Brigada Victor Jara

Brigada Victor Jara is a Portuguese band created in 1975. It began as an informal group of young people from Coimbra and has become one of the most enduring and important groups of traditional Portuguese music. The group remains active, having released its most recent album, the compilation Ó Brigada, in 2015.

At first, the Brigade reproduced Portuguese and foreign songs of a revolutionary nature with which they participated in the MFA’s cultural dynamization campaigns. Named in memory of the Chilean singer of the same name, killed by the military after the Pinochet coup in Chile.

In 1977, they released the album Eito Fora – Cantares Regionales, which marks a new era in urban music inspired by regional music. The group that recorded the first album, edited by Mundo Novo (publisher associated with Caminho editorial), was formed by Né Ladeiras, Jorge Seabra, José Maria Vaz de Almeida, Amílcar Cardoso, Jorge Santos, João Ferreira and Joaquim Caixeiro.

In 1978, the group traveled outside Portugal for the first time to the Soviet Union, where it participated in the celebrations of the 25th of April.

The following album, Tamborileiro, was released in 1979. The following year, they performed at the International Festivals in Sokolov (Czechoslovakia) and Berlin (GDR). In Angola they perform in the celebrations of the 25th of April, in the Festa do “L’Unitá” (Italy) and in shows for Associations of Emigrants based in the Netherlands.

The album Quem Sai Aos Seus was released in 1981 through Vadeca. In 1982, the album Marcha dos Foliões was released. They receive the “Best Ensemble of the Year” award from Nova Gente magazine.

They made a tour in France that passed through the cities of Grenoble, Nice, Marseille and Tours, in 1983.

The following year, the album Contraluz was released. Vadeca launches the collection 10 Anos a Cantar Portugal. They return to France, invited by the France/Portuga Association, to perform in Pau, Tarbes, Toulouse and Bordeaux.

They celebrate their tenth anniversary with shows at the Teatro Académico de Gil Vicente (Coimbra) and at the Aula Magna in Lisbon, with the participation of GEFAC and the Orfeon Académico de Coimbra. They travel to Macau for the Commemorations of June 10, 1985. They perform in Bulgaria, at the International Youth Festival, and in Greece with shows in Larissa, Thessaloniki, Volos and Athens.

In 1986, at the invitation of the G.L.C., they performed in London with the show “A Raiz e o Tempo”. In Maputo (Mozambique) they participate in the International Music Festival “Festa Maio”.

During 1987, they toured the Netherlands with “A Raiz e o Tempo”, which went through Rotterdam, The Hague and Amsterdam. In Galicia, they participate in a tribute show to José Afonso. They travel to Santa Maria Island, in the Azores to participate in the International Festival “Maré De Agosto”.

In 1988 they participated in the “Fortnight of Portuguese Culture” in Grenoble (France) and in the celebrations of the 10th of June in Caracas (Venezuela). They go to the Azores where they give shows in Santa Maria and Pico. In December of that year, they performed again in Pau (France), at the invitation of the Associação França/Portugal.

In 1989, the LP Monte Formoso was released through MBP. They participated in the “XIII World Youth Festival” held in Pyongyang (North Korea). The show “Monte Formoso”, dedicated to José Afonso, had the collaboration of GEFAC and Companhia de Teatro Bonifrates.

In 1990 they performed in Paris during the celebrations of the 25th of April. They give several concerts in the Azores Archipelago and in December they participate in a show held in Ourense, Galicia.

They return to France, in 1991, for several concerts in the cities of Grenoble, Vienne and Saint Ettienne. They also travel to the Azores for various concerts and in July they play a concert in Moaña, Galicia.

During the year of 1992 they act in France, England, Wales and Canada. They participate in the 1st Noroeste Festival with concerts in Caminha and A Guarda. They still perform in Santiago de Compostela. In 1993 they traveled to the United Kingdom again to participate in festivals held in Beverley, Bradford, Bracknel and Glasgow.

