Sunday, May 15, 2011


Last night Azerbaijan won the 56th Eurovision song competition in host nation Germany. As horrendous as the competition is, there are two earlier semi final stages which help whittle the contenders down from the 43 participating nations to the 25 finalists. This essentially means there is even more crap on display before you reach the final.

Arguably one of the more intriguing of acts that didn’t make the final was the entry of the group Homens da Luta (roughly translated as “Men of Struggle”) representing Portugal with their song  “A Luta e Alegria” ("The struggle is joy").

As ridiculous as their stage appearance is, like a political Village People, it was not created for Eurovision, but existed before. Apparently the group is a parody of revolutionary singers during the 1974 Carnation Revolution with each of the singers playing a particular character as introduced here in another song "E o povo, pá?" (What about the people, man?).

For example, Vasco Duarte is playing Falâncio a parody of Zeca Afonso while another is an “April Soldier”. Homens da Luta have released several tracks, all with quite obvious political messages despite the fact that the group is largely considered a comic group and not a singing troupe in Portugal. Their influence is the protest songs of the Carnation Revolution, especially the aforementioned Zeca Afonso’s song “Grândola, Vila Morena” which was the unofficial anthem of the revolution.

There are of course many parallels also with the Tropicalis movement in Brazil around the same time. But one may wonder what the modern meaning of their song is now given the impending Eurozone bailout, political unrest and unemployment?

And while we are talking of the Village People, its easy to remember the Policeman ,The Cowboy and so on, but few recall their even more ill advised last shot New Romantic look of the early 80s. There is no embed code here, but the video is still on Youtube (and yes it is the same people)

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