Pop Dell’Arte is a Portuguese music band that started in the 1980s and remains active. The current lineup of the band includes, in addition to João Peste and Zé Pedro Moura, Paulo Monteiro and Ricardo Martins.
Over the years, many other musicians have passed through Pop Dell’Arte: in addition to Paulo Salgado, Luís Saraiva and Ondina Pires , who were part of the first formation with João Peste and José Pedro Moura, musicians Sapo, Rafael Toral, Luís San Payo, Pedro Alvim, João Paulo Feliciano, JP Simões , Carlos Luz, Tiago Miranda, João Matos, Eduardo Vinhas and Nuno Castedo. There are also collaborations with names such as Nuno Rebelo, Salomé, Sei Miguel, Adolfo Luxúria Canibal , Kazé, General D , Simon White or Zé Pedro Lorena.
Pop Dell’Arte was formed in the Campo de Ourique neighborhood of Lisbon in 1985, with João Peste as vocalist, Zé Pedro Moura as guitarist, Ondina Pires as drummer, Paulo Salgado as bassist and Luís Saraiva as percussionist. On February 11, 1985, at Musicorde’s studio in Campo de Ourique, they recorded a model with four songs ( Sonhos Pop , Turin Welisa Strada , Bladin and Eastern Streets ) with which they decided to compete for the 2nd edition of the Modern Music Competition. by Rock Rendez-Vous .
Despite the main prize going to THC (a project linked to Xutos e Pontapés , which had always been part of the jury), they ended up winning the originality prize in the final played on May 5th, receiving unanimous praise from the critics who ended up by consider, for example, António Sérgio from the program Som da Frente on Rádio Comercial , “the best band in the competition”.
In 1986, João Peste, son of mathematician João Cosme dos Santos Guerreiro and a sociology student, created the publishing house Ama Romanta , which released, in May of that year, the album Divergências where they appeared, in addition to Pop Dell’Arte and an interview with the sociologist Paquete de Oliveira made by João Peste himself, names like Mler Ife Dada , Croix Sainte, Anamar , Essa Entente , Linha Geral, SPQR, A Jovem Guarda, Linha Geral, Bye Bye Lolita Girl, Final Shout, Bastardos do Cardinal, Magudesi, Extrema Anointing and The Dogs, Death & Desire, among others.
Ama Romanta will remain in intense activity until the beginning of the ” 90s “, releasing several records of enormous musicological importance, by names such as Mão Morta , Mler Ife Dada, Telectu , Sei Miguel, Anamar, João Peste & Acidoxi Brothel, General Line, Nuno Canavarro , Tó Zé Ferreira, Santa Maria, Gasoline in Your Womb! , PSP , Stray Dogs, Pascal Comelade and, of course, Pop Dell’Arte. During this period, several historical covers are signed by names such as Nuno Leonel, Alberto Faria, António Palolo , Vasco Colombo, Mateus Lorena and even João Peste and Ondina Pires.
In October 1986, they give their first concert outside of Portugal, at the Discoteca El Kremlin in Vigo ( Spain ), together with Mão Morta, with Rafael Toral as a new element. Shortly afterwards, in November of the same year, after the death of Luís Saraiva, they recorded their first album at the Paço de Arcos Studio of Valentim de Carvalho, the maxi single Querelle/ Mai 86 , edited by Ama Romanta in February 1987. , produced by Nuno Rebelo, Amândio Bastos and Pop Dell’Arte.
Free Pop (1987)
The debut album Free Pop , with Luís San Payo on drums, was released in December 1987 by Ama Romanta. This work includes several classics of the band such as “Berlioz”, “Rio Line”, “Avanti Marinaio” and “Bladin”, as well as “Juramento Sem Bandeira” where João Peste sings in duet with Adolfo Luxúria Canibal from Mão Morta. The newspaper Blitz , in 1987, placed him only in 10th position in the list of the best Portuguese albums of that year. However, later, in 2010, the same newspaper placed the same record in the top 10 of the 1980s.
International critics also took notice of Free Pop . Thus, the British music journal Sounds , in an article signed by John Robb in the summer of 1988, awarded it 4.5 points (out of a possible 5). Having been later considered one of the most important albums ever in the history of pop music made in Portugal, Free Pop , in 1999, appeared in the book The 100 most important albums ever of Portuguese music , edited by Público newspaper in collaboration with FNAC, and in the list of the 20 best albums of the 20th century by Diário de Notícias .
When Free Pop was reissued in 2011, the RTP 2 Câmara Clara program also considered it one of the best Portuguese music albums ever, while Ricardo Saló, in the weekly Expresso , said that it was perhaps the best Portuguese album of the ” Anos 80 “. Controversies have always been present throughout the history of Pop Dell’Arte.
