“Homem em Catarse” is the name of Afonso Dorido’s solo project. The musician released his first album, a disc dedicated to the interior of Portugal.
Interview with Afonso Dorido:
“The most beautiful way to look inside”
Gonçalo Almeida 2 January, 2018
He is assumed to be passionate about the interior and the people who live there. More than sites, people. Afonso Dorido, the man who gives Man the voice in Catharsis, his alter ego, is much more than a musician. Even because a musician is never just that. In his solo repertoire he has two albums. One, totally dedicated to the interior of the country.
In 2015, Afonso Dorido ventured solo, while Homem em Catarse, and released the short record, Guarda Rios. The bug began to take shape and, two years later, his main work was born: Inner Travel is a hymn to the land and people of the interior.
“It all started spontaneously, after a visit to Covilhã and Évora. I felt that there is a beautiful interior that is in the shade and that is relegated by a ‘central power’ ”, he confesses.
Frame of the music video for the song Portalegre, from the album Viagem Interior
It is on him that he focuses all his work. “Inner Travel is playing an important role, as a factor of bringing people closer to that part of the country, which is almost always forgotten. That was the purpose of the album, by the way. It has served to promote and enhance the interior. Today, when I work outside the country, even, people are very curious to know the places I sing on this album ”, he says.
But let’s go back in time. Afonso Dorido starts to make music “more seriously” since the “times when Indignu” appeared, a Portuguese band, “but with influences from all over the world”. “It is often difficult for us to schedule concerts as a band because its members are spread over at least three continents,” said the singer.
His journey then began about 13 years ago, with the purpose of “revolutionizing everything”. Who said it was Graça Carvalho, violinist of the Indignu and close friend of Afonso, who divides his life between Barcelos and Cairo, in Egypt.
“The band emerged as did all garage bands at the time. A guy thinks he’s going to revolutionize everything and starts to bring people together ”. “Indignu are a group of people in an emotional discharge. Deep down it’s emotion and it’s an extension of us. Indignu are the extension of five souls ”, he adds.
At the band’s service, Afonso participated in the release of three original records. In March 2010, the first, Fetus in Fetu, appeared, an experimental album with the participation of Valter Hugo Mãe, which inaugurated both the band’s musical path and Afonso’s path as an artist. Later, in 2013, a new album is released: Odyssea, a conceptual album, with history and where the word rarely appears, giving rise to a purely instrumental musical experience.
Despite the name chosen for this album, there is “no direct or purposeful connection with Homer’s work”. “This being a dynamic story, with many ups and downs”, reminiscent of the post-rock discography of the booming Explosions in the Sky, “we decided to give this name well because that is what it represents”, said Afonso Dorido. “It indicates a journey that has a clear ending, but a dubious ending. It’s a journey, in the end, ”adds Graça Carvalho.
The “silence” of this record opens our minds. “You can read the music your way, because it opens and doesn’t close. It doesn’t tell you about social problems, unemployment, capitalism, anything. It’s just you and the silence of the music ”, says the singer.
This album, which came to sell almost as much abroad as in Portugal, was what catapulted Afonso Dorido’s band into the spotlight. From here, and with all the positive criticism of the media at the time, the Indignu left for their next adventure.
2016 was a very good year for the band and expectations were very high. It was in that same year that the third and, until now, last record work of the northern quintet appeared. Ophelia is, in addition to one of the most aesthetically beautiful albums in memory, a hymn to liberation through art.
The post-rock that composes it gives you the “strength that music needs to win”. The North Sea that opens the hosts of this disc extends to Jerusalem and ends in the dizzying catharsis of Santhiago do Schiele.
Afonso Dorido’s influences in the band became clearer with his solo adventure as Homem em Catarse, which became official in 2015, when he launched his first EP Guarda Rios. “Afonso has a value that exceeds that of a bandmate and even that of a creative companion. It is the type of person that everyone needs to carry out any enterprise. A guy with enormous talent. He usually strums his phrases on the guitar and sneaks them into the rehearsal room. Usually I pay immediate attention to you and the rest of the guys follow instinct at their own pace. There are parts of his themes only ”, confesses Graça Carvalho.
