Editorials & Opinion

Xtra’s pick of the 80s

It’s Wednesday, which means we throw ourselves back to the ’80s, where Simon feasts our eyes and ears with a EuroClub classic.

Portugal 1989: Da Vinci – Conquistador (16th place)

As a 9-year-old watching the 1989 contest, this song passed me by unnoticed, but if you’ve ever attended a Eurovision fan event, you’ll know that oddly ‘Conquistador’ is far harder to escape today.
Or is it that much of an oddity? It has a long list of magic ingredients to be a Eurofan favourite. Poor vocal execution, school concert choreography, upbeat with a catchy chorus, plus a performance with a touch of the aloof diva. In a hat.
This is to say nothing of the lyrics, which you’d not likely see in the modern time, the chorus reeling of a list of Portugal’s conquered lands.

Já fui ao Brasil, Praia e Bissau
Angola, Moçambique, Goa e Macau
Ai, fui até Timor
Já fui um conquistador

The english-version lyrics are a little more socio-politically correct, but no better; thank goodness.
In the 1980s, pop music embraced the synthesiser, and barely an organically made sound was heard in the charts. Eurovision, meanwhile, was rather orchestra-dependent, and so when Eurovision songs made the attempt at orchestrating the key musical characteristics of the time, it comes across as extra quaint and rather chintzy, listening with retrospective ears.
Da Vinci released new material throughout the ’80s and ’90s, but never had much international success. ‘Conquistador’ was their biggest selling single, although the song only made it to 16th place in a field of 22 at the contest in Lausanne. Though that’s not bad for Portugal.
Here’s the ubiquitous Suzy raiding the Portuguese archives for this golden nugget from the ’80s:

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