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Irmãos Verdades with new work in “unique moment” of African music

The Irmãos Verdades have been on the road for more than 30 years, having taken their first steps with the emblematic Duo Ouro Negro, and this week they release a new album, at a time when African music is experiencing “a unique moment”.


"10 years ago it was unthinkable to do what is being done today. The intention is, in 10 years' time, to do things that are unthinkable today", the lead singer of the African music group, Gabi Fernandes, told the Lusa agency, regarding the launch of ninth album of originals, on Friday, in Lisbon.

The singer took on some of the path pioneered for African music to have the projection it has today, underlining the fact that this is "a Lusophone band", despite kizomba - a more Angolan musical genre - being its essence.

"Our roots overlap, because our intention is to spread African music around the world", he said, referring that these decades traveling through Portugal and much of the world showed them that there is no stage like in Africa.

"Africa is always Africa. It's where we feel at home", said the singer, of Cape Verdean origin, who had "the privilege" of learning from masters such as Paulino Vieira, Norberto Tavares, Raul Indipwo and several other "great names of African music".

From the early days of accompanying Duo Ouro Negro, the group gained "a great deal" and also an awareness of what people wanted to hear.

"Not long ago, African music had specific spaces and areas to play. It didn't play in everything that was radio, clubs, it wasn't in stores. When you wanted to listen to African music, you had to go to specific places and it was also with this idea that we projected the band Irmãos Verdades".

"We've been through a lot of sacrifices, we've played in places where, as a band, we were more than the audience", he recalled, classifying the ups and downs of "a school".

And he continued: "A few years ago, African culture was parallel to Portuguese culture, side by side, without meeting. Someone had to make a detour, without destroying the other".

Gabi Fernandes assumes herself as an "apologist for fusion", but as long as the types of music do not overlap or confuse.

"We have to follow the lineage of African music, because soon we will have great African singers singing music that is not African music, it is a music that has so much fusion that it will be confused with our roots", he warned.

The band's own composition "is a fusion" in the right measure, since it has elements and collaborators from Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Portugal, a true lusophony, as he likes to underline.

The band's new album of originals, which will be released on Friday, during a concert at Lisboa Ao Vivo, went on the market three days ago and the video for the first single "Te Amo" already has thousands of views.

But this work and the shows that are already taking place, as well as the tour that starts on Friday, also mark the return of the Irmãos Verdades to the stage, after the pandemic.

Gabi Fernandes recalled that this was the first African music group to play, alone, at the Coliseu dos Recreios in Lisbon. "We missed you a lot. We went more than two years without doing a single concert", he lamented.

The group took the opportunity to do another type of work in the field of music, but recognizes that it is on stage, with the audience, that they feel at home.

"It's very satisfying. We were dying to go on stage. The singers and artists are doing well and it's on stage. On stage we're at home," said the 58-year-old singer.

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