Portuguese-Canadian-Swedish indie Folk Rock collective Lusitanian Ghosts will release their second album “Exotic Quixotic” in November, recorded on analogue tape and mixed by Sebastian Muxfeldt (Elbow, Peter Doherty, Teenage Fanclub) at Hamburg’s Clouds Hills Studios and featuring ancient Portuguese chordophones and other European string instruments.
Ahead of this, they present the “Soul Deranium” single – a vibrant taster of the sonic prism through which they present ancient sounds in the 21st Century. Purchase and stream the track through the Bandcamp player below:
Re-casting heritage folk violas into rock and roll songs, the collective writes from a socio-political perspective about building a better world, creating songs from and for the heart and the mind. Their compositions mix indie songwriting with traditional Portuguese instruments like the Beiroa, Campaniça, Braguesa, Terceirense and Amarantina guitars – or violas as they are called in Portugal: each with its own string arrangements and tunings.
Founded in 2015, Lusitanian Ghosts are Neil Leyton, Mikael Lundin (a.k.a. Micke Ghost), João Sousa, Omiri, O Gajo, Abel Beja, Janne Olson and other artists that come and go within the collective. The genesis of the band happened when Neil Leyton brought Micke Ghost a Viola Amarantina from Lisbon to Stockholm, and their subsequently performance in Portugal, opening for Primitive Reason on the Ericeira beach.
Their debut self-titled album, recorded at Portugal’s Canoa Studios and produced by Ricardo Ferreira, was a successful experiment in mixing the various regional Lusitanian (Portuguese) chordophones with what has come to be the band’s unique brand of singer-songwriter rock n roll.
The feature documentary film ‘Lusitanian Ghosts: Making Of the Lusitanian Ghosts debut album – Chordophone Rock n Roll’ elucidates on why most of these Portuguese ancient instruments have become forgotten – almost extinct – over time. These historic instruments… they are the real Lusitanian Ghosts.
Whereas the first album features ancient Portuguese chordophones over a basic rock and roll setup of guitar, bass and drums, they’ve now totally done away with the guitars for the new album. This experimental folk-rock singer-songwriter record has only chordophones – the violas Amarantina, Braguesa, Terceira and Campaniça – along with bass and drums. Even the snare was replaced on many songs with the Adufe, a Portuguese square drum.
“Micke sang some great Swedish mambos over this tune, and asked me whether “Deranium” was actually a word in English. “Sure, why not?” I replied. If Marc Bolan can sing about Futuristic Dragons and Cosmic Dancers, I wanna open the album with a reverie song, about the killing of an evil President of the United States whilst engaging in ludicrous amounts of gun totin’ self-indulgent passion. All made up, of course. We don’t believe in killing anyone, most of the time. Outcomes, outcomes,” says Neil Leyton.
“I guess after committing a crime that serious some kind of soul deranium must occur. It’s a great opening track for the album. Sets the tone just right,” says Micke Ghost.
“This is all Chordophone violas from Portugal – namely the viola Amarantina, Braguesa, Campaniça and Terceira, played by the Lusitanian Ghosts collective including Canadian-Portuguese artist Neil Leyton, Micke Ghost (the first Swede to play the viola Amarantina!), Vasco Ribeiro Casais aka OMIRI (Portugal), Abel Beja (USA/Portugal, viola Terceira from the Azores), João Sousa on drums (sometimes replacing the snare with the Portuguese square drum Adufe) and Jan-Eric Olson on bass. But not just bass! Janne borrowed O Gajo’s viola Campaniça for some extra dark licks. Chordophone rock n roll, Alt-Folk, Urban-Country-Folk, however it gets labelled what should come across are the humanist messages in these songs.“
“Soul Deranium! is out now, available everywhere online, including Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp, where the full ‘Exotic Quixotic’ album, slated for release on November 19, is already available for pre-order via the European Phonographic label. No six strings were harmed in the making of this record.
01. Soul Deranium
02. Never Less Than Lonely
03. All the Sounds
04. Exotic Quixotic
05. Older and Colder
06. Living One Life (Just Ain’t Enough These Days)
07. For the Wicked
08. Lisbon Calling
09. She Couldn’t Jump
10. Live the Flea