Last summer, two Portuguese musicians from Madeira Island converged their high-class musical talents with their passionate addictions to folk rock and formed a band brimming with a vivacious love for life.
Composed of self-taught guitarist and vocalist Diomar Rocha, proficient saxophonist and singer Simão Ferreira, and the most recently added top-dog accordionist Gerson Santos, SLÁINTE! is this band’s way of saying “Cheers to life!” Heavily influenced by groups like The Pogues and The Waterboys, the trio uses their individual expertise to radiate a glistening light on anyone willing to listen.
Just recently, SLÁINTE! released their debut 3-track EP Cold February that derived off the inspiration Ferreira gathered during his time studying music in Tallinn (Estonia’s capital city, which is featured on the record’s title cover). The love he felt there and the nostalgia he felt at home paved a direct route to the first song on the album “Tallinn,” a treasured ode to the city that started it all.
Anywhere that feels like a safe haven should never be taken for granted but rather praised and appreciated for all it has to offer, and as Ferreira’s smooth saxophone skills take the spotlight, this song – with its sweet reminiscence and enticing jazz elements – reminds you of the prominence of home, no matter where it lies, or how long you’ve resided.
Love is in the air for second track “You’re the One” as an easy-going, lively melody featuring notable songstress Isabel Gonçaves accompanies a foot-stomping get-up-and-dance beat laden with spirit and devotion. This time, the sax and accordion team up to convey an aura of pure, sunny elation that leaves a contented smile capable of stretching for miles.
Finishing off the triangulation, the feeling of missing someone inspires final tune, “In Her Arms,” where the ambient intro of an acoustic guitar and tambourine completely changes gears around the one-and-a-half minute mark to an all-around traditional, Portugal-style jam session similar to moments found in the track’s previous companion. Fast, thumping drums provide support for the lively accordion solos, igniting in a sensationally fun bash that compels you to freely groove to the festive rhythm.
Off to a propitious start, SLÁINTE! awards their listeners with a fresh, inventive sound that, until now, we Americans had yet to be effectively introduced to. But thank God we weren’t too late.