The Latymer School History Magazine - page 4

deterred. In 1973 he made a
‘pilgrimage’ around Portugal
playing at various locations,
his concerts often shut down
by the PIDE.
The unease of the secret
police was indicative of
Afonso’s growing popularity
and his performance at a
sold out Lisbon
Coliseu
in
March 1974 was ended with
‘Grândola Vila Morena’.
Amongst the crowd were
members of the MFA, or the
‘Captains of April’ as they
were soon to be known.
Inspired by its sentiment of
liberty and its power over the
audience, they decided to
adopt it as one of the signals
for their coup, secretively
planned for the following
month.
Their motive for the other
signal is rather more unclear.
'E Depois do Adeus', a
gushing love ballad about a
man coming to terms with
the end of a relationship, had
no political connotations
whatsoever. Paulo de
Carvalho himself was a
popular singer in Portugal,
most notable for forming The
Sheiks in the mid-60s,
Portugal's Beatle-esque pop
group of the era. The Sheiks
in themselves could be seen
as a reflection of the national
mood at the time in the face
of the Portuguese
dictatorship – heavily
influenced by fashionable
and modern themes
(especially from Britain and
the US), in their own way they
were protesting against the
backward regime through
the expression of music.
In Carvalho's Eurovision
entry, he laments over the
'winning and losing' nature
of love and how the girl he
was with was like 'a flower
that I picked', alluding to the
fleeting nature of love. There
is no evidence to suggest
that the song was chosen for
any reason other than its
convenient broadcast time,
but perhaps it had a
symbolic meaning to those
who chose it as a spark for
revolution; as the flower of
the Estado Novo wilted the
bright carnations of the April
coup brought new feelings
of peace and freedom to the
population.
But can the 48 year old
dictatorship really be likened
to a love affair? Many
historians believe that the
regime had some benefits to
the country – indeed the
beginning of Caetano's
ministry brought about more
liberal reforms due to
popular demand. However,
as was evident as people
poured into the streets of
Lisbon on the morning of the
25
th
April 1974, the people
had demonstrated a desire
for change. This desire is
captured brilliantly in
'Grandola Vila Morena', the
marching of the boots and
the male voices that fill out
the choruses of the song. It
was a truly popular
movement and certainly
Afonso captured the minds
of the Portuguese with its
chillingly powerful and
beautiful verses.
'Em cada esquina um amigo
Em cada rosto igualdade
Grândola, vila morena
Terra da fraternidade.'
'On each corner, a friend
In each face, equality
Grandola, swarthy town
Land of fraternity.'
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