launching military operations came from Navy officer Almada Contreiras, a telecommunications specialist. Weeks earlier, on vacation in Madrid, this MFA officer had learned of a book that explained how Salvador Allende’s supporters in Chile had arranged to radio a sequence of Carlos Gardel’s songs, in order to mobilize democratic forces in the event of a fascist coup. Contreiras then suggested to the MFA board that a Portuguese song might be played on the radio as a way of signalling the start of the operation44.

The choice and broadcasting of radio signals required Otelo’s particular attention, and it was decided to transmit two signals. According to Otelo, it was essential to choose a song symbolising the intention of the military and MFA officers agreed a song by José Afonso should be chosen. The song Venham Mais Cinco was suggested to the announcer João Paulo Dinis of Emissores Associados de Lisboa (EAL) but he advised that another song should be used, and one not by José Afonso, whose broadcast was unusual on EAL and might arouse suspicion45. Dinis proposed an alternative song, E Depois do Adeus, winner of that year’s Festival RTP da Canção46, performed by Paulo de Carvalho, and subsequently confirmed as the first signal to be broadcast during the evening of 24 April. E Depois do Adeus was a very popular song at that time, without any evident political content that might somehow expose the intentions of the military movement. For sending the second radio signal, which would confirm the launch of operations, Álvaro Guerra, a journalist from the newspaper República, was contacted, who, in turn, contacted fellow editor Carlos Albino, author of poems that were usually read on the radio show Limite, aired on Rádio Renascença. Albino arranged with Manuel Tomaz, the program’s sound designer and co-author, who requested the involvement of Leite Vasconcelos, also the program’s co-author and announcer, to record an edition to be broadcast that night that would include the second password. Otelo insisted on using a song by José Afonso, proposing Traz Outro Amigo Também or, alternatively, Venham Mais Cinco. The former, written before 1966 and included on the album with the same title recorded in Britain in 1970, reinforced the idea of ​​collective mobilization, being a tribute by José Afonso to his friend Miguel Ramos, a PCP militant who in 1936 had joined the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War. For the same reason, thus, the mobilizing power of the song, Venham Mais Cinco (Come Five More), recorded in 1973 in Paris, and included in the homonymous album, was another hypothesis able to characterize the action of the movement.

Censored internally by the catholic broadcaster, and given the risks of its broadcasting, the choice instead fell on Grândola, Vila Morena47 which, less than a month earlier, on 29 March, had generated a strong impact at the «Encontro da Canção Portuguesa» concert, organized by Casa da Imprensa at Coliseu dos Recreios. With the participation of several musicians and poets playing together for the first time, the event was marked by strong police surveillance and the intervention of censorship officials postponing the start of the show and prohibiting the performance of some songs and poems. The show’s finale would illustrate the political turmoil surrounding the entire event, with Grândola, Vila Morena emphatically sung by musicians and audience alike. Journalist João Paulo Guerra described the moment as a “collective act in which everyone (public and musicians) joined arms, swaying their bodies to the slow and grave rhythm of the Alentejo song”. In turn, the PIDE report detailed this moment, noting that:

Finally, José Afonso also sang. But first, all the artists joined their arms, and swayed their bodies from left to right, in which they were soon imitated by the audience. He sang “Grândola, Vila Morena” and “Milho Verde” and again “Grândola”, accompanied by the audience, who shouted, we believe intentionally, the stanza “the people are the ones who command the most”. The ending can be considered apotheotic with the lights focused on both the artists and the audience48.

The April 24th edition of the newspaper República carried an appeal to listen to Limite. At the agreed time, Grândola was broadcast, preceded by the reading of its initial stanza. The movement was irreversible and impacted swiftly on the majority of the population of Lisbon and other cities across the country. Defying military orders, and as soon as they became aware of the operations, thousands took to the streets, demonstrating their eagerness and desire to express the feeling of what it was, in short, to be “free”. In just a few hours, the main leaders and figures of the Estado Novo had been overthrown, giving way to a complex and troubled revolutionary process, the Carnation Revolution. In less than a week, and already with the support and action of several popular movements that emerged in the great demonstrations of May 1st staged throughout the country, the main symbols of the old regime were eliminated and the leaders of countless institutions were fired.

