Music from the anti-nuclear movement: Portugal

Laka has a large collection of music supporting the anti-nuclear struggle. The collection focusses on officially released music, but if appropriate added some digital content too. Music is part of Laka's 'special collections' - the culture of the international anti-nuclear movement - which also includes anti-nuclear songbooks, posters and graphic novels.

On March 15, 1976, the population of Ferrel (a parish in the municipality of Peniche) took to the streets and interrupted the constructionwork on the nuclear power plant, closed the open trenches and warned that if it was restarted, they would return to destroy what had been done. This marked the beginning of environmental and anti-nuclear protests in Portugal. Ferrel's anti-nuclear movement received a lot of support from outside the municipality culminating in the January 21 and 22, 1978 Festival for Life and Against Nuclear Power, which was attended by around 2,000 people. The festival featured a large concert in support of the environmental and anti-nuclear struggle. Construction at Ferrel was officially cancelled.
In 1982 a revival of the anti-nuclear struggle took place when it became known that negotiations were taking place with Spain for participation in the construction of the Sayago (Zamoro) nuclear power plant. Hence a few release to support the anti-nuclear cause. The construction of Sayago was cancelled by Spain definitely in 1984.

Se Tu Fores Ver O Mar (Rosalinda)
1977, 7” single

Carlos Fausto Bordalo Gomes Dias (1948), better known as Fausto, is a Portuguese composer and singer. He grew up and formed his first band in the Portuguese overseas province of Angola. At twenty, he moved to Lisbon and studied political and social sciences and released its first album. During the Portuguese Colonial War he refused to perform military service. He became associated with political activists and artists in the folkscene, some of them still in exile. Fausto was one of the Portuguese artists involved in the environmental movement and he participated in the successful struggle against the plans to built a nuclear power plant at Ferrel. He was one of the headliners at the Pela Vida protest on January 21 & 22, 1978, dedicating this song to Ferrel and the struggle of its residents. Se Tu Fores Ver O Mar (If you want to see the sea) is mainly about pollution of the beaches and sea by the (oil) industry (‘ Yesterday's white sand is full of tar / The wind-swept dunes / Are plastic and coal / And stink like avenues’) and also talks about the possible construction of a nuclear reactor at Ferrel: This is civilisation / So said a gentleman / Be careful.

Pedro Barroso
Em Ferrel
1979, 7” single

Pedro Barroso (1950-2020) became one of the most well known and liked performers from the Portuguese political folkscene. He was often called one of the last “troubadours”. Feelings of revolt emerge from his lyrics and from his powerful voice that are characteristic of his entire career. On his public debut on television, in December 1969, the lyrics of one of the three songs he sang had to be changed at the last minute, due to Censorship. In three or four minutes he changed a few lines: the message against the colonial wars, he thought, was still there, “but the truth is that I turned a protest song into a love song”. In 1975, a year after the Carnation Revolution from April 1974, he released his second single 1º de Maio / Medicina Social. He became part of FAPIR (Front of Popular Artists and Revolutionary Intellectuals) and took part in a number of shows, which also included José Afonso, Sérgio Godinho, Fausto, José Mário Branco, among others: “It was believed that friendship, solidarity and generosity would be eternal.”
Pedro Barroso was also one of the headliners at the Pela Vida festival in January 1978 against the planned construction at Ferrel. He wrote this song Em Ferrel (In Ferrel) about being part of that movement: “I've been there too and sung / to tell those people / that Nature has a law / you can't be indifferent to it”. The b-side Canção ao Rio Almonda deals with the problem of pollution of the Almonda River caused by the tanning industry. On the backsleeve a personal message: “In short, the choice is really going to be: Ecology or death. Think about it, companheiro”.

Nuclear (À Beira Mar)
1982, 7” single

Manifesto was formed in the late 1970’s and made a "decisive contribution” to the politicization of rock and Você é um Homem Livre (You are a Free Man) was the first political manifesto in Portuguese rock". However, their message of resistance and indignation wouldn't get through and they broke up at the end of 1982.
Manifesto recorded only two singles: Nuclear (à Beira Mar) being the socond. Unfortunately many of their songs were never recorded, like Maio Vermelho (Red May), which was written in the aftermath of the events of May 1, 1981, in Porto, during which protesters were brutally repressed and two people died as a result of police gunfire. Other songs deal with workers rights and prostitution. They toured alongside the biggest bands of the time: amongst them Lena d'Água e a Banda Atlântida.
Two of the Manifesto members, Tovim and Malva, were part of the Victor Jara Brigade; one of the most influential bands of Portuguese folk. The band – named after Chilean poet and singer Victor Jara, murdered shortly after Pinochet's coup on September 11th, 1973 – was formed in 1975 with a career of more than 40 years.

Lena D'Água & Atlântida
Nuclear Nao, Obrigado
1982, 12" maxisingle

In 1982, Lena D’Aqua (1958) and her new band Atlantida were on the top of the Portuguese rockscene when she released the song Nuclear Nao, Obrigado (Nuclear, no thanks). The year before, in May 1981, their single "Robot/Armagedom" had been number 1 in the Top 20 sales chart and was one of the biggest hits of the year. Their 1982 album, Perto de Ti, with the track, was one of the best selling Portuguese albums in 1982, and Lena d'Água was already one of the few female voices to be reckoned with at the beginning of that decade. She released Nuclear Nao, Obrigado as an extra track on the 12” promo single Demagogia. “If we want energy / without poisoning the air / We have the heat of the sun / the wind and the power of the sea / Nuclear, no thank you”. The song was so popular that it was included in at least four Lena D’Agua compilation albums, the last one from 2014.

Lena D'Água & Atlântida
Perto De Ti
1982, vinyl album