Boa Vida

Boa Vida

LP – Nov 2022

“Lisboa” filmed by Paulo Ribeiro Baptista, 2020, music written and performed by Sam Lou Talbot.

In the White City (1983) (Dans la ville blanche), directed by Swiss filmmaker, Alain Tanner, is a film to get lost in. Much of the footage was improvised. Bruno Ganz plays Paul, a sailor on an oil tanker, who jumps ship in Lisbon. He then rents a room and roams the city, shooting Super-8 footage and sending letters home to his wife, Élisa. One day, he happens upon the feisty brunette, Rosa, a waitress with whom he starts an affair. He continues to send letters home, whilst becoming increasingly disenchanted with his newfound lot. Finally, Élisa issues an ultimatum, and his romance with Rosa dissolves.

Boa Vida (Good life, good life, in Portuguese) is a record of love gone wrong on accordion, guitar, piano, glockenspiel, and voice, recorded in the vocal booth at Hunter Hall West Studios, Glasgow, during the lockdowns of COVID-19. It is this an album steered by mitigation, restrictions, temporary reprieves, and the nostalgia for a contemporary fantasy of disappearance – mostly from the internet. However, the music and moving image collaboration with Ribeiro Baptista was only possible due to the internet. In its eternal drift the album speaks to popular music and cultural materialities of journeys and notions of travel.

The official music video was filmed on location in Lisboa in February 2021 by Portuguese photographer Paulo Ribeiro Baptista. The process was as follows: he listened to the song several times to get a feel for it, then wandered around the empty city, with a steady cam. In so doing, he sheds light upon the city, from its panoramic vistas and their glowing lamps, to the worn-out facades of the passages scarred with vegetation and rendered minimalist under a monochrome filter, ending upon the banks of The River Tagus, where a ship is caught departing the frame.

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