Musician pays tribute to four special friends
In between rehearsals and a busy schedule, Carvoeiro’s popular musician Beto Kalulu, well-known for his amazing hair and vibrant personality, took time out to speak to us about his upcoming concert in the town’s beach square on Wednesday, July 20, at 9pm.
Entitled “Beto Kalulu – 45 Years of Music”, the concert will be an opportunity to celebrate the artist’s musical career as well as promote his latest album of the same name, which covers a wide range of musical styles from Brazilian to African rhythms, Salsa, Bossa Nova, Samba, Funk and Pop.
Joining him on stage will be 11 musicians who together will perform new songs as well as some of the artist’s signature songs.
Admitting to being particularly excited about the show, the Portuguese-Angolan singer, drummer and percussionist who arrived in the Algarve in 1976 said: “Carvoeiro has been my home for over 45 years. Here I made many friends and raised my family.”
But how did he end up here? “I was exploring the coastline from Albufeira, where I had lived for a short while, when I arrived in Lagoa and saw a sign for Praia do Carvoeiro.”
Attracted by the idea of visiting a beach (‘praia’), he decided to take that road and, five kilometres later, he arrived in the quaint fishermen’s village. “It was love at first sight. I never looked back,” he said, adding that this concert will indeed be “very special, for many reasons”.
A tribute to friends
As well as celebrating his musical career which, despite the album’s title, actually spans over half a century, Beto Kalulu will also be celebrating the lives of four friends who made a positive contribution to the local social and cultural scenes “but who are sadly no longer with us”.
They are Brazilian-Portuguese artist, writer and entertainer Daniel Soares (‘Dani’) who arrived in Carvoeiro 40 years ago and was known for his contagious enthusiasm for life; saxophonist Manuel Guerreiro who owned the hugely-popular jazz club in Monte Carvoeiro, which became known for its jam sessions that attracted musicians from all over the world; Angolan percussionist Carlos Jorge (‘Tchombé’), a regular presence at the local jazz club and on stage with Beto Kalulu; and last but by no means least, Dutch businessman Jan Zegers, a much-admired and respected member of the Carvoeiro community known for his successful businesses in the square (Pátio and Piú restaurants, among others) and for being an avid supporter of local musicians.
“Many will remember these amazing people with fondness. Each one of them will be dedicated a song on the night,” said Beto Kalulu, who is inviting all to join them in this special celebration which has the support of the local council.
For the special concert, Beto Kalulu will be joined on stage by the following artists: his son Tomé Rocha and Emmanuel Leger (drums/percussion), the latter from France; Bony Godoy (bass); Jean Brice (guitar) from Madagascar who will perform one of his own songs as a guest artist; Marcos Vitta (keyboard); Enzo d’Aversa (piano and musical direction); Matt Lester (saxophone); Roberto Costa (trumpet); Ana Alves, Beta Viana (backing vocals) and Vilma Keuchguerian (backing vocals/flute).
The 12 musicians will be performing new songs from the album as well as remixes of the artist’s popular songs.
However, a Beto Kalulu concert wouldn’t be the same without his most iconic songs – ‘Mama Makudilê’ and, of course, the most popular of all, ‘Praia do Carvoeiro’.
“The song became the anthem for Carvoeiro. I can’t remember the exact year I wrote it, but I know it was in the early 80s. I recall I was inspired by the local beach, the fishermen and the children building castles in the sand,” he said.
At the time, Beto was living in ‘Aldeia de Almansor’, a multicultural community of artists who lived happily in makeshift homes (after 15 years, they had to abandon the ‘aldeia’ when work to build the then Almansor hotel (now Tivoli Carvoeiro) resumed).
“I think I was playing for the children of the ‘aldeia’ when the lyrics to ‘Praia do Carvoeiro’ emerged in my head … ‘Na Praia do Ca-ca-ca-Carvoeiro…’ It’s a catchy song. Everyone knows it,” laughs Beto Kalulu who already expects to have to sing it twice every time he performs.
Entertainer and storyteller
A natural-born entertainer, Beto Kalulu has the ability to keep the dance floor packed when he performs, attracting large audiences both here in Portugal and abroad – after all, he is an international musician with an amazing life story.
Beto, who was born in São Mamede de Infesta (north of Porto), moved at the age of two with his parents, five brothers and two sisters to Angola where he lived most of his early life, going on to become a member of popular rock band ‘The Windies’.
“We loved listening to The Beatles, even if we couldn’t understand what the British rock stars were singing. Schools in Angola would mostly teach French as a foreign language, not English,” he said.
In 1972, he travelled to London to expand his musical horizons, but it was in Portugal that he began collecting some of his most memorable and amusing stories.
“One day, I was sat on a bench in Restauradores (Lisbon) with some musician friends when a driver stepped on the brake to look at us. Three other cars travelling behind did not have time to stop and ended up crashing into each other. It was chaos!” he recalled. “And then we heard one of the drivers shouting out the window: ‘Get a haircut, man!’”
Another time in Albufeira, also in the 70s, Beto Kalulu’s unique style caught the attention of famous Porto photographer Fernando Aroso. He knew he had found just the right person to be the image of the then hugely popular youth clothing brand Porfírios, which had stores in Porto and Lisbon. “He wouldn’t stop following me until I agreed to it, which I did in the end,” said the musician whose picture was used in outdoor billboards promoting the now extinct brand.
For anyone who loves Beto Kalulu’s energetic style and happy vibes, the performance on July 20 will be an opportunity for a great night out. Make sure you don’t miss this concert. Entrance is free.
By INÊS LOPES