Portugal is an interesting and complex country and I didn't get anywhere near penetrating it, I felt, so no real travel report forthcoming this time. I'll share some stray impressions and pics though.
Car audio blaring: Reggaeton. Kizomba. Free jazz. Car audio demonstration at the Praca de Espanha market: Hip-hop. Street vendor's music: Funana, reigning supreme. Bollywood a distant second. A guy in the appartment opposite my hostel: Minimal techno. "Street" Art
I've travelled Europe from Dublin to Moscow and Lofoten to Naples, and I've never seen a country with as much grafitti as Portugal. Huge legal walls eveywhere, "street art galleries", exclusive hipster-minimal stores selling spray cans... and shitloads of illegal tags, paintings, defaced advertising, what have you. The more central and prestigious, the more grafitti, very sporadically cleaned off - as opposed to the pristinely kept street surfaces, cleaned off daily by huge crews. The picture above, incidentally, is from a seaside resort, but could just as well have been both the suburbs and the heart of Lisbon.
Actual, You Know, Streets
In Damaia, an African-dominated suburb next to Buraca of Son Systema fame (I resisted going there just for the photo op), I shopped for records at the HQ of label Sons D'Africa and the comparison with the hip and prestigious Bairro Alto was telling. Large swathes of Damaia are - like touristy Alfama in the city centre a thousand years earlier - permanentized slum, former shacks with added pavement, electricity, mortar and postboxes, retaining a labyrintine layout and touches of organic colony-building. Precisely the same values that makes Alfama and Bairro Alto attractive are here the hallmark of slum... Shaded courtyards, narrow picturesque alleys, tight neighbourhoods.
Honestly, which is the shabbier-looking of these two alleyways?
If you felt I was being to uncritical of life in squatter settlements in the last comment, at least I didn't have a drink at this place:
And a teaser track...
I've got shitloads of music, including videos once I figure out how to upload them, and that deserves posts of its own. As a teaser, though, here's some music from a country I've never considered before: Guinnea Bissau. It's a strangely beautiful track that seems to bring together African and Portugese sensibilities in a fascinating Créol way, but don't worry, there'll be plenty more modern Kizomba, Kuduro and Funana coming up shortly. Dupla di Forombal - Badjuda di Caió (MediaFire)