Timeless: Beto Gourgel

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While still young, Beto Gourgel trod the reddish sand of the streets of Bairro Marçal and listened with delight to the choirs of the Methodist Church, a religious institution in which his father was a pastor. At the time, balls danced in the cultural space of Club Botafogo, and the vibration of “Kimbandas do Ritmo” hung in the air, a musical formation that included, in the 1960s, the composers and performers Catarino Bárber, Manuel Faria de Assis and Tonito. In November 1961, Beto Gourgel starts studying at Casa Pia in Lisbon and that's where his real contact with music begins. Casa Pia, as a charity institution, was one of the great cultural references of Beto Gourgel's past. At that time, Beto Gourgel played, nostalgically, the songs of the Duo Ouro Negro and songs from his childhood, a fact that helped him bypass the confinement and loneliness of the hard times of Casa Pia de Lisboa, an adaptation that was by no means, easy.

In Portugal, Beto Gourgel helps found, in 1967, “The Fools” - a pop-rock formation from Saldanha, as a vocalist, which included Zequinha (bass guitar), Rui Jorge (solo guitar), Nuno (drums) and Narcissus (guitar rhythm). Following the slight structural metamorphoses of “The Fools”, the group changes its name to “The Milk Baby’s Group” and then “Filhos da Pauta”. Still in the same year, Beto Gourgel integrates “Alerta Está” - a musical group linked to the army that performed mainly in military barracks.

In "Alerta Está", Beto Gourgel found some musicians who are today important references of Portuguese Popular Music: Fernando Tordo, Carlos Mendes, Tony Amor, singer of the "Six Latinos", Rui Pato, among others. Beto Gourgel, with “Alerta Está”, performs at Cine Monumental de Lisboa, a concert that was recorded on television, and sings, for the first time, in public, the song, “Tata ku matadi”, kimbundu. This show was accompanied by an orchestra, conducted by conductor Sílvio Pleno.
Em 1968, Beto Gourgel, ainda no “Alerta Está”, faz apresentações, durante seis meses, nos aquartelamentos dos militares destacados na Guiné e em Moçambique, e volta para Angola, em 1969. Nos finais de 1969 é convidado a participar no ZipZip – um famoso programa da RTP- que tinha como apresentadores Raúl Solnado, Carlos Cruz e Fialho Gouveia, que eram também os autores. Nesse programa participaram os cantores Rui Mingas e Fausto, e Beto Gourgel não compareceu por falta de autorização militar.

Beto Gourgel has the merit of having been a figure who stood out at the time of the outbreak of revolutionary fervor, a phase that led to Angola's independence in 1975. The communicative uniqueness of his musical texts, satire and linguistic humor - which is his peculiar - they made of themes like “Ngingila iá Nvunda” (paths of the struggle), “Gienda iá mamã” (maternal homesickness) and “Metamorphosis”, model songs of the revolutionary period. After a two-year stint in Angola, from 1970 to 1972, Beto Gourgel ends the military commission, returns to Portugal and reunites with old friends from the old Saldanha bands: “The Fools”, “The Milk Baby's Group” and “Filhos of the Agenda ”. Beto Gourgel died, due to illness, on January 25, 2006, and was buried at 2:45 pm, on January 28, to the sound of the classic “Muxima”. In the last years of his career, in addition to being a singer, songwriter and troubadour, Beto Gourgel experimented, with recognized notability, with acting, having acted, like Nganjeta, with singer Dionísio Rocha, at the beginning of the program “Conversas no Quintal“, a lively humorous series on the Angolan Public Television grid.




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