The people are the ones who command the most

In the days following 25th April, Grândola, Vila Morena was indispensable to the manifestations of enthusiasm and effusiveness with which the military coup was celebrated, culminating in the intense popular participation in the celebrations of the 1st of May – the first Labour Day celebrated as a national holiday. The press highlighted49 how, from north to south, the celebrations of freedom featured cries of “Victory, victory”, under the slogan “The people united will never be defeated”50, accompanied by the sound of philharmonic bands and thousands of people in the streets singing the national anthem and Grândola, Vila Morena. After decades of censorship and restrictions on freedom of expression, the April 25th revolution triggered a series of changes in the management boards of the media, which proved decisive to reconfiguring the perception of political music among the general public. Throughout the revolutionary period, the general press, radio and television stations definitively opened their doors to the until then “forbidden” protest singers and political songs quickly took up a dominant space in the media. Several press organizations then highlighted the instrumental role played by Grândola, Vila Morena in the military coup, designating it the “freedom password”, “freedom song” or “revolution anthem”, with José Afonso acclaimed as a “poet of the revolution”51. In his first comments to Portuguese television after the coup, the musician emphasized his satisfaction at the uses made of his song, stating that Grândola had already been “a stimulating factor for the emotional gathering of people”52.

In a Jornal de Notícias article, philologist Arnaldo Saraiva noted that, in just under a week, a series of symbols were already attached to the revolutionary events53, highlighting the various slogans repeated “in the street, in the press, on the radio and on television” as well as the role of Grândola, Vila Morena as an “engine of thoughts and behavior”. For example, on April 30, the Diário de Lisboa newspaper reported that around 5,000 people roamed the streets in Grândola, shouting slogans and spontaneously replacing the toponymy associated with the Estado Novo, with the main garden renamed “Jardim 1º de Maio” and Rua Salazar renamed after Afonso (Rua José Afonso)54.

That same day, at Portela airport (Lisbon), a crowd, including José Afonso and other musicians, journalists and politicians, awaited the arrival of a plane from Paris with dozens of political exiles, including several PCP leaders, including its general secretary Álvaro Cunhal, alongside the musicians José Mário Branco and Luís Cília. The meeting between the singers who were in Portugal with those returning from exile, broadcast on television, was described by the journalists present as a symbolic, emotional and warm moment, with hugs and celebrations that culminated in a joint choral singing of Grândola, Vila Morena55. Days later, on May 5, at the Palácio de Cristal in Oporto, the 1st Free Meeting of Popular Song took place with many musicians singing for the first time on Portuguese soil with those returning from exile. At the beginning and at the end of the event, Grândola would be sung by all the musicians and by the thousands of people present. Broadcast live by Emissora ​​Nacional (the national broadcaster), a radio station that had been a key Estado Novo propaganda instrument, the announcers highlighted the symbolism of the moment, stressing that Grândola had been “in everything and for everything, transformed into an authentic song of freedom”56. Throughout the revolutionary period, the song would be used in the most varied contexts, from singing sessions promoted by popular communities and associations, in military barracks and MFA initiatives (such as the Cultural Dynamization Campaigns) and, above all, at various moments of revolutionary action, such as strikes, demonstrations, occupations of agricultural land and factories to which José Afonso and other singers were constantly invited. According to Irene Pimentel, José Afonso eventually realized the heightened importance of the song’s meaning during the course of events when the revolution seemed threatened with “Grândola being sung in the moments of greatest danger or enthusiasm”57, with Afonso recognizing that these moments had contributed to the transformation of Grândola into an anthem.

