He gave Portugal its first win at the Eurovision Song Contest in May, and has had a packed schedule of performances and appearances since then.
But amid all of that Salvador Sobral has found time to join the Alexander Search project as the lead vocalist, singing under the name Benjamin Cymbra.
Yes, this may be a little confusing, but when working with the group Salvador goes by Benjamin. That’s because the Alexander Search band (created by pianist Júlio Resende) is inspired by Portugal’s famous poet Fernando Pessoa and the time he wrote in English while living in South Africa.
Pessoa is known for his countless heteronyms — one of them being Alexander Search — so every member of the band adopts a different character when on stage. Stop scratching your head and just go with it.
Salvador, err, Benjamin, lends his voice to the group’s 14-track album, which draws from a variety of genres. From indie-pop to electronic music to a bit of rock, Alexander Search occupies a new space in the Portuguese music industry…and one that few imagined existed until now.
“A Day of Sun” is the band’s first single and wiwibloggs had a quick chat with music expert and Portuguese Eurovision commentator Nuno Galopim about the surprising project.
“It is always a big challenge to dig into Fernando Pessoa’s writings and looking for what can work out as songs,” he says. “These words were the primary building blocks of a musical idea pianist Julio Resende worked on with a band tailored to honor a great poet.”
Known for his on-point music reviews, Mr. Galopim adds: “Alexander Search is a rock vision by a jazz pianist featuring electronics and the unique vocal approach of Benjamin Cymbra (Salvador Sobral). And what a delight this first single is. Moody, dreamy, but also adventurous.”
“The piano leads the way, but soon electronics spiral around, setting the scene for the voice. And then it’s up to the vocal line to deliver the song. An ambient ballad, ‘A Day of Sun’ balances light and melancholy, but like the title suggests, its a shining thing. And just one of the many reasons to dive further into the album.”
Alexander Search are set to take the stage at the “Super Bock Super Rock” music festival this summer, kicking off their first album tour in one of the best summer music festivals in Europe.
What do you think of Alexander Search’s first single? Do you prefer Salvador Sobral’s solo album to this one? Tell us in the comment section below!