Os Faíscas

Faíscas were the first Portuguese punk rock band, formed in Lisbon, in 1977, by Paulo Pedro Gonçalves, Pedro Ayres Magalhães, Jorge Lee and Emanuel Ramalho.

They introduced an innovative musical style to Portugal, based on the power of reducing rock to two or three essential chords. They had a short-lived stint, ending their activity in 1979, with just a mock-up recording on Rádio Comercial.

Formation and early days
The arrival of punk music in Portugal was the responsibility of radio broadcaster António Sérgio who, after April 25th, started playing imported records on Rádio Renascença. Enthusiastic about the simplicity of the new musical style, he released a pirated album and, despite there being no established punk movement, decided to produce the first Portuguese revolutionary band. He invited young people Paulo Pedro Gonçalves ‘aka Rocky Tango–Rock Assassino’ (voice and guitar), Jorge Lee ‘aka Finuras Punhos de Renda’ (guitar), Pedro Ayres Magalhães ‘aka Dedos de Tubarão’ (bass) and Emanuel Ramalho ‘aka Gato Dynamite–Flash Gordon’ (drums) to form Os Faíscas. The decision to choose pseudonyms, hiding their real names, revealed the band’s desire to go against normality. The young musicians were influenced by the punk movement and culture that emerged in the seventies in England and the United States and which was based on a strong challenge to the capitalist system. The four boys from Lisbon imported to Portugal the counterculture values initiated by the hippie movement in the sixties and which punk continued, but with some ideological differences.

Ephemeral career
Faíscas competed directly with Aqui d’el-Rock, also formed in 1977, and these two bands paved the way for other punk rock practitioners, such as Minas & Armadilhas, UHF or Xutos & Pontapés. Pedro Paulo Gonçalves reiterates the origin of punk in Portugal to his band:

Faíscas were the first Portuguese punk band. Aqui d’el-Rock appeared at around the same time but they were not a punk band. In England, at the time, they would have been considered pub rock like Dr. Feelgood or Ian Dury and The Kilburns. Faíscas had the attitude, the music, the lyrics, the image and the desire to overthrow the status quo. We had a punk following, a fanzine, we invaded Portuguese rock stages to let us play, we created situations of chaos, destruction and anarchy. Our motto was ‘break the system’. We were true situationists.

They held their first concert on March 31, 1978 at the 1st festival of Música & Som magazine in which they played thirteen songs, some covers, and the unreleased “Não Perdes Pela Demora” and “Faca Na Barriga”. Several concerts followed at Brown’s nightclub and Bar É, in Lisbon. Under the guidance of road manager Zé Pedro (who would later form Xutos & Pontapés) Faíscas began organizing concerts at the Sociedade Filarmónica Estudantes de Apolo, creating the tradition of Saturday matinees, where they would have inspired the birth of other bands, if Xutos & Pontapés and UHF.

In the absence of punk bands to fill the first part, Faíscas created a parallel band called Jô Jô Benzovac & Os Rebeldes, as Pedro Gonçalves recalls: “We played a rock’n’roll set (Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis) then we left the stage, dressed some friends in our clothes, silk stockings, they came to the stage, took off their stockings, thanked the audience and we started the Faíscas set”. They did their own publicity by distributing fanzines with information about the band, since the rock music that was made in the world was not publicized by radio, newspapers and television.

The general lack of attention to what was happening with the new genre of music sung in Portuguese was such that there are no photographic records of the concerts given by Faíscas nor audio records of their songs. They went on a small tour around the country, highlighting the concert on May 27, 1978, in Sabugal, in which they performed on stage a provocative attitude never before seen in Portugal. Without interest or support from publishers, the band ended its journey by giving its last concert on January 13, 1979 in the Apolo Students’ room in a show integrated into the celebrations of 25 years of rock n’roll.

All that was left to remember his activity was a model recorded on Rádio Comercial.

With the end of Faíscas, Paulo Pedro Gonçalves, Pedro Ayres Magalhães and Emanuel Ramalho decided not to give up on the dream that had brought them together and formed with three other musicians Corpo Diplomático, the first Portuguese new wave band. Ayres Magalhães and Pedro Gonçalves were behind the formation of Heróis do Mar, in 1981, which achieved enormous success in the 1980s.

Unfortunately we did not find sound recordings about this Portuguese Punk Rock band.

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Rui Xaruto
Rui Xaruto
6 June 2024 7:35 PM

O texto está muito bom, a foto é que está errada. Estes são os Xutos, no mesmo palco, no mesmo dia, no seu concerto de estreia (poucos minutos), durante o intervalo do último concerto dos Faíscas
Foto de José Paulo Ferro, tirada pouco depois das 3h da madrugada do dia 13 de janeiro de 1979.

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