|#||Release title||Total tracks||Type of release is||Imprint date||Label|
|1||Circa 1999 (9 Implosões)||9||Audio||2003||Extremocidente|
|4||Sala Do Risco 01/10/1997 LIVE ep||3||Audio||2011-10-01||Not On Label (Bernardo Devlin Self-Released)|
|5||Sala Do Risco 01/10/1997 LIVE ep||3||Audio||2011-10-01||Not On Label (Bernardo Devlin Self-Released)|
|6||Chroma Key [Experience #2 - Live!]||3||Audio||2012-02-06||NAU (2)|
Bernardo Devlin is a singer-songwriter from Lisbon, PT
Having grown up in an artistic environment, Devlin was exposed to the visual arts from a very early age and this has informed his musical thinking far more than other orthodox approaches. However, it was out of his listening habits that his ideas started gaining shape. From 1985 on, he was involved with several groups in the area of Lisbon with names such as Lourenço Marques e as suas Próteses Dançantes, Jardim Orgânico or Electrodomésticos. All those projects revolved around the same line- up that later constituted the more featuring Osso Exótico, a group prone to musical experimentation that Devlin formed with David Maranha, André Maranha and António Forte in the fall of 1989. With Osso Exótico he recorded two albums (I and II) before moving out to Berlin in 1991, where he lived for three years. There, with help from German horn player Oliver Vogt, he recorded his first solo album World, Freehold (released by AnAnAnA in 1994) and also composed some original music for theatre.
“At the beginning, Osso Exótico was really important. But very soon I realized that if I wanted to achieve my personal goals I had to do it by myself. Also, I was about trying out disparate elements within the song form, which we very naturally did when it all started. But the more the things developed, the less the others were willing to do it. It was hard but very obvious that I had to leave”.
Back in Lisbon in 1994, Devlin started writing songs in a way he was aiming for a long time (also switching at this point from English to Portuguese in his lyrics), he got in touch with compatible people who happened to be musicians and together, on a single nighthawk acoustic session in a church in Oeiras, they recorded his second solo album Albedo (AnAnAnA,1997).
While developing his own approaches to the song form, Devlin has also been a composer for films on demand. In 2000 he wrote the music for the very acclaimed animation movie The Suspect, directed by José Miguel Ribeiro, and in the same year he won himself an award for the best original music for the Bahia Film Festival (Brazil) with the soundtrack for a short film called ‘A Testemunha’, directed by Fátima Ribeiro. Later he did the music for the twenty-six episodes of As Coisas Lá de Casa ('Household Things'), a TV series done by the same team of the aforementioned ‘The Suspect’.
By the fall of 2003, his third solo album Circa 1999 (9 Implosões) was released to local critical acclaim:
“Circa 1999 corresponds to one of those periods of discovery. Ideas seemed to bounce off endlessly, a more focused discipline settled in very naturally, and it all seemed to belong to a specific time and space. In that sense it was a sort of template for my personal way of working afterwards, to predetermine a period to write and compose that has nothing to do with a particular feeling of inspiration. It is a matter of just to start and keep doing it until anything becomes something.”
From 2004 to 2006, Devlin joined forces with british composer/pianist Andrew Poppy and both developed ‘August Rough’, a song cycle comprising twelve original songs. Devlin & Poppy performed twice in Lisbon:
“This one was a really rewarding experience, probably my most natural collaborative project ever. As time went by and I got used to the very solitary way of working solo, here was a situation where I learned that co-writing could be a way to move forwards. Some of those songs are amongst the best things I’ve ever worked on. Due to some unfortunate external factors and personal schedules, things didn’t advance further. Perhaps one day...”
Early in 2005, Devlin had begun working on his next solo project entitled Ágio, which put in evidence his passion for the electronic popular music heard in his juvenile years. So he described it by the time of its release in November 2008:
"These songs are punctuated by layers of live and programmed rhythms over which a heterodox line-up of musicians produced electric and electronic textures. The voice occupies silent zones, in some ways it draws inspiration out of the blank left by the unfulfilled modernist promise of 1970’s Lisbon and, possibly for the very same reason, the more minimalist writings of Samuel Beckett. However, the album follows the same poetical vein of my previous work and any sort of further explanation or definition might spoil a better reading of the songs."
2009 saw Devlin collaborating again with José Miguel Ribeiro on the latter's Sunday Drive. More recently there were two career highlights: Firstly, one composition titled “Lions: Far East and West” closed “Sea of Negligence”, the second album by virtuoso thereminist/singer/ songwriter Dorit Chrysler. Secondly, he participated on Andrew Poppy's Shiny Floor Shiny Ceiling, an electro-opera on which he played the part of Henry Fortune, The Lucky Horse, amongst a wide range of singers such as Claudia Brücken, James Gilchrist, Margaret Cameron, Guillermo Rozenthuler and Lula Pena.
Nevertheless, his main activity has been dominated by the writing and the production of Sic Transit, his fifth album. Perhaps the most immediate and accessible of them all, it displays a return to a more organic and natural sound:
“There was this very conscious desire to simplify, to make everything more direct, not in terms of coming up with any sort of bold statement, or so. A wish to capture the listener's attention without it becoming an extremely demanding experience.”
“Pretty much the same thing may be said of the lyrics. I mean, those are clear options if one determines it beforehand. So that throughout the whole process you don't even think about it anymore.”
“I know very well where all those words came from, and a lot of time was spent thinking, analysing, and eventually editing. But that has nothing to do with the moment of writing, on which I try to be the least intervenient as possible. When it gets triggered, I’m holding a pencil in my hand and just see how it gets sorted out, a bit like Sudoku. Often I trick myself by writing left-handed even though I am dexterous.”
“I trust on a definitive absoluteness in terms of how songs are perceived by other people. What one feels in the moment when things come to shape, I believe, it is exactly what someone else feels as listener, being an avid listener myself. The challenge is to make sure it happens so, and if you start messing things up too much, by adding unnecessary elements to the mix, or asking too many questions, it might loose its essentialness. Anyway, as many others have said before, it means that there isn’t an exact consciousness in terms of creative process. And one can't open it with a box full of tools.”
“About the use of portuguese language and its implications, the most formative moments came when I was between 14 and 18 years old. Around that time, my knowledge of other languages was way too limited to get the lyrics, even if there was a sheet I could read from. However, I could conjure up pictures in my head (in a way I simply can't do anymore) and later, when things got a bit more developed, and I came to read some of those lyrics, they were pretty much what I expected them to be. Thus, I'm not too worried that non-portuguese speakers might not get it.”