Scúru Fitchádu: Punk will not die while listening to funaná

At home he listened to funaná and he spoke Creole and in the street he heard punk, metal or hip-hop. Now, at age 37, Marcus Veiga is Scúru Fitchádu and exposes these experiences, in one of the vital adventures of the current Portuguese music, to feel on Wednesday, at the MusicBox in Lisbon, at the Jameson Urban Routes.

Singularity is not lacking to Marcus Veiga, known as Sette Sujidade and as Scúru Fitchádu: the music reflects experiences, the sonorities with which it was related and the shuffles of identity.
It is now, the drums and the electronics have given a little respite to the bodies, there is almost tranquility in the room, the singer’s ripped voice recoil, the assistance sighs, but at any moment everything will return to the frenzied initial place.

And the ritual repeats itself. The sound returns. The bass seems to ricochet on the walls, the battery accelerates even more, there is noise and distortion, you hear in the background an accordion and iron, while the singer shouts in Creole something imperceptible, but it is the angry way as it says it gets registered . Anyone who has seen Scúru Fitchádu on stage knows that it is an experience of limits.

Punk attitudes and distortion intersect with the Cape Verdean rhythms of funaná, mediated by dub or hip-hop techniques and electronic metamorphoses. In Portugal in recent months it is difficult to find another such vital musical adventure. Behind her is the Portuguese Marcus Veiga, also known by the nickname Sette Sujidade, and now also as Scúru Fitchádu.
Last year he released a self-titled five-track digital EP.

Marcus Veiga, fotografia de António Marinho da Silva.Marcus Veiga, fotografia de António Marinho da Silva.

“This project was thought to be presented live, because this is a physical music that can not be sat down,” says Marcus Veiga, noting that the way he communicates through videos or photos also ends up be important. “The visual part participates in a universe that I want to be understood as a whole. I’m in the paint for the visualizations, for the ‘tastes’ of social networks or if my music is very heard. But I wish that the one who hears may understand the atmosphere that surrounds it all. “And he gives the example of a musician he likes. “I’ve never seen Tom Waits live, but when I see a photo or video of him, it transports me to a dimension that I recognize as being just him, with anything visceral and cinematic, and that’s important.”

Singularity is also what Scúru Fitchádu does not lack, with his music reflecting his experiences, the different sonorities with which he has been related and the shreds

of identity. They continually ask him if he is Cape Verdean or Portuguese and he laughs at being forced to choose, as if he could not accumulate. “If they go to Cape Verde they say that I am ‘tuga’. And the truth is this. I was born here, this is the reality I know, I feel from here, I am Portuguese, but it is true that I have a strong bond with the reality transmitted by my relatives. ”

He was born in Lisbon, having grown up in the western zone, “between Bombarral and Caldas da Rainha.” His mother is Angolan, the Cape Verdean father, not surprising that at home he heard some semba, but essentially lukewarm or funaná. “From Angola I know, unfortunately, little. I have more affinities with the Creole scene, “he says, adding that if the family listened to African music, at school and on the street the sounds were different. “In the ’80s a guy was playing with Michael Jackson or David Bowie and then back in the’ 90s at school, I picked up the grunge and the trash metal scene, before identifying myself with General D’s hip hop from the Rapublic compilation or Da Weasel and the parties at Johnny Guitar in Lisbon, embryo of the hip-hop movement that led me to discover the Public Enemy of the Wu-Tang Clan. ”

In Caldas da Rainha of the 1990s the scenario was essentially rock, which, looking back, seems significant today. “If I lived in the Almada zone in the midst of the hip-hop community, I probably would not have been subjected to other stimuli, from Punk to Total Crisis to Atari Teenage Riot or Discharge, and today I realize that it was important,” he says, adding that the desire to express himself musically and to integrate an artistic dynamic has always been with him.

