Each of these elements are stll alive in current Portuguese music like the French Provencal influence in the folk music played at festivals in the northern part of the country, as well as the rock and jazz most prevalent in the larger cities. An addtional element is added by a wealth of singer-songwriters, most of whom spawned from the extremely political 'New Song' movement. This movement began rolling during the 1970's when the country threw off a thirty year dictatorship under Salazar, and was forced to withdraw from its colonies.
In Portugese folk music, there are a wide variety of instruments. Some of the most common include bagpipes, harmonicas, accordions, flutes, drums (adufes, bombos, caixas, pandeiros, sarroncas), and numerous percussion instruments (ferrinhos, genebres, reco-reco, trancanholas). However, Portugal is most well-known for its string instruments: violins, twelve-stringed "Portuguese guitar", and six variations of "viola-guitars" unkown to other European countries. Design, character, and tuning are unique to each one of the viola-guitars. The most well known is the small, four-stringed cavaquinho. The others have elaborate combinations of single, double, and even triple strings.
One of the common combinations of instruments is the zes-pereira. Comprised of a large bombo, a caixa, and a bagpipe or fife, these are often used to announce special occasions. Another tradition combination popular throughout the country is the rancho, made up of violins, guitars, clarinets, harmonicas and ferrinhos, later joined by the accodion.
The singers of Porgtugal are excellent. In every town there is an amateur choir. It is customary for someone to begin an acappella following a good meal, and others at the the table will join in. It not at all unusual, if you go to a fado performance, to find the enitre staff of the establishment taking part, from the owner to the person working the coatroom. To listen to a vocal ensaemble of three women from Manhouce, or a male choir from Alentejo is to hear genuinely popular...
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... Its work is full of uneven swayings and sudden changes of direction.
More recent folk music has come be known as Musica Popular, which owes its renewed popularity mainly to the singer-songwriters who dedicated themselves to it and musicians who have made records devoted to these unique folk instruments.
Among instrumentalists, perhaps the greatest guitarist Carlos Paredes. he explores bot the folk and classical sides of the Portuguese guitar, with surprising results. Another excellent instrumentalist is Julio Pereira, who began as a songwriter but became interested in traditional stringed instruments and has recently experimented to great effect in combining them with synthesisers, rhythm boxes and samplers in compostions insprired by folk tradion.
As examined here, it is clear that Portugal's history and music had great influences on one another, particularly during the transition period that occured when Portugal became a democracy, and discarded a thirty year dictatorship. It is also important to take note that traditional Portuguese music still lives on in contemporary Portuguese music.
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