Lusitanian Ghosts Exotic Quixotic
This album is about living your life against the odds, believing in yourself and doing right by every moment - being Quixotic, if you can view madness in a positive way, says Neil Leyton, the Lisbon-born songwriter and producer who founded the Lusitanian Ghosts collective with Swedish musician Micke Ghost to recast the lost chordophone violas, regional instruments of Lusitania (ancient Portugal), as the basis of their socially-charged 21st century indie folk-rock. At turns heady, rousing and reflective, Exotic Quixotic follows Lusitanian Ghosts' self-titled 2019 debut, an album where the traditional rock set-up of guitar, bass and drums foregrounded the near-extinct sounds of chordophones, regional string instruments some of which almost went extinct in the 20th century. Lusitanian Ghosts was born from a desire not just to save these instruments from extinction, but to explore their relevance in contemporary life. The resulting sound recalls the folk indie rock approach of recent years while building on ancient European tradition and the sense of solidarity with the dispossessed, with the outsider. Now the modern six-string guitar is absent entirely, replaced with chordophones, namely the violas Amarantina, Braguesa, Terceira and Campaniça. Even the snare of drummer and percussionist João Sousa has been replaced on several tracks by the Adufe, a square tambourine-style percussion piece of Moorish origin. Musically, it's all chordophones, bass and percussion, but thematically Exotic Quixotic delivers a quiet undercurrent of socio-political messages of anti-fascism, freedom and hope: 10 different snapshots on life, love and death. Recorded on tape at Clouds Hill studio in Hamburg during the course of a week, engineered and mixed by Sebastian Muxfeldt, the album was mastered next door at Soundgarden Studio by Florian Siller.