Portuguese-Canadian-Swedish alternative neo-folk collective Lusitanian Ghosts present ‘Exotic Quixotic’, their sophomore album, released via European Phonographic and featuring ancient Portuguese chordophones and other European string instruments. This is a brilliant taste of the sonic prism through which the Ghosts present ancient sounds in the 21st Century.
They also present a full-length video recording of their latest performance, filmed in the Portuguese town of Setabul.
Founded in 2015, Lusitanian Ghosts are Neil Leyton, Mikael Lundin (a.k.a. Micke Ghost), João Sousa, Omiri, O Gajo, Abel Beja, Janne Olson and other artists that come and go. Writing from a socio-political perspective about a better world, they create songs from and for the heart and mind. Their compositions mix indie songwriting with traditional Portuguese instruments like the Beiroa, Campaniça, Braguesa, Terceirense and Amarantina guitars (or violas as they are called in Portugal), each with its own string arrangements and tunings.
“This is the first record ever made that gathers these regional chordophones as the main protagonists, all on the same record. Whereas on the first Lusitanian Ghosts, we still used 6-string acoustic guitars and electric guitars, on this one we have abandoned them entirely in favour of just the chordophones leading this unique soundscape,” says Neil Leyton.
“It’s a record about life, love and death, but not featuring your usual reflections on those topics. We have songs about murder (we are against it unless it’s a really bad guy), songs about euthanasia (in favour of), songs about love and commitment from afar, songs about how selfish people are, songs that will probably be misinsterpreted the way that, say ‘Born in the USA’ or ‘A Design for Life’ were. And also a song about a dog that passed away. As for the title track, it’s about being a creative, humanist human being, rather than destroying and doing harm to other people and this world.”
“For this second album, we headed to the amazing Clouds Hill studio in Hamburg, which features beautiful analogue gear, old instruments, a great space and it is a live-in studio with an artist apartment downstairs. Bands like Gallon Drunk, Faust, artists like Pete Doherty and Omar Rodrigues-Lopez from At the Drive in record there. We stayed for about 8 days, tracking bass, drums and Amarantina live off the floor and then overdubbing the other chordophones, vocals, some percussion and keys,” recalls Neil Leyton.
Their debut self-titled album, recorded at Portugal’s Canoa Studios and produced by Ricardo Ferreira, mixed various regional Lusitanian (Portuguese) chordophones with the band’s unique brand of pop-rock. The documentary ‘Lusitanian Ghosts: Making Of the Lusitanian Ghosts debut album – Chordophone Rock n Roll’ elucidates on why most of these Portuguese ancient instruments (the real Lusitanian Ghosts) have become forgotten over time. For this new album, they’ve done away with the guitars, using only chordophones, along with bass and drums. Even the snare was replaced on many tracks with the Adufe, a Portuguese square drum.
Neil Leyton: Lead vocals
Mikael Lundin: viola Amarantina, backing vocals, bass, Mellotron, viola Campaniça. Lead vocals on ‘Exotic Quixotic’ and ‘Hometown’
João “Johnny” Sousa: drums and Adufe
Vasco Ribeiro Casais: viola Braguesa
Abel Beja: viola Terceira
Jan-Eric Olsson: bass and viola Campaniça
All songs by Neil Leyton and Mikael Lundin aka Micke Ghost
Published by Lusitanian Music Publishing
Recorded at Clouds Hill Studios, Hamburg
Engineered and Mixed by Sebastian Muxfeldt
Produced by Neil Leyton and Mikael Lundin
Mastered at Soundgarden by Florian Siller
Cover Illustration by Johan Lindberg Brusewitz
01. Soul Deranium
02. Never Less Than Lonely
03. All the Sounds
04. Exotic Quixotic
05. Older and Colder
06. Living One Life (Just Ain’t Enough These Days)
07. For the Wicked
08. Lisbon Calling
09. She Couldn’t Jump
10. Live the Flea