On January 28, 1988, they gave a historic concert in Lisbon, at the Aula Magna , which completely divided critics between praise of genius and accusations of fraud. Thus, in a TSF Rádio Notícias program , broadcast on several European radio stations, Viriato Teles (Semanário Se7e ) says that he does not like Pop Dell’Arte because “what Pop Dell’Arte do is not music”, while João Lisboa ( Expresso ) defends the band referring to what he considers the genius of the band.
At the end of 1988, the readers of the LP-Jornal de Música voted for Pop Dell’Arte as the best band of the year, in their concert at Aula Magna in January 88 as the best concert and for João Peste as the best vocalist.
Illogik Plastik (1989)
In May 1989, they present live at Rock Rendez-Vous with the Germans Sprung Aus Den Wolken, the EP Illogik Plastik edited once again by Ama Romanta. The EP includes four new tracks: “Illogik Plastik”, “Love Is… A Strange Guy”, “Poem for Circular Bride In Reinforced Concrete, Pink Plastic With Digital Radio Programmed In FM” and “Sprung Aus Den Wolken ” dedicated to the German band led by Kiddy Citny.
In the summer of 1989, the band broke up and João Peste formed with Jorge Ferraz (from Santa Maria, Gasolina em Teu Ventre!) the Acidoxi Bordel project, which lasted only a few months. The EP João Peste & Acidoxi Bordel released in July 1990 with the themes “Groovy Noise-Dada Rock”, “Clio Software”, “Cocaine, Amigo” and “Distante Domingo” and cover by Alberto Faria.
Ready Made (1993)
Pop Dell’Arte returned in February 1991, with a memorable concert at Cinema Alvalade, with More Republica Masónica in the 1st part. In January 1992, they edited 2002 in maxi single , with a new line-up that includes Pedro Alvim and João Paulo Feliciano and with the participation, in the theme “2002”, by Sei Miguel, General D and Salomé – a transvestite recruited from the gay club Lisbon Finally.
The Ready-Made album is released a year later, in 1993, and includes songs like “Janis Pearl”, “Green Lantern” and “The Ballad Of Lilly-Io”. As Peste explains in several interviews at the time, Ready-Made is a tribute to one of his heroes of all time, the French artist Marcel Duchamp – by the way for whom Peste had already claimed in the lyrics of “Pop Dreams”.
Sex Symbol (1995)
In 1995, they released the album Sex Symbol. Published after signing a contract with Polygram – through Paulo Salgado and Vachier, the agency that at the time was managing the band – this work features Paulo Monteiro and JP Simões as guitarists. Sex Symbol includes classics from the group such as: “Poppa Mundi”, “My Funny Ana Lana”, “Be Bop” and “Orange Kaleidoscope”, with Ricardo Camacho , Sei Miguel, Fala Mariam and Mai Mouna Jales as guests, and a cover by Paulo Monteiro from a photograph by Luísa Ferreira .
After a break of several years, Pop Dell’Arte returned in 1999 in a concert at the Forum Lisboa with a new lineup that includes, in addition to João Peste and Zé Pedro Moura, Paulo Monteiro, Luis San Payo, Tiago Miranda, Carlos Luz and John Matos.
So Goodnight (2002) and POPlastik (2006)
In 2002, they released the EP So Goodnight , which would remain the band’s last original work until the release of Contra Mundum in 2010, and they gave a concert in London at the Cargo nightclub, with Nuno Castêdo on drums.
In 2006, they released the compilation POPlastik , with a cover by Nuno Leonel and Joaquim Pinto , which includes three new songs: “J’ai Oublié (All My Life)”, “Stranger Than Summertime” and “No Way Back” – a version of Adonis ‘ original , “No Way Back”, a classic Chicago house music from the “80s”. Also in 2006, Belgian DJs The Glimmers included the version of “No Way Back” in the compilation album Fabric Live 31 , while Carlos Conceição made the video of a version of “Lady Godiva’s Operation”
Reissue of “Querelle” in 2007
In May 2007, two decades after the release of the maxi single Querelle , Bloop Recordings, a Portuguese dance music publisher, launched a commemorative edition. The reissue only counts, from the original single , with “Querelle”, with the opposite side now containing a version of the Belgians The Glimmers, “Querelle (The Glimmers New Beat Flash Card version)”. This edition puts Pop Dell’Arte, in the summer of 2007, one week in 1st place in sales of Juno.co.uk , one of the main online stores selling records. At the end of 2007, Eskimo Recordings released the compilation The Glimmers – Eskimo Volume V , which contained their remix for “Querelle”.