Although the song was appropriated as an anthem by various political circles on the left, José Afonso considered the turn of events during the revolutionary period pointed to a tendency towards the greater influence of organized party structures, fearing that these parties would stifle the growing “participation in the sense of popular self-organization”, which impressed him and he identified with58. Without party affiliation, but close to organizations and movements that disputed the hegemony of the PCP, this would lead to PCP militants criticizing José Afonso’s political positions in the press59.

In 1976, the song was adopted by Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho as an anthem for his campaign for that year’s presidential elections, for which he had the support of various organizations on the radical left and, above all, the public support of José Afonso, who sang Grândola by his side on several occasions. However, there was also an attempt to appropriate the song by the right-wing, which led José Afonso to distance himself in a strongly critical way from this situation. Such a position emerges, for example, in his reaction to usage of Grândola by the social liberal Popular Democratic Party (PPD), writing the following clarification note in May 1975:

Having read in the daily newspapers the news that, during a picnic rally, promoted on the 11th by the PPD, the song “Grândola Vila Morena” was sung in choir, I hereby reaffirm that, although I consider the song detached from any idea of authorship, I wrote it (about 12 years ago) without imagining any abusive singing appropriation by groups linked to capital of this or any other country. I therefore consider it abuse or shamelessness given the popular characteristics with which it was “used” at the beginning of its history as a song, in environments and situations of struggle that the same individuals who designate to represent them to the National Constituent Assembly, defenders of fascist censorship and continuators of the colonial order, use it to throw dust in the eyes of the unwary.

Lisbon, 14 May 1975. Respectfully, José Afonso.

In the following years, Grândola would be indexed to memories of the revolution and perceived as a symbol of the conquered freedom, until today performed at the commemorations of 25th April 1974 held in Portugal and in other countries.

New versions, new uses

The transformation of Grândola into an anthem of the Portuguese revolution was also reflected in the various versions emerging in the Portuguese record market over the revolutionary period. The hegemony of the protest singer repertoire on Portuguese radio and television during this period, as well as the accentuation of derogatory speeches in the generalist and specialized press in relation to genres such as fado and the so-called “música ligeira” (literally, light music)60, which became connoted with the deposed Estado Novo regime, resulted in the decreasing popularity of several musicians and artists who starred on the main record labels prior to the revolution. These labels were now faced with a “competitive market and the need to create musical alternatives associated with new commercial strategies”61, thus triggering the music industry’s interest in politically charged music. In the case of Grândola, widely broadcasted on the radio, the song retained intense media exposure, which led to the publication of dozens of versions in Portugal, recorded in various musical genres, including choral groups, Alentejo singing groups and regional choirs, orchestras, philharmonic bands and military bands, electric ensembles, among others. However, some versions of Grândola would also be recorded by fado and “música ligeira” singers, several of them connoted with the previous regime, and which in this way also sought to reconcile themselves with the new social and political paradigm. For example, the versions by singer Roberto Leal and fado singers Maria da Fé and Amália Rodrigues received criticism from some press sources [e.g., the magazine Mundo da Canção] that perceived these releases as editorial strategies of commercial opportunism. 

Nevertheless, the perception of the song’s role and its extensive dissemination led to its international projection, which would further confirm its status as the “anthem of the Portuguese revolution” and consolidate José Afonso as one of its main symbols. Years later, the musician would recognize how Grândola ended up influencing the way in which the Portuguese revolution was perceived internationally, referring to the uses of the song by foreign political organizations62. In as early as September 1974, the Fête de L’Humanité in France was dedicated to 25th April, highlighting the theme of “victory over fascism in Portugal”, inviting José Afonso and the singer Luís Cília to perform, and with Grândola, Vila Morena being one of the songs selected for the album Chants de lutte et d’espoir published by the French Radio and Television communist cell, which would also feature musicians from Vietnam, Chile, Spain, Brazil and Greece. Over the following years, José Afonso would be invited to participate in various political events in Angola, Mozambique as well as several European countries, participating also in various political song festivals, including the Festival des Politischen Liedes in 1975, organized in East Berlin, which would publish a single with the recording of his live performance of the songs Grândola, Vila Morena and Natal dos Simples.