They participate in the compilation Filhos da Madrugada, a tribute to José Afonso, published in 1994, and perform at Estádio de Alvalade in a concert with the other bands present in this compilation. They also participate in the recordings of Ópera do Bandoleiro together with the group Trigo Limpo-ACERT and the Brazilians Quinteto Violado. The album Contraluz is reissued on CD. In April, they participate in the concert of the Group of Guitars and Songs of Coimbra, held in the Great Auditorium of the CCB, on the occasion of the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the career of António Brojo and António Portugal. They operate in Madeira, Belgium and Macau.

In 1995, the album Danças e Folias was released. They perform live in Coimbra (Teatro Académio Gil Vicente and Festival José Afonso), Lisbon (Teatro São Luíz), Azores and Galicia. Editora Farol reissues the album Eito Fora on CD.

In 1996, the group performs at the closing of the Intercéltico Festival (Porto) where they receive an award for their 20 years of defending and disseminating Portuguese Traditional Music. They perform several shows in Spain, Azores and Madeira and also at the Portuguese Festival of Massachusetts, in the United States. The CD Monte Formoso is reissued by Farol.

They travel to Galicia several times, during 1997, to participate in Music Festivals, such as Liméns, San Miguel de Sarandon and Cangas do Morraço. In Alcañices they participate in the Treaty Commemorations. In August they are considered the best group participating in the Festival of Ile de Tathiou, in France. In August they travel to the Azores for a concert in Povoação (São Miguel Island).

In April 1998 they participated in a Festival in Ferrol, in A Coruña. They then participate in the Commemorations of the 10th of June, in Macau, where they perform three concerts. They perform in Italy, at the “Sete Sóis Sete Luas” and “Mundus” festivals, and in Spain at the Mondariz, Gexto (Bilbao) and Murcia festivals. In September they perform at Expo 98 in a show that included the participation of GEFAC.

In April 1999 they performed in Trento and Roveretto, Italy, on the occasion of “Trentino-Portogallo”. They also perform two concerts in Salvador da Bahia, as part of the commemorations of the 450th Anniversary of the City of Bahia and also perform, in October, on the occasion of the 64th Anniversary of the Casa de Portugal in São Paulo.

They celebrate their 25th anniversary in April 2000. They give a special concert at the Teatro Académico Gil Vicente (Coimbra) and receive the Medal of Cultural Merit awarded by the Coimbra City Council. The live double CD Por Sendas, Montes e Vales is released and the album Marcha dos Foliões is reissued.

Novas vos Trago is an album with the participation of Amélia Muge, Sérgio Godinho, Gaiteiros de Lisboa, João Afonso and Brigada Victor Jara, where two “romances” are performed, a genre of oral Portuguese music spread throughout the world. The group presents two versions of the Romance “Birth in Distant Lands”.

In 2001 they moved to France to perform at the Chorus Festival in Chaville and in the “Saison Culturelle” in Vanves. They perform at the “Músicas do Mundo” Festival in Sines and travel to Brazil, at the invitation of Casa de Portugal in São Paulo.

They travel to Spain in 2002 for performances in Madrid and Salamanca, the latter on the occasion of the European Capital of Culture.

They began 2003 with the recording of 12 songs live for the documentary Povo que Canta. They perform at the Intercéltico Festival (Porto) and in Arcos de Valdevez. In September 2003, during the Festa do Avante, they released a CD-Single with themes from their next album.

In 2004 they moved to France and in 2005 they performed at the Festival Músicas do Mundo in Sines and Mérida. They celebrate their 30th Anniversary with a show at the Teatro Académico de Gil Vicente, in Coimbra.

In October 2006, the album Ceia Louca was released, with special guest appearances by Lena d’Água, Jorge Palma, Manuela Azevedo, Carlos Medeiros, Vitorino Salomé, Segui-me à Capela, Cristina Branco, Rita Marques, Janita Salomé and Carlos do Carmo.

In 2007, the Municipality of Amadora awarded the José Afonso Prize to Brigada Victor Jara with the album Ceia Louca.

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