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Why are songs taking part in the Portuguese Festival RTP da Canção considered by some people as weak and amateurish?


New member
November 24, 2019
Hello everybody:

Why are songs taking part in the Portuguese Festival RTP da Canção considered by some people as weak and amateurish?

According to several Portuguese sites on the subject, they try to dignify Portugal and show their flag, their culture, their language and their way of being on stage in 3 minutes because they identify more with in crescendo ballads and songs based on traditional Portuguese music instead of europop or Swedish schlager because it is their taste and sensitivity and this style enriches ESC as a cultural and artistic event which they regard as something very serious and professional, as well as a showcase where different musical cultures and traditions are shared and exchanged.

Furthermore, they believe that a good song needs good lyrics that tell a story and convey a message, a good melody that represents Portuguese roots and a good singer. According to them, a good example of this kind of songs they like would be: "Alvorada" by Vanessa, which was 3rd in the 2010 National Final.

All the best and sorry for my "brick", I'm diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and that's the way I express my feelings and emotions.
Carlos M.S.


Well-known member
April 20, 2015
A Bridge Too Far
There is probably no reply to your question because it's obvious. If the Portuguese want to live in a bubble they can, but that way you exclude all that you don't include. You don't solve the problem of others not including yours. For that to happen, if it doesn't come naturally, you need to bastardize that which you want to express or of course change your own ambitions. But I don't think it's fair to not lay down some more focused discourse on this as it's an interesting subject.

Whatever the Portuguese think of their own entries has no bearing on what people from other countries think of it. Any entry when viewed by a person is an entry made in a certain context viewed from a whole different context. As this context shifts certain aspects of the song are assessed differently and certain perceived qualities are lost in translation (with which I also mean the translation from one context to another). In general, people attuned to the global pop scene view entries rooted in folklore as nostalgic, but there are only so many codes of nostalgia that resonate within that scene. I guess the Portuguese simply haven't found a way to bridge that gap between what they want to convey and that which is perceived? I know the Dutch have tried for years to find a way to create viable cross-overs between Dutch culture and global pop, but at some point we gave that up and have performed admirably ever since (apart from Trijtje Oosterhuis that is). I think this is philosophically sound: if Eurovision is about reaching out to each other, it doesn't do to stay in your bubble and complain about others misunderstanding you. Given your Asperger I'm quite sure this sentiment is something you've pondered before. You will know the depth of it better than most.

Also, about this idea that a song has to tell a story: that's true, but the argument distilled leaves just vanity. Any song tells a story, either lyrically or musically. If people don't like that story or the way it's told, that's on them, but don't say the story isn't there.

Now, as preparation for this write-up I skimmed through the Portuguese entries for this year and it's pretty decent I guess? I hear some nods to what I think is Fado with these somewhat strange high-pitched guitar lines. Seems like a tasteful way to leave a bit of Portuguese heritage in there. Most entries I would certainly not call amateurish. I also listened to "Alvorada". What a piece. It's not amateurish, but it doesn't appeal to me either. What this is trying to do, I have no clue. The vocal melodies are way too complex and all over the place. The orchestral melodies are fighting each other just as much as they're harmonizing. There are two key changes. What the... Whatever story is in there is lost on me because there's just so much going on, all I get is chaos. I suspect it's the same for many people unaccustomed to this type of hyperbolic balladry.
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