Furthermore, part of José Afonso’s recorded output was released in these countries, and the album Cantigas do Maio, although originally published in 1971, was subject to several foreign reissues, with their titles and covers highlighting the song Grândola, Vila Morena and the Portuguese revolution. Some examples include the release by the French label Le Chant du Monde, with a cover illustrated by a photograph of several soldiers with carnations during the 25th April revolution; that by the Italian publisher Zodiaco, which renamed the album Portogallo 25 Aprile José Afonso Grândola Vila Morena; and the German edition, entitled Grândola, Vila Morena, with a poster commemorating the revolution on the cover; also, in 1976, a record in honour of José Afonso entitled Grândola, Lieder aus Portugal (Grândola, songs from Portugal), with a compilation of his songs, was released in the GDR. Still today, the impact of José Afonso’s musical work and the importance of Grândola is reflected in the number of versions of his songs recorded and published outside Portugal, confirming José Afonso as one of the most internationally recorded Portuguese musicians. In recent decades, versions of Grândola appeared in several countries, recorded in different languages and with different musical approaches, such as, among others, the versions by Aparcoa (Chile, 1975); Franz Josef Degenhardt (Germany, 1975); Orkest de Volharding (Netherlands, 1980); Brita Papini and Maria Ahlström (Sweden; 1981); Charlie Haden and Carla Bley (USA; 1983); Agit-Prop (Finland, 1995); Betagarri (Basque Country, 1997); Pascal Comelade and Bel Canto Orchestra (France, 2000); Reincidentes (Galicia, 2013).

In Brazil, a Portuguese-speaking country, versions by Nara Leão, as well as by Paula Ribas and Luís N’Gambi, recorded during the Portuguese revolutionary period and during the military dictatorship in Brazil, became popular, presented as the “new password of liberated Portugal”. In more recent years, the song took on particular significance in the Brazilian rock universe, with a version by the group 365, published in 1986, to the most recent versions by groups such as Autoramas (2009) or Asteróides Trio (2013). In 2018, the Brazilian punk band Garotos Podres recorded the EP Canções da Resistência, symbolically made available to the public at 00:20 on April 26, which included a version of Grândola, Vila Morena. The band members justified their version as part of their resistance against what they deemed the 2016 Fascist Coup and the rupture of democracy in Brazil verified during Jair Bolsonaro’s campaign for the presidency in 2018, stating that:

We recorded this song because we believe it continues to be the password for the struggle of all those thirsting for justice. “Grândola, Vila Morena” is much more than a Portuguese song. By symbolizing the perennial and universal values of those who fight for a fraternal, solidary, egalitarian and democratic society, “Grândola, Vila Morena” is a universal song63.

Its various uses, on an international level, reinforce the song’s symbolic character as an anthem that appeals to freedom and fraternity, transcending its close connection to the fall of the most enduring dictatorship in Western Europe, and, at the same time, given its historical significance, serving as a vehicle for contesting new forms of authoritarianism in different parts of the globe.

To hell with the Troika!

If, as we have seen, the meanings attributed to Grândola, Vila Morena referred partially to its symbolism in the recent history of Portugal, by 2014, forty years after the revolution, more than scrutinizing its symbolism within the 25th April commemorations, Grândola, Vila Morena was recalled out its significance for use in the challenges made to the austerity policies enacted in the wake of the global economic crisis of 2008, which would be marked by some of the most significant demonstrations and protest actions since the revolutionary period. A year earlier, on 15 February 2013, then Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho was speaking at the Assembly of the Republic about the Troika’s intervention in Portugal, the entity responsible for negotiating the conditions of Portugal’s financial rescue and made up of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. A few seconds after the beginning of the speech, Passos Coelho is interrupted by a group of about 40 people present in the Assembly’s galleries, who together           begin singing Grândola, Vila Morena. The attitude, susceptible to framing as civil disobedience, provoked the reaction of the Assembly President, who told people to “retreat or be silent”, under the legal pretext of banning public demonstrations in the chamber. After a few moments while the song continued to echo as the demonstrators left, Passos Coelho resumed his speech but not first without pointing out: “Of all the ways a session can be interrupted, this seems significantly the most tasteful”. In fact, although this comment by the Portuguese Prime Minister, in a way “praising” the form of protest used to interrupt his own speech, might be understood by the consensual historical symbolic importance of the song, the singing of Grândola by the protesters highlighted not only its historical meaning but, above all, its use as an instrument and form of struggle for a desired social change in the present.

