Portugal: New annual music festival in honour of Carlos Paião

by Roy Knoops 1,108 views

The Portuguese municipality Ílhavo is all set to launch a new music festival which will be a tribute to Carlos Paião, beloved singer and 1981 Eurovision representative.

Carlos Paião would have celebrated his sixtieth birthday on 1 November. The popular Portuguese singer, who was born in Coimbra and lived in Ílhavo from an early age, passed away in a tragic car accident in 1988, aged 30, an event that deeply effected Portugal.

In honour of the artist, the municipality Ílhavo is launching a new annual music festival, the Milha – Festa da Música e dos Músicos de Ílhavo (The Mile – Festival of Music and Musicians of Ílhavo). The first edition will take place from Friday 3 November to Sunday 5 November.

The music festival Milha is an initiative of municipal cultural project 23 Milhas (23 Miles) in collaboration with the association Cais do Som. 23 Milhas’ programme director Luís Ferreira says about the festival:

With an unusual route in national popular music, Carlos Paião is a symbol of Ílhavo and, simultaneously, of Portugal. (…) We want it to be an inspiration for all the musicians of the county, for his example, quality and ambition.

600 musicians to take part

The first edition of the Milha will feature some 600 musicians. The festival will include ten concerts, to be held at the Casa da Cultura (House of Culture) in Ílhavo and the Fábrica das Ideias (Factory of Ideas) in neighbouring Gafanha da Nazaré.

Furthermore, two special workshops will be available that focus on Carlos Paião’s works, one aimed at families, the other at schools.

Luís Ferreira explains:

The groups and artists that make up the Milha are challenged to interact, share and create, streamlining the county’s musical production, establishing bridges between the various agents and creating, from here, an annual challenge that will constitute a permanent platform for contact between the pairs.

The Milha is thus more than a tribute to Carlos Paião, it is a dedication to the artists’ creativity and contribution to the Portuguese musical scene, and wants to continue the spirit of Portuguese artistry.

Luís Ferreira says:

This first edition is only a clue of what we intend to do, since we want to create a ‘cultural scene’ in Ílhavo, locally boosting actions that have national aspirations.

Bands and acts unite

The highlight of the festival will be on Sunday 5 November, when two philharmonic bands of the municipality will take to the stage of the Fábrica das Ideias (in Gafanha da Nazaré). Together with a line-up of solo artists and participants of the workshops, the bands will interpret and perform part of Carlos Paião’s repertoire.

Milha – Festa da Música e dos Músicos de Ílhavo will be held from Friday 3 November to Sunday 5 November in the municipality Ílhavo, Portugal. The festival is free of admission.

For all information about the festival and its programme, please visit the official website or Facebook page.

About Carlos Paião

Carlos Manuel de Marques Paião (Coimbra, 1957) was a prolific Portuguese singer-songwriter, who wrote some 500 songs during his career, many of which became hits. He graduated in medicine from the University of Lisbon, but ultimately followed his true passion: music.

In 1981, Carlos Paião won the Festival da Canção with his song Playback, and thus represented Portugal at the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin, Ireland.

Playback is a satirical yet entertaining song about artists who choose to playback instead of singing live, represented on the Eurovision stage by backing vocalists Pedro Calvinho, Cristina Águas, Ana Bola and Peter Petersen acting as uninspired robots. Eventually, Carlos Paião and Playback from Portugal earned a shared 18th place alongside Turkey, both countries earning 9 points.

Despite the result at Eurovision, Carlos Paião continued his successful career, composing many hits, both for himself and other artists, including Pó-de-arroz, Souvenir de Portugal, Cinderela and Vinho do Porto, a duet with singer Cândida Branca Flor.

In 1988, Carlos Paião died in a tragic car accident near Rio Maior, Santarém, just a few months before his 31st birthday. The accident shocked Portugal, and Carlos Paião remains one of the countries most beloved musical icons, honoured for his artistry and creativity.

Enjoy Carlos Paião performing Playback at Eurovision 1981: