By Clara Tehrani
Despite having just gone through a long weekend of parties, I cannot help but count down to this Thursday when Lisbon’s most acclaimed club, Lux Frágil, will host the launch of Labareda’s second release.
If you’re not into Lisbon’s electronic music scene, it’s likely that the previous paragraph didn’t ring any bells. But trust me, when you’re done with this read — and if by any chance you take my suggestion and press play on the Soundcloud links below — you’ll be glad to have done so.
Labareda means blaze, or flare in sweet old-school way. And that’s exactly what Sonja P. Câmara — a DJ originally from Madeira but part of Lisbon scene for some time now — meant when she launched the label back in 2014: to set the cosiness of the Portuguese electronic music scene afire; to open minds to new soundscapes, and showcase what’s beyond your regular Friday night at the club. Always in a sweetly provocative old-school way: the lo-fi image with intimate hand-sketches by Sonja herself and the release formats add authenticity to the project.
There are many dimensions to this Labareda, but surely the most important one is music. After a year living in Beijing, and getting acquainted (and fascinated) with the underground scene in China, Sonja returned to Lisbon with ‘Xina Electrónica’ in mind. Following months of hard work, the eight-track compilation “of electronic music only and purely made in CHINA. Its dance floor and room floor and mind floor and noise floor”, as the label puts it, was made available in digital and cassette.
And now, on March 31, at Lux Frágil, Labareda is about to launch a truly extraordinary piece: a double album featuring female Portuguese artists exclusively. It’s not a silly ‘girl-power’ growl to be dismissed cynically but rather a modern femininity statement, celebrating the creative prowess of Portuguese women who still seem to have to work harder than their male counterparts. “There are many texts and opinions about the Portuguese scene. But seldom or never is there a mention to women. With this compilation that brings together such different universes, my intention is to show there is a significant number of women giving all they’ve got, and making grinds move,” says Sonja P. Câmara.
This impressive collection of originals showcases artists “from the most experimental and solitary to the most public and assembling” sides of electronic music: Joana Escoval, Raw Forest, Poly Garbo, Clothilde, Jejuno, Hale-bopp, Iris and Anabela Duarte sign the trippy ambient tracks of Volume 1, and Violet — who has recently made Donatella Versace’s barometer on The Sunday Times —, Caroline Lethô, Emauz, Inês Duarte, Ednd, Sheri Vari, Yellow, TrigHer, Joanna Jago and mariavapordagua make the dance-floor skewed Volume 2.
The albums are now available for streaming and download on Labareda’s bandcamp. From April 1 onwards, the albums may be purchased in cassette for those who still have a tape player — or simply a nostalgic heart.
Enjoy the listen. Enjoy the week.