The Portuguese band Beduínos a Gasóleo first came into being in the late 1990's, more precisely in 1997.
As it was then, the project could be described as classic rock, with some progressive notes. The longest lasting band formation in those days included José Leal (voice), Marko (bass), René (drums), Luís Manuel Oliveira (guitars) and José Carlos Fialho (keyboards). There is only one recording of that iteration, the song Sense of Purpose in the album In Passing, a tribute to the late Adrian Borland (leader of the new wave band The Sound). The album, which includes musicians and bands from allover the globe, was published by the American "indie" label Pathos Music, and has been sold out for some years now.
In 2004, the band's creative core (Fialho and Oliveira) resolved to venture into a more ambitious kind of music (a goal that had long been spoken of), and the existing band was broken up, with the two continuing to write and compose new material.
Their work was fruitful, and, in 2005, the two author/composers decided to launch the "new" Beduínos a Gasóleo, in order to explore the new material. The band was complete with the addition of Ricardo Leite (bass), Flávio Pena (drums) and Rita Guerreiro (voice).
This was the band's make up (minus Rita Guerreiro, since it was an instrumental) when "Convergir", an original by Fialho, was recorded for "Giant for an Hour", a tribute album honoring the band Gentle Giant, one of the greats in progressive rock.
In the summer of 2006, the band went into the newly-launched Groovin' High Studios, in Lisbon, to record the first long-play album of originals. Rita Guerreiro had left by then, which left the band with no lead vocalist. The problem was solved with an invitation to Petra, from the Portuguese blues band Nobody's Bizness, who would perform most of the vocals on this album.
The album is made up of long "epic" songs (except for a new version of "Convergir", included as a bonus tracks). One of them, inspired on an idea by Nuno Lourenço, of the Portugal Progressivo society, is loosely based on Canto IV of "The Lusiads", the epic poem by Luís de Camões, the sixteenth century poet who is the most famous of all Portuguese poets. The band invited the painter and writer Miguel Horta to write the lyrics, in collaboration with Fialho. The band was also
graced, for this part of the album, with a special participation by the singer Janita Salomé, in a symbiosis which might, to some, seem odd… but which turned out to be remarkably successful.
All the tracks, aside from the exceptions we mentioned above, were written by Fialho/Oliveira. All the lyrics are in Portuguese.
For this album, the band was "improved" by the exceptional participations of Paulo Chagas (sax/flute) and Fernando Simões (trombone).
The album was recorded and mixed by Paulo Muiños and mastered, in 2007, by Ars Lindberg (at the Praça das Flores Studios, Lisbon). The artistic and executive production was carried out by Fialho.
The cover and all other graphic aspects are by João Fonseca e Melo, with photography by Ana Fonseca.
All costs for making the album were paid solely by the band; it was published under their own label in October 2007.
There is only one thing left to say: the band's name (which translates as "diesel-powered Bedouins") is meant as an homage to the prematurely lost Portuguese journalist and science fiction writer João Botelho da Silva, who won a Prémio Caminho (awarded to that literary genre) with the novel "Beduínos a Gasóleo". After all, progressive rock and the science fiction/fantasy imaginary have always been companions...
Photo José António Domingues