“I remember going to see Da Weasel at Dreamer’s Club in Foz do Arelho, back in 1994, and thinking that it was really what I wanted to do and that’s when I started writing. I did things but never left the drawer. Of course at the time of the hip-hop mixtapes I also went there and did things, playing here and there, but I never had much exposure. Maybe good. I was in the shadow, but I was not connoted with anything. “At this time, and even today, there were two worlds that rarely crossed. “I remember hearing Sepultura at home and when that happened my cousins ​​put me aside. They did not understand how she could like it. The same was true when going to hardcore concerts. The staff looked at me strangely.”

At the moment when you listen to your music to those who enjoy funaná the reactions are almost always negative. “They think it’s sacrilege. I carry it on my head. It’s complicated. They are very conservative in this regard, but at the same time I understand why what I do is unusual. My music is somber and they wonder: ‘But this one now brings here references of Tom Waits and Nick Cave? But what is this? I want but it’s dancing! ”

In the same way it will not be easy to find who identifies with punk or metal and accepts the junction with funaná. After the visibility guaranteed in the last decade by projects like Buraka Som Sistema, Beat or Throes & The Shine, one could imagine a Portuguese musical cosmos increasingly infected by miscegenations. They happen, but still slowly and with many resistances involved. “It’s strange is not it?” Marcus asks. “Portugal has this potential, with successive generations of people with African family roots, but who have already been born and raised here, having been exposed to as many stimuli as I do, but there are still barriers to abolishing.”

The Portuguese and international musical context has been helping the visibility of Scúru Fitchádu, but the germination of the idea comes from afar. “Part of the desire to introduce more aggressiveness into my music and to feel that through hip-hop it was not possible. It was then that I began to wonder about my identity and the things I have been hearing over time, such as Cape Verdeans Bulimundo and the Gaita Iron, while listening to heavy music like the Melt Banana, Basement Rats or Prodigy. It was from there, from this idea to join these two worlds, that the thing was progressing, at the same time as I wondered how to introduce elements of Creole. And I’m still looking. ”

The sound base is that. But then there’s the vocal interpretation, “which comes from a hip-hop but more to rip, punk-oriented,” and elements of the so-called bass music, “which was one of the sources I went to drink with the sound of serious ever present, “he says. In his view, the music he has to propose is essentially to feel live, even because the elements that constitute it are there that seem to gain a body, whether from “punk, Cape Verdean music or bass music.”

If punk is a cry of revolt, the funaná, in general perception, seems to be partying. They seem like two realities that do not touch each other. “Wrong!” Exclaims Marcus. “The funaná that most of the people know is dance and dance, but in fact it is also suffered, it is the blues of Cape Verde. It’s street. The composition itself is simple, repetitive, just a few chords and in this sense it is close to punk. There is no great virtuosity. It’s work music, lament and revolt even if it’s danceable. ”

One hears the intense and physical music of Scúru Fitchádu and it is perceived that it comes from the entrails, populated by a whirlwind of emotions that long people the imaginary of Marcus. Why have not they been patented before? “Every day I think about it,” says the 37-year-old musician. “Why did not this come sooner if it always lived within me? Do not know. But glad it came out now. A few years ago maybe it was too soon and I did not have the same kind of answers I’m getting now. Maybe, just, it was not the right time to do it more maturely. “One thing is certain, he says, the music he is now exhibiting has grown with him, it is not posture. “I’m still the

same as always, the guy who sometimes has to count the change to pay for coffee. I am even more anarchic than I was. And I have no interest in going the other way. ”

With such an affirmative peculiarity, conquered with some concerts and half a dozen subjects like Ken ki frâ, S’ma laba burkan or Ravoluçan ketu, there is the curiosity in knowing what is going to follow. In question are several unknowns, between maintaining a sound so vigorous or make it more transverse, at the risk of taming. “I know all these dangers,” he says, “and I do not intend to polish or make the sound more breathable to reach more people. I want to continue to fiddle with the people who realize what is being done here. “And he concludes:” This is not easy music. It is music of emotions and combat. I do not pretend to make people feel good. I want them to truly feel what is being done. ”

27/10/2017, Público

by Vítor Belanciano
Palcos | 2 April 2019 | funaná, Punk, Scúru Fitchádu