Homens da Luta – the voice of protest

by alrou on March 13, 2011

The winds of change are blowing not only in the Muslim world but they are also blowing over Europe as well, and Portugal is no exception. Naturally, the country is a stabilized democracy and its people are gentle mannered, so you don’t expect  them to pick up on arms and carry with a bloody revolution in the streets, like the social and political unrest in the Middle East and Northern Africa, portrayed in the news. 

But there are other ways to show discontentment in these rough and murky waters that we are navigating in and one of these voices that is taking their message to the streets in an entertaining way is the musical group Homens da Luta (“men-at- arms”). The name may be misleading, since the only arms that they carry are their voice, musical instruments and a good dose of humor. 

The group is formed by the brothers Nuno Duarte “Jel” (Neto) and Vasco Duarte (Falâncio). The “comrades” that accompany the duo in their exhibitions (with their alter-ego in parenthesis) are the percussionists Pôncio Gomes (metallurgy worker), Gregório Anarca, (fisherman) and Tó Peixoto (firefighter) , the accordionist Cesaltina (peasant), Zé Pereira is the bassist , the Guitar with the Revolutionary Soldier, Amilcar (unemployed), Pôncio Peixoto (Construction worker), the flutist, Linda (nurse), and also with the percussion is Benedicta das Dores (Intellectual). 

 Their music is a parody of the popular chants sung during the revolutionary transitional period known as PREC (Processo Revolucionário Em Curso, or “On-Going Revolutionary Process”) in the two years that followed the Carnation Revolution (April 25, 1974).

The message that they carry is to sing away the woes and dark clouds that are looming over us in these challenging times. They support the right to a Ferrari for each Portuguese, the right for every Portuguese to eat sirloin steak and to be entitled to holidays in exotic places and luxurious resorts, among others. Ironies aside, what they really mean is that the people only want to live comfortably, well nourished and happy, without financial overloads (caused by others), since they are fed up in playing the game rigged by politicians and their privileged friends who have been living in a cosy world while the less fortunate populace is left with the obligation of picking up all the tabs.

As posted on their Facebook page, Homens da Luta suggest that their message be translated in various languages so that more Europeans (along with other populations) understand their message. Therefore, BestInPortugal selected the video with the music  A Luta é Alegria (“The struggle is joy”), which was elected through internet voting  to represent Portugal in the 55th Eurovision Song Contest (not without some controversy due to the political nature of the lyrics),  to be held in Dusseldorf, Germany in May of 2011.

Good luck for Portugal!

Lyrics (in English) of A Luta é Alegria – “The struggle is Joy” by Homens da Luta:

Sometimes you find yourself discouraged
Sometimes you find yourself wary
Sometimes you find yourself alarmed
Sometimes you find yourself in despair 

By day or by night, the struggle is joy
And the people are rallying on the streets shouting

It’s pointless to feel the belt always tight
It’s pointless to walk and to whine around
It’s pointless to feel always anguished
It is pointless to cultivate anger to help you out

By day or by night, the struggle is joy
And the people are rallying on the streets shouting 

And bring the bread, the  cheese and bring the wine
And comes the old, the young and the child
And bring the bread, the  cheese and bring the wine
And comes the old, the young and the child
Come celebrate this situation and let us sing against reaction 
Come celebrate this situation and let us sing against reaction

There are many who warn you to take care
There are many who want to shut up your mouth
There are many who leave you in angst
There are many who will sell you the air itself 

By day or by night, the struggle is joy
And the people are rallying on the streets shouting 
And bring the bread, the  cheese and bring the wine
And comes the old, the young and the child

And bring the bread, the  cheese and bring the wine
And comes the old, the young and the child
Come celebrate this situation and let us sing against reaction 

The struggle continues when the people hit the streets! 

Source: Youtube Channel of BestInPortugal

  • Taniacarvalheiro

    We did hit the streets, 280,000 of us were there in protest. We pay some of the highest taxes in Europe, have nothing to show for it, neither health care services nor schools. Our politicians are corrupt and do not allow us do participate in political life.
    In Portugal politicians are either the sons of other politicians, reporters or have big carreers as directors of public corporations. We are living in a “democratic slavery”, our only right is to subsist.
    HELP!!! There are many ways of opressing a country, some of them are only different from that of Mr. Khadafi, but all in all the results are the same!

  • Alrouiller

    Hi Tânia, Thanks for your comment. In these 800+ years of history, Portugal has gone through a lot of challenges. This is just another one to test the resilience of the portuguese people and to show what they are made of.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rogério-Maciel/100002157337626 Rogério Maciel

    Well Said ! You seem like a Português ! … We are Made of Lusitanian Soul , the only Nation in roman empire that endured a Victorious Fight for 100 years, mainly with our glorious King and Leader , Viriato .The only way romans found to defeat us , was not in the batle field , but assassination …We Will defeat all the traitors of this ancestral Nation !

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rogério-Maciel/100002157337626 Rogério Maciel

    «The winds of change are blowing not only in the Muslim world but they
    are also blowing over Europe as well, and Portugal is no exception.
    Naturally, the country is a stabilized democracy and its people are
    gentle mannered, so you don’t expect  them to pick up on arms and carry
    with a bloody revolution … »

    Anyway , maybe you should … Portuguese Psychology is much more complex than you think you have understood  … Gentle Manners ?… mmmm …  yes , you can say it , but , sometimes , in very extreme circumstances(more extreme than the average) we , Portuguese ,  can be brutal … So , if i am not wrong , in a not at all far away time  the corrupts of/in  Portugal should be afraid … maybe they should start thinking about  moving from Portugal .

  • alrou

    Hi Rogério. I wasen’t born in Portugal but I love this country and having a Portuguese passport gives me enough knowledge to backup what I say. Portugal has its charms that must be marketed more effectively so that more people become aware of it.

  • Alrouiller

    Hi Rogério,
    I believe that we must start to demand more from our leaders and make them accountable for their decisions: highways that lead to nowhere, nationalizing a failed bank (BPN), questionable high speed trains with an investment tab that will be picked up by the next generation, and many others. Protesting is the first step to show that things must change and I hope that Homens da luta continue with their message.

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