In the months following this episode, successive protest actions took place, with the collective singing of Grândola against government members becoming regular, which led the media to term them “Grandoladas”. Among organized demonstrations or more or less spontaneous protest actions, which took place above all when a member of the government attended official events, the singing of Grândola, Vila Morena became the common denominator, establishing itself as the high point of the demonstrations that took place in Portugal during the early 2010s. The impact of “Grandoladas” during the so-called “financial crisis” ended up crossing borders, with especially the Portuguese and Spanish media highlighting the use of the song in various international contexts of protest or solidarity as happened in 2013 during the popular occupation in Puertas del Sol in Madrid and in other regions of Spain, organized following demonstrations by the 15M Civic Movement, where several groups of people also gathered to sing Grândola as a symbol of protest against the Spanish government’s austerity measures64.

On the other hand, the song also had more recent reinterpretations as happened in Brussels in 2016, when sung in unison during a demonstration of solidarity and appeal for peace following the bomb attacks that took place in that city. Family members of the victims of the attack, Portuguese emigrants and other solidarity organizations that organized the vigil, referred above all to the character of unity, friendship and freedom represented by the song, moving on from a protest call for social change to an appeal for peace and brotherhood65.


Since its origins, as a poem in honour of the workers who, with their efforts, their spirit of brotherhood and their intelligence, dynamically ran a small association in Grândola, José Afonso evoked the environment of cultural intervention, which was simultaneously political, of the resistance in the Alentejo region. Grândola, Vila Morena has been the object of various uses and resignifications over the years. The song immediately conveyed a message of equality, fraternity and popular power, which already manifested itself musically in its first recorded version in 1971 with the appeal to collective singing through its emulation of the singing practices of the Alentejo choral groups. Both the poem’s utopian proposal and its musical interpretation (repetitive, simple, with paused singing) and respective choreographic staging (arms linked and tempo marked by steps) constituted stimuli for its collective appropriation.

Before 1974, it was perceived as a song of resistance to the dictatorship by the most politically conscious sectors, a common understanding that was shared with formal and informal groups of anti-Franco militants from different regions of Spain. Its choice as a radio password confirming the start of the military operations that toppled the dictatorial regime on April 25, 1974, was particularly important for its subsequent perception in Portugal and internationally as the “anthem of the Portuguese revolution”. During the 1974/75 revolutionary process, the song gained outstanding symbolism as the representation of values not only of resistance and struggle but also of freedom and democracy, having even been the target of attempts at political appropriation by forces opposite to the convictions and the political ideas of José Afonso himself. Recorded in dozens of versions and published in several countries, in different languages and musical genres, the multiple uses of Grândola, Vila Morena to this day denote the perpetuity of its challenging potential, something well expressed in demonstrations in several European cities against the austerity policies during the 2008 economic crisis as well as its usage as an evocative and mobilizing song of unity and peace.




