Ornatos Violeta were an influential Portuguese alternative rock group whose music was informed as much by jazz and ska as the dominant guitar rock format of the time. The band was formed in the city of Porto, in 1991.
With Manel Cruz (vocals), Nuno Prata (bass), Peixe (guitar), Kinörm (drums) and Elísio Donas (keyboard) and only two albums, they quickly became a reference in Portuguese music at the end of the 90’s, despite the most successful part of their career lasting for only three years, ending when its members split up.
In 1997 they composed Cão (Dog!) their first album - which included the song Letra S, a duet with Manuela Azevedo, the vocalist of Clã - an album where the group showed, for the first time, an interest in exploring their broader influences and Cruz’s unique writing style, much to their fan’s and most of the national musical critics’, delight. In the following year, during the Expo 98 they collaborated in the compilation Tejo Beat which also highlighted Boss AC, Blasted Mechanism, Zen (band) and Flood (band) with the song ‘Tempo de Nascer’. Their last album, O Monstro Precisa De Amigos (The Monster Needs Friends), came out in 1999, with a more thought-through production, and generally speaking, a less active and calmer style. The album contained the singles ‘Ouvi Dizer’ (I heard around), a duet with the older Portuguese musician Vitor Espadinha, and Capitão Romance, with Gordon Gano, vocalist of the well-known Violent Femmes. It was also during that year that they helped to produce XX Anos XX Bandas, a tribute to the Portuguese band Xutos e Pontapés, with a cover of Xutos’ song Circo de Feras.
After some speculation about the group’s future, Ornatos Violeta split in 2002. Fortunately for their fans, Pluto appeared, being a more traditional rock group, with Manel Cruz (vocalist + second guitar) and Peixe (main guitar), and more recently SuperNada, currently recording their debut album.
- 1997 - Cão!
- 1999 - O Monstro precisa de Amigos