“Working with him is safe, and in creative and aesthetic terms we are highly compatible. I don’t know why he felt the need to play solo, but possibly it has to do with the fact that the Indignu sound is limited to a certain atmospheric and instrumental spectrum in its essence and very worked with the rest of the guys. Man in Catharsis is his poetic, artistic, personal, free and non-transferable manifesto. I think we don’t need reasons to fly alone ”, stressed the band’s violinist.
On a personal level, he lets himself be influenced by the “folk or progressive environment”. The singer says that he “likes to cross paths”. In their melodies you can easily see the cross between a ukelele and folk music. This solo work serves to reflect his personal form in catharsis. “Man (in Catharsis) refers to the human being as humanity and not as a masculine Man”.
It was with a song present in his first album, Mergulho no Cávado that was part of Fnac’s New Talents, in 2015. A “strange” feeling, since Afonso, at the time 32 years old, was already walking on the roads with his band for some time. “As a member of a band like Indignu, the individualities pass a little, and the band as a whole stands out more. Here, as a Man in Catharsis I can reach people and that appointment marked the height when people started to know my name ”.
“This project came up with a need to create something different that didn’t fit the band’s aesthetic. It is more of an entity and after launching Guarda Rios this difference became even more pronounced ”, said Afonso. The idea of creating a record, all dedicated to people and the countryside, was something that “crossed his mind for a long time”. The pleasure of giving voice to minorities forgotten by the advancement of time is their great motivation.
Ophélia – Indignu (2016)
River Guard – Man in Catharsis
Fetus in fetu – Indignu (2010)
Interior Travel – H. in Catharsis (2017)
Odyssea – Indignu
Filipe Miranda, producer of Viagem Interior, and member of the old Kafka and vocalist in The Partinson Seed, easily perceives the importance that this album has for Afonso Dorido. “Afonso has a passion for the interior and is attentive and genuinely concerned with the future in the interior of the country. I grew up on the coast, I am a person of the sea, with a wide and flat horizon. I do not share the same passion for the interior, although I also see the country as something whole and that has to be thought of in this way, taking care of people and places in improving living conditions ”.
Graça Carvalho maintains the same idea: “Afonso is an enthusiast for the countryside. It shows. It is watching him enjoy every weekend, and watching the sparkle in his eyes when he talks about the mountains and the lands and the people, but above all about the landscapes, what the eyes see. He is a natural poet ”. What made him move forward on this record was his “enthusiasm and commitment to things and people. It stands out from the rest of humanity for that very reason. He is contagious in his passion and that is transversal to his person and the musician ”.
Inner Travel pays homage to places like Tua, Portalegre, Vila Real, Évora, Tomar, Beja, Bragança, Monchique, Portas do Ródão, Lamego, Alqueva, Régua, Covilhã, Alcoutim, Monsanto, Mértola and Guarda. In total there are 17 venues sung on this album that was presented, curiously, on a train crossing between Lisbon and Sintra. A trip that took four years.
“Altogether it took me about four years to think, work and complete this record. Taking this route alone was more than a necessity. It was a path. It is a way of respecting your “me” and carrying out more personal things. I love to walk on the road in band, but I also like to do it alone. I love to travel, I love to know and it is sometimes therapeutic to go on the road alone in search of what you most enjoy doing in life ”, confessed Afonso Dorido.
Its evolution between discs was the subject of debate. In addition to the “spontaneity and inspiration” recognized by Graça Carvalho, there is “breath and ambition” added by Filipe Miranda. “Viagem Interior has a much greater breath, it is a more conceptual and more ambitious work at the artistic level. Although I think that Guarda Rios was a little triggering Afonso’s desire to do something more profound, it is an EP. Inner Travel is much more extensive ”.
Despite recognizing many weaknesses in the interior of the country, Afonso Dorido bears hope in the future of the cultural scene in his eyes: “I think that, fortunately, it is something that is beginning to change. Mayors of a new generation seem to look at the present with a different perspective. Betting on culture is not just betting “because yes”. Betting on culture is to awaken knowledge in people, show them new things and not offer more of the same year after year. There is a lot of “emigrant culture” in summer! And the rest? Populist and backward policies are the greatest enemy of cultural development ”.
All the weaknesses and the fear of betting on a cultural environment, on the part of the mayors who manage the villages and towns in the interior, was always the fault of “conformism”. “It is a fundamental issue, a pulley in some cases for decades combined with conformism and the fear of innovating. And that is precisely what will be most lacking: innovation and creativity. But how can this be done if young people are authentically “invited” to leave their homeland? ”, He asks. “It is necessary to fix people, fix the future”.