  1. Fernando Rosas, Salazar e o poder, Lisbon, Tinta da China, 2012 and Fernando Rosas, “O Estado Novo”, in História de Portugal, dir. José Mattoso, vol. VII, Lisbon, Círculo de Leitores, 1994.
  2. Irene Pimentel, José Afonso, Lisbon, Temas e Debates/Cìrculo de Leitores, 2010, p. 110.
  3. Mid-twentieth century artistic current, with a markedly Marxist ideological character and aligned with the currents of Soviet socialist realism, which had ramifications in various forms of art: literature, cinema, painting and music.
  4. Fernando Lopes-Graça, Marchas, Danças e Canções, Lisbon, Seara Nova, 1946.
  5. Canção de Coimbra represents a generic term designating “a diverse set of musical genres and practices associated mainly with the academic sociability traditions of the University of Coimbra”, including the so-called Fado de Coimbra (Coimbra’s fado), a musical tradition that emerged out of the fado of Lisbon between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Gaining its consolidation as an autonomous genre, the Canção de Coimbra was reconfigured in the 1920s and 1930s through the introduction of stylized versions of regional musical traditions and popular songs. In the 1940s and 1950s, it became increasingly characterized for its sentimental and nostalgic lyrics and vocal style coupled with simple harmonic accompaniment by the Portuguese guitar. Redactorial team, “Canção de Coimbra”, in Enciclopédia da Música em Portugal no Século XX, edited by Salwa Castelo-Branco, Círculo de Leitores/Temas e Debates, Lisbon 2010.
  6. The Tuna and the Academic Orfeon are two types of musical ensembles configured within the context of the academic traditions of Portuguese universities. “Tuna” usually refers to a group of university students who wear academic attire and play instruments, usually chordophones (classical guitar, Portuguese guitar or the cavaquinho) and percussion (drums, tambourine), whose repertoire is usually presented in serenades. The Orfeon refers to an academic choral group, with the Academic Orfeon of Coimbra being the oldest academic choir in Portugal.
  7. João Madeira, “Uma primavera turbulenta”, in Humberto Delgado: As eleições de 1958, coord. Iva Delgado, Carlos Pacheco e Telmo Faria, Lisbon, Veja, 1998, pp 27-62.
  8. D.L. Raby, O DRIL (1959-61). Experiência única na Oposição ao Estado Novo, Penélope, 16, 1995, pp 63-86.
  9. The term balada, which was not directly related with contemporary anglo-american folk practices and its protagonists, was applied by José Afonso to distinguish some of his songs from the standard Coimbra’s song repertoire, especially fado. These songs were characterized by his abandoning of the Portuguese guitar with the singing accompanied by the classical guitar to emphasize “the meaning of the text, which became central to the configuration of the melody” given its commonly political character. António Tilly, “Balada”, in Enciclopédia da Música em Portugal no Século XX, edited by Salwa Castelo-Branco, Círculo de Leitores/Temas e Debates, Lisbon 2010.
  10. “Nova grande jornada de luta pela Paz. O povo de Grândola levanta-se em defesa dos partidários da Paz”, Avante!, VI series, 174, January 1953.
  11. IANTT, PIDE-DGS, PC 22/52
  12. Interview with Hélder Costa, Lisbon, 31 July 2012.
  13. SMFOG’s archive, Board minutes book from 30th January 1956 to 6th May 1965. Minutes from 24th, 30th April and 7th May 1963.
  14. Document reproduced by José A. Salvador, Zeca Afonso: Livra-te do medo, Porto Editora, Lisbon 2014, p. 96.
  15. Leaflet reproduced in Irene Flunser Pimentel, Fotobiografia de José Afonso, Temas e Debates/Círculo de Leitores, Lisbon 2010, p. 74.
  16. According to Hélder Costa, O Saudoso tempo do Fascismo, s.l., Parvoíces, 2005, p. 75.
  17. Quotation in José A. Salvador, Zeca Afonso: Livra-te do medo, Porto Editora, Lisbon 2014, p. 100
