Luis’ Music – The Beginning

I was always fond of music and began performing at home at the age of 4. I played a kind of drum and sang for the family and other victims, who also had to pay to hear me play! Other artists joined me, such as my favourite sister Isabel and my friends, in more sophisticated shows, including acting when we used scenery we had made ourselves, out of cardboard. Here is a programme from 1954.

In 1959, when I was 13, I bought my first guitar. I began to teach myself, using a book entitled “How to play guitar in 24 hours” (or rather in 24 months).  I practised until my fingers bled. 

Three years later, when I was 16, I had my first group, more or less the real thing, the Baby Faces, composed of Villar de Sousa (rhythm guitar), Manuel Athouguia (rhythm guitar), Diniz (drums) and me (lead guitar). Here is a photograph of a gig in 1962.

After that I joined the Os Ecos, made up of Manuel Athouguia (rhythm guitar), José Athouguia (drums), António Sallaty (bass) me (lead guitar). We played at a lot of parties and three times on television. Here is a copy of a contract in 1963:

We also made a record, an instrumental, produced with very primitive technology. Here is the record label:

Os Ecos demonstrating the Italian EKO guitars at FIL in 1963

In 1964/65, I belonged to a Group called Nova Onda, made up of Gonçalo Lucena (vocalist), Manuel Lucena (bass), Jorge Moniz Pereira (rhythm guitar), Fernando Mendes (drums) and me (lead guitar). We went on television, played at a lot of parties, and on a New Year cruse to Madeira, on the steam liner Santa Maria, playing as the ship’s group (when the ship tilted to the left everyone danced leaning to that side). Here is the ticket for the 1964 trip and photographs of the ship and one of the shows.

In 1965 I began to play with The Saints, composed of Luis de Freitas Branco (rhythm guitar and voice), João Valeriano (bass and voice), Alexandre Corte Real (drums) and me (lead guitar). Later Alexandre had to leave, and José Athouguia joined (drums, he had already played with me in the Ecos) and the group was finished off with another one of my friends, João Ferreira da Costa (keyboard and voice). João Bragança and João Vicente Ribeiro were also part of the group and dealt with the contracts.

We competed in the Yé-Yé Festival at the Monumental Theatre, organized by the great theatre impresario Vasco Morgado. It was a grand event, in which 100 music groups from all over the country took part, selected over almost a year in various eliminatory competitions, and included a group from Angola and one from Mozambique. We won all the eliminatory events and also the final.

Before the final, we thought it better to change to the Portuguese name, Os Claves

After the Claves, in 1967 I began to accompany Pamela and later we got married, forming the duo LP – Luis and Pamela.

Towards the end of 1968, I was called up for my obligatory national service. During the recruitment period I met up with my friend Alfredo Laranjinha, with whom I had been at school. We had learned to play guitar together, and we immediately took the opportunity of organising shows for the end of course celebrations.

After the initial period, I was based in Oporto, where the first thing I did was to go to a musical instruments shop and say I was interested in playing with a group in Oporto. On the same day I received a ‘phone call  and immediately began to play bass (which was what they needed) and to sing with the Walter Behrend group, which was composed of Walter Behrend (keyboard), Italo Caffi (guitar and flute, Andrea Tosi’s ex pianist), Jorge Guimarães (drums) and me (bass). We played at many parties in Oporto and even in Spain, and made a record for the Alvorada label, which includes one of my originals.

After one year of national service here in Portugal, I was sent to Angola for two years, where I spent the whole time in the middle of the jungle. This didn’t manage to stop the music. I set up a group The Tigers and with what we had available we made our own set of drums, microphone, and an amplifier made with the only film sound projector on the base. I organised regular local shows, and was invited to take part in shows in other places.

On my return home I went back to playing and singing with Pamela, who came back from England, we got married two months later and have continued to make music together until now.

Besides this, I later participated in a Jazz group called Jazzamataz , with João Olias (keyboard), Michel Mounier (drums) and me (bass), and in the group Rockfellas, from 1992 to 2010, with José Santos Fernandes (keyboard and voice), Alfredo Laranjinha (rhythm guitar and voice), Jaime Pereira (bass and voice), Michel Mounier (drums) and me (lead guitar and voice).