Afonso Dorido, in Homem em Catarse and, by drag, Indignu, represents what is most beautiful in the interior of the country: people. The singer concluded that his work “is the most beautiful way to look inside. Look at it as the future and give it back what has always been yours: people, people, proud of their traditions and at the same time looking to the future, embracing tomorrow with the same spontaneity with which they embrace their roots ”.
sem palavras | cem palavras
Ao Vivo na Porta 253
Mergulho no Cávado
Homem em Catarse EP
The melodic maturity of Man in Catharsis, leaves us “speechless, a hundred words”
Written by Carla Sancho on 24/01/2020 in Reviews
Afonso Dorido is an entire composer. Overlap the rhythms with respect and move the notes with tweezers so that they fit perfectly. There is always a sound that feeds the screen and that holds the structure of the music, from beginning to end. Introduce the melodic elements in the strings and assume the highness of the notes with awareness. Replies with affection the sweet and warm chords, which in this album show themselves very firmly. But when the sweet is too sweet it has the sobriety to call the composition a certain acidity, which gives it an intelligent balance.
This is the fourth original album by Homem em Catarse, having started purging in 2015 with Guarda Rios, a self-edited EP, and debuting in a long duration in 2017 with Viagem Interior, a journey to the main cities of deep Portugal . “Without words, a hundred words” is the continuation of the purge, it is the walk into us, it is a melodically purified and intense body that sometimes forces us to take a deeper breath.
“You were just a small sheet”, welcomes us to the compilation of ten themes that are no more than ten stories that come together in a hundred-word poem. Stories poetically composed in an eclecticism that immediately involves us in a first listening. A beginning of a brief but sophisticated delicacy, on a piano that does not venture to great flights because it does not need to assert itself. “Hey Vini!”, Held by the repeated beats of the 1980s and aligned with the steps, “one two three, one two three”. But soon the strumming of strings, so characteristic of Afonso’s guitar, overshadows the piece and brings us those breaths that spread through the grayest clouds, and accompany the flight of the owl that glides without noise. “Hotel Saturnyo“, is an electronic minimalism that projects us to intense and colorful neon lights in a downtown area, which could be Tokyo or Shanghai. Hurried melodic rhythms that quickly dissolve in the immensity of the city and are suspended in a thick layer of the atmosphere.
Without prior notice, the album moves to another dimension in the following three themes. I would almost dare to say that this is the moment of “speechless, Fico.” Three ballads united by the cry of the guitar and the tenderness of the violin. “I remember yourself when I don’t remember” is the most romantic tale of all corners, it is an immensely happy cry that overflows the soul with emotion. A dance for two, in line with the silhouette of the guitar that takes the oath of an accomplice love. And it is in this vow that “Maria Bonheur” appears in landscapes with earth colors, immersed in the diversity of rhythms that cross until almost the end of the song. But the guitar is momentarily alone and waits for the violin, which accompanies it very lightly and without haste until the last chord. “Calle del Amor” closes the romantic trio and with it the piano returns. More complex and more full-bodied, at a certain point it even rises a note of exaltation, but it quickly returns to be tender and breathe passionately.
When the synthesizer becomes organic it is a sign that nothing was done at random. The magnetic strings that support humanized rhythms, end up being evident in a good part of “Yo La Tengo“, the album’s release single. Voices in the background that enter the middle of the synthesized sounds and that alone close the theme. “Danças Marcianas”, are filled with premeditated electronic sounds and thought in the melodic fitting of the guitar. It is like driving on a narrow road, covered by a uniform line that fades over the horizon, in the middle of a fast-moving dawn. Almost finished, “Mar Adentro”, most probably the most faithful theme to the guitar of Man in Catharsis. Experimental without being minimalist, because it grows in the repetition and complexity of chords and strumming. “Mar Adentro” fills us with strong sounds capable of being chewed.
As if it were a breath of light and to finish, a piano shyly enters and gains space in the “House of small birds”. But quickly all the instruments are removed and leave us with our silence. “I am a believer in a poem as always”.
I would like to thank Joana Alma Soares for the beautiful indication, I did not know the work of Afonso Dorido, of extreme sensitivity, full of fingering and refined loops that lead us to a perfect synergy of emotions and feelings, wonderful artist.