  18. According to Alcides Bizarro, José Afonso – O Tempo e o Modo, Câmara Municipal de Grândola, 2019.
  19. Fados e canções do Alvim, interview by Carolina Falcão published on the website Rua de Baixo (https://www.ruadebaixo.com/fados-e-cancoes-do-alvim.html)
  20. José Afonso, Cantares. Nova Realidade, Lisbon 1966
  21. José Afonso, Cantares. SCIP – AA EE de Lisboa, Lisbon 1967
  22. This book also mentions the existence of another melody for the same text composed by members of SMFOG, of which there aren’t any known records.
  23. Orfeu was a label owned by Arnaldo Trindade, founded in Oporto in 1956. Trindade was responsible for publishing several pivotal records by Portuguese protest singers. José Afonso signed a contract with the company in 1968 that obliged him to record one album per year while in the following years his connection to Orfeu would extend to include the role of music consultant. He left Orfeu in 1981 after signing to Sassetti.
  24. Keith Negus, Producing Pop: Culture and Conflict in the Popular Music Industry, Edward Arnold, London & New York 1992, p. 87.
  25. Virgil Moorefield, The Producer as Composer: Shaping the Sounds of Popular Music, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA 2005, p. 50.
  26. José Mário Branco at the conference De não sabes o que me espera: nos 90 anos de José Afonso, held on June 22, 2019 at the Museu da Música Portuguesa, Estoril / Interview with Luís Pedro Faro by Hugo Castro and Ricardo Andrade, January 9, 2020, Oeiras.
  27. Audio recording of the interview José Afonso gave to Cáceres Monteiro and Daniel Ricardo, published in the Cena 7 supplement of the newspaper A Capital, on December 26, 1970.
  28. Arnaldo Trindade, in an interview with Hugo Castro, on March 2, 2016, Porto.
  29. Adelino Gomes, “José Mário Branco: uma voz de mudança”, Flama, January 7, 1972.
  30. Yann Le Quellec et al, Les Amants d’Hérouville: Une histoire vraie, Delcourt, Paris 2021
  31. Francisco Fanhais at the conference De não saber o que me espera: nos 90 anos de José Afonso, held on June 22, 2019 at the Museu da Música Portuguesa, Estoril.
  32. Audio recording of the interview by José Afonso given to Cáceres Monteiro and Daniel Ricardo, published in the Cena 7 supplement of newspaper A Capital, on December 26, 1970.
  33. Ibidem.
  34. José Mário Branco at the conference De não saber o que me espera: nos 90 anos de José Afonso, held on June 22, 2019 at the Museu da Música Portuguesa, Estoril.
  35. Manuel, Alexandre, “José Afonso: não quero ser vedeta”, Flama, December 10, 1971.
  36. According to José Mário Branco, in an audition session with Hugo Castro and Ricardo Andrade, September 11, 2017, at NOVA FCSH.
  37. Mário Vieira de Carvalho, Lopes-Graça e a modernidade musical, Guerra e Paz, Lisbon 2017.
  38. According to José Mário Branco on the website of the Observatório da Canção de Protesto, section Histórias de Estrada (https://ocprotesto.org/historias-de-estrada-jose-mario-branco/).
  39. According to José Mário Branco in an interview given to José A. Salvador, José Afonso’s main vocal track had already been put into tape before the recording of the steps. José A. Salvador, Zeca Afonso: Livra-te do medo, Porto Editora, Lisbon 2014.
  40. According to José Mário Branco on the website of the Observatório da Canção de Protesto, section Histórias de Estrada (https://ocprotesto.org/historias-de-estrada-jose-mario-branco/).
  41. Radio show Página Um, Rádio Renascença, November 26, 1971
  42. According to testimony by A. Mota Redol in the testimonial session “Grândola, Geography of a song”, held at the Encontro da Canção de Protesto, organized by the Observatório da Canção de Protesto between 10 and 12 September 2021 in Grândola, Portugal.
  43. Mercedes Guerreiro and Jean Lemâitre, Grândola Vila Morena: A Canção da Liberdade, Colibri, Lisboa 2014.
  44. Ibid, pp. 19-20.
  45. Ibid, p. 29.
