Multidisciplinary Portuguese artists Calhau! return with a new album and their first release on Discrepant. It’s quite possible you’ve never heard about them. They’re not that famous in Portugal or anywhere. Calhau! is formed by couple Alves von Calhau and Marta von Calhau, not their real names, but they’re their real names in the artistic reality Calhau! have been working in the last 15 years. But now that you’ve read their name, you must dig in. They’re one of a kind.
They’re not musicians, painters, illustrators, sculptures, visual artists or performers. They’re all the above but without manifesting their work specifically in any of them. While listening to Tau Tau – or any of their other releases – that translates quite well: their sound is quite visual, the voices translate into movement and the arbitrary use of sounds reveal a strong sensibility to the architecture of aesthetic.
Tau Tau manifests the voice element in Calhau!’s music as their main element. It’s been present in previous releases, but it’s the centerpiece here. All the words/phrases you hear are wordplays, with Portuguese words and their sounds, but also associations and co-relations. It’s done with purpose and meaning, it’s tailored work that carries meaning and – like in Bófiacult – a social critique.
The sounds and how Marta plays with her voice expose some other areas of work in Calhau!’s domain, like their continued interest in Portuguese folk traditions, not just with music/sound but also with objects. Objects that, ultimately, you can listen in Tau Tau. If you’re a fan of both our Antologia de Música Atípica Portuguesa compilations (they’ve contributed with one track for our first volume O Trabalho), you’ll find Tau Tau as a good complement of how 21st century musicians understand and recreate Portuguese folklore.