Bruno Pernadas doesn't listen to much Portuguese music. He told me himself! I've been reveling in the music of this almost unknown artist for a few years now. With three eccentric albums released by Pataca Discos (a Lisbon-based record company), I see him as a sort of Kevin Parker, playing the conductor in the lab that is his native Lisbon.
His music has an ambient feel – 24 degrees of sweetness. A delicious warmth. Then sometimes it burns when the thermometer reads over 30 degrees. Let me explain. As a youngster Bruno Pernadas, who started playing classical guitar at the age of 13, refined his musical culture thanks to his older sister's records: pop, fusion, and Brazilian music. In high school he studied jazz and rubbed shoulders with the Angolan, Mozambican, and Cape Verdean communities in his neighbourhood. He also studied African music and discovered a certain passion for Afrobeat. And then there's West Coast Jazz with Dave Brubeck and friends (something that's very popular in Portugal, Bruno Pernadas told me).
However the artist he listens to the most, his idol even, is called Les Baxter, an American composer and creator of exotica, a musical genre from the 1950s and 1960s where classical symphony meets Hawaiian, Oceanian, Amazonian, and South Asian music and rhythms. It is musical reverie that weaves tropical imaginings with birds singing and bamboo clattering. It sounds like the soundtrack to a Disney film! And the cornerstone of this genre: the record Ritual of a Savage by Les Baxter and his orchestra from 1951. Bruno Pernadas' compositions are largely inspired by this musical genre. Hence the delicious tropical room temperature, though the 36-year-old Portuguese conductor does occasionally like to turn up the heat by adding a little Afrobeat into his tracks.
Jazz, fusion, afrobeat, indie rock, and exotica are the main influences on this artist who also composes for theatre and cinema. Each of his records – whose artwork is made up of zany, innocent yet elaborate collages – is a little marvel.
How Can We Be Joyful In A World Full Of Knowledge? (2014), Worst Summer Ever (2016) and Those Who Throw Objects At The Crocodiles Will Be Asked To Retrieve Them are three albums that should be found in the library of any self-respecting music lover.
The next step for this dream-maker is a double album to be released in 2021 exclusively on vinyl. We can hardly wait!