  46. Festival held since 1964, with the aim of selecting a song for the yearly Eurovision Song Contest.
  47. Mercedes Guerreiro e Jean Lemâitre, Grândola Vila Morena: A Canção da Liberdade, Colibri, Lisbon 2014, pp. 28-29.
  48. «Relatório do I Encontro da Canção Portuguesa, 30 de Março de 1974, Secretaria de Estado da Informação e do Turismo, Direcção-Geral da Cultura Popular e Espectáculos».
  49. Most of the main Portuguese press highlighted the first 1st of May celebrations after the coup. Several contemporary reports and articles about this major event can be found in newspapers such as República, A Capital, Diário Popular, Diário de Notícias, O Século, Diário de Lisboa and Jornal de Notícias, as well as in magazines such as O Século Ilustrado, Flama and Vida Mundial, among others.
  50. The use of this slogan was inspired by its popularity during Salvador Allende’s “Unidad Popular” period in Chile (1970-1973).
  51. This designation appears, for example, in the newspaper Diário Popular, on May 2, 1974.
  52. Statements by José Afonso to RTP, on April 30, 1974. Available here: https://arquivos.rtp.pt/conteudos/regresso-de-jose-mario-branco/#sthash.FVzj4hnZ.dpbs
  53. Arnaldo Saraiva, “O povo unido jamais será vencido”, Jornal de Notícias, May 9, 1974.
  54. “Grândola suprime nomes de fascistas nas suas artérias”, Diário de Lisboa, April 30, 1974.
  55. Video available here: https://arquivos.rtp.pt/conteudos/regresso-de-jose-mario-branco/#sthash.w7WAqVDw.dpbs
  56. Audio recording available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0g_pK268yg&t=1480s&ab_channel=M%C3%A1rioLima
  57. Statements by José Afonso reproduced in Irene Flunser Pimentel, Fotobiografia de José Afonso, Temas e Debates/Círculo de Leitores, Lisbon 2010, p. 131.
  58. Fernando Cascais, “José Afonso: uma posição de coerência”, Flama, 7 June 1974.
  59. Irene Flunser Pimentel, Fotobiografia de José Afonso, Temas e Debates/Círculo de Leitores, Lisbon 2010, p. 125
  60. The repertoire usually identified with this category was frequently performed by singers with formal training, often with orchestral accompaniment, having been widely promoted by the Emissora Nacional. The themes of the lyrics were considered by their detractors as futile and superficial, often focusing on the valorization of romantic love, patriotic sentiment and religious devotion, aspects in tune with the political and moral ideals of the Estado Novo. Pedro Russo Moreira, Rui Cidra, and Salwa El-Shawan Castelo-Branco, “Música Ligeira”, in Enciclopédia da Música em Portugal no Século XX, edited by Salwa El-Shawan Castelo-Branco, Círculo de Leitores/Temas e Debates, Lisboa 2010.
  61. Leonor Losa, “Indústria Fonográfica”, in Enciclopédia da Música em Portugal no Século XX, edited by Salwa Castelo-Branco, Círculo de Leitores/Temas e Debates,  Lisbon 2010.
  62. José A. Salvador, Zeca Afonso: Livra-te do medo, Porto Editora, Lisbon 2014
  63. Quotation extracted from: http://www.submundodosom.com.br/2018/04/garotos-podres-e-as-cancoes-de.html.
  64. The uses of Grândola, Vila Morena in various demonstrations against austerity measures imposed by the Spanish government were highlighted in the Portuguese and Spanish media, such as in the Spanish newspaper El País ( https://elpais.com/politica/ 2013/04/25/actualidad/1366918665_207930.html ) and the Portuguese radio staton TSF ( https://www.tsf.pt/internacional/europa/granola-vila-morena-com-sotaque-castelhano-video-3057894.html ). Several amateur videos capturing these uses can also be found in YouTube (eg. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPLFOXHkJ5E&ab_channel=MiguelMartins ).
  65. The collective singing of Grândola, Vila Morena during a demonstration of solidarity with the victims was also highlighted by some Portuguese press, as shown as in this television news report: https://www.cmjornal.pt/multimedia/videos/ detail/brussels-try-to-return-to-normality