“No Way Back” in the US
In 2009, after the Glimmers, João Peste’s band receives the blessing of the original author of No Way Back . Thus, Adonis proposes to include the version of the theme made by Pop Dell’Arte in a vinyl edition , dedicated to the dance music classic he created. The record was titled Adonis presents Pop Dell’Arte – No Way Back Tribute EP and was edited by Mathematics, an American dance music label. The EP also included Steve Poindexter’s remix of Pop Dell’Arte’s “Querelle” and The Circles’ version of “No Way Back” called “2 Far Gone”.
Against Mundum (2010)
Pop Dell’Arte’s fourth original album, Contra Mundum , is finally released on June 14, 2010, by Presente, with cover – once again – by Nuno Leonel and Joaquim Pinto. This edition marks the celebration of the band’s 25th anniversary. The first single was “Ritual Transdisco”, the album’s opening theme, crossing diverse artistic influences with a phonetic poem by João Peste – in continuity with “Berlioz”, “Querelle” or “Turin Welisa Strada”. The theme was made available for free download on the band’s blog .
Recorded and mixed at the Golden Pony studio between 2008 and 2010, with sound and technical management by Eduardo Vinhas, Contra Mundum includes the collaboration of British trumpeter Simon White on two songs, “Diary Of A Soldier (I Saw You Dancin’)” and “Slave For Sale”, a theme dedicated to porn star Scott O’Hara ), where the voice of Rui Vargas is heard for a few moments. In addition to João Peste, Zé Pedro Moura (from the initial formation) and Paulo Monteiro (a member of the band since 1993), the formation of Contra Mundum also includes Nuno Castêdo and Eduardo Vinhas.
The album was presented for the first time live at Music Box, in Lisbon, in July 2010. Aveiro, Porto, Coimbra, Portalegre, Bragança, Guarda, Torres Novas, Sines and Cartaxo were some of the places where the band performed live Contra world . However, the highlights of this mini-tour will have been at Casa da Música ( Porto ), at Music Box and at Culturgest (Lisbon).
At the end of 2010, Contra Mundum was ranked among the best of the year 2010 in several lists made by different media, from Diário de Noticias to the Public , through Blitz or RUC (Rádio Universidade de Coimbra) , among others.
Free Pop reissue (2011)
In April 2011, the Louie Louie store, in collaboration with Ama Romanta, re-edited the legendary Free Pop which, once again acclaimed by critics and the public, received the maximum score in the Portuguese Time Out magazine and in the Público newspaper, in addition to enormous praise. on Expresso , Câmara Clara , Antena 3 and Blitz .
Portuguese Pop Rock BD (2011)
In June 2011, A Bela e o Monstro / Tugaland published a new compilation by Pop Dell’Arte, in the BD Pop Rock Português collection , which includes a BD written by Fernando Martins, inspired by the band, and two unpublished songs. “TaNaK” (from the Hebrew name given to the Old Testament ) and “Simeon (You Started Something I Want To Finish Now)” dedicated to Simeon Solomon , English Pre-Raphaelite poet and painter, plus the remixed version of “Slave For Sale” and the Velvet Underground ‘s version of “Lady Godiva’s Operation” , which despite the video made by Carlos Conceição was never released on disc.
Mythical Bands (2012)
The Bandas Míticas collection , carried out by Correio da Manhã and Levoir, included in its 29th edition a compilation by Pop Dell’Arte, with 11 songs by the band (“Sonhos Pop”, “Querelle”, “808 Loop” and “Mr. Sorry”, among others). The January 2012 edition also features a biography of Pop Dell’Arte, signed by journalist Gonçalo Frota, and a collection of photographs from different phases of the band, from 1985 to 2011.
Global Transgression (2020)
A decade after the previous album, Pop Dell’Arte edited Transgressio Global , whose edition, initially scheduled for March, ended up being postponed to the month of May, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Recorded and mixed between 2017 and 2019, the album has twenty-one tracks, where various historical periods are visited and various sounds are explored, always maintaining the transgressive musical identity. It features a version of the theme “El Derecho de Vivir en Paz” by Vitor Jara. For the first time, there are also themes constructed from poems by other authors: “Cá, Nesta Babilónia” by Luís Vaz de Camões, “Mellitos Oculos Tuos, Iuuenti”, in classical Latin, by Gaio Valério Catulo, and “Egô Desóptron Eien (Eγὼ δ’ ἔσοπτρον εἴην )”, in ancient Greek, an anacreontic poem of unknown author and date from the end of the Roman Empire.