Danças Ocultas propose a unique, highly original approach to the accordion: instead of using the “classic” version of it, they work with the diatonic accordion (also known in Portugal as the “concertina”), an instrument created in the first half of the 19th century that has seldom been used outside traditional music.
That is, until Danças Ocultas came along in 1989 and decided to produce a new, creative vocabulary for it, accepting its limitations and working with them to create a music that evokes tradition while being of its own time.
The four-piece of Artur Fernandes, Filipe Cal, Filipe Ricardo and Francisco Miguel had the good fortune to be taken under the wing of fellow accordionist Gabriel Gomes, then of Madredeus. Attracted by the challenge in their project, he offered to produce their debut album, released in 1996.
Since then, Danças Ocultas have never looked back. The constant traveling, the contacts made with musicians from all over the world, the continuous performances: all of it nourished and enriched the worldview of the project, with Artur Fernandes initially masterminding the writing side before all four musicians became co-writers and coarrangers.
The highly atmospheric, visual side of their music has led Danças Ocultas to be invited to write for dance and theatrical performances, and they have often collaborated with acclaimed choreographer Paulo Ribeiro for whom they have written a number of original dance pieces.
Danças Ocultas have released four studio albums as well as a collection of previously released material. This collection takes its name from the book journalist Jorge P. Pires wrote about the band, “Alento”. Danças Ocultas have also begun in 2012 acollaboration with acclaimed Brazilian cellist, singer and songwriter Dom la Nena. They have played together a short tour of Portugal and will do so again this coming November during the Misty Fest festival. Their adventure in the world of writing new material for an instrument that has always been somewhat overlooked can best be summed up by the title of their 2009 album “Tarab”. It’s an Arabic word meaning a “state of elevation, celebration and spiritual communion” attained by the performer and by the listener during a musical performance. This is a “ecstasy” that can felt universally by anyone who is transported by music – and the goal that any musician aims for.
In 2016 these Portuguese accordion wizards ennobled their 25 years stage anniversary with AMPLITUDE (Uguru/Sony Portugal), a wonderful live recording of their concerts with Orquestra Filarmonia das Beiras and now they’re preparing a new album with the brazilian Jacques Morelebaum as the producer.
“It was less of a concert but much more a musical lecture, a collective
breathing that you’re being part of and that you’re carried away with, in an
emotional, meditative dimension”.
Il Giornale di Vicenza, I, 2011
You walk into the darkened main concert hall and suddenly, all that falls away, there are four men on stage, and they are creating a space where you can relax, breath and luxuriate in beautiful sounds.””
Michal Shapiro on The Huffington Post, 2010
„Inventive and creative instrumental music by one of Europe’s best art music ensembles. Highly recommended!“
CD Roots 2007
“Danças Ocultas are very special – the interaction of these four accordionists is amazing. Their music is so full of tension that you did not realise how the time goes by. The music is excellently arranged and acts between very slow bits, where only one accordion is playing – creating an atmosphere of very loud silence – up to quite fast and very lively pieces. It is not easy to describe their music – you simply have to see them live to get an idea of what they are doing (or at least you should listen to their CD…) My personal highlight of the festival.”
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