Portuguese Weddings – A Different Kind of Latin

December 2, 2018 by Michael Cordeiro

The 200th edition of Mobile Beat Magazine just dropped. That’s amazing in itself. The articles on cultural wedding music are spot on. Although, one area I believe needs a little more clarification is the genre of Latin music. This genre seems to encompass everything from Spanish, Reggaeton, Caribbean, Tex Mex and Brazilian. The truth is that they are all very different in origin, tradition and cultural influence.

Although the Portuguese language is Latin based, traditional Portuguese music is very different from what is considered “Latin”. Culturally, old style Portuguese music or Fados sounds more Italian or Greek than Latin. Modern Portuguese music is influenced by the sounds and rhythms coming out of Ibiza and artists like Michael Telo and Pitbull.

During the age of exploration Portuguese sailors like Vasco De Gama & Prince Henry the Navigator claimed and conquered many territories around the world. Most notably Brazil, the Cape Verde islands and Angola. The people of these countries still speak a variation of Portuguese, but they Do Not consider themselves Portuguese at all. People from Brazil are Brazilian and people from Cape Verde are Cape Verdean.

Why the history lesson? It is all too convenient to lump everyone into a generic category. Without understanding the subtle cultural differences between peoples, it’s all to easy for us to offend our clients, their guests and fail miserably. Working a culturally influenced wedding requires you to learn more about the culture than just song titles. Prime example – Danza Kuduro. If you believe that it’s a Spanish Reggaeton song, you would be (as we say in New England) Wicked Wrong.

Danza Kuduro is a Portuguese/ Spanish language song performed by Lucenzo ( a French artist of Portuguese descent) and Don Omar. The word Ku-duro is actually two words in Portuguese literally translating as “hard ass”. It comes from a style of dancing that originated in Angola ( a Portuguese colony in Africa) and became popular in mainland Portugal. Many people thought the song was Brazilian because it was featured on the soundtrack of Fast and Furious Five (truth is that there was a Brazilian Portuguese remix made, but that’s not the version everyone uses). Don’t you feel smarter already?

If you really want to make a difference and take your performance to the next level, educate yourself about the history, culture and traditions your clients grew up with. Adding just a few simple cultural phrases or traditional dances to their wedding reception can make you the hero and show that you really care about the outcome of your events. If you need some suggestions for Portuguese wedding music please email me at: mikecmobilebeat@gmail.com
I’m happy to help.

Filed Under: DJing Weddings, Event DJ Tips, Mobile DJ Business, Mobile DJ Career Development, Mobile DJ Misc, Mobile DJ Performance Tips