Atenção Senhores Ouvintes.


Ever the archivist at heart, my father, Francisco Alvelos, had the foresight of recording the national radio and television broadcasts of the Portuguese 1974 revolution as it unfolded. Just audio, that is, home video was still years away, as was colour TV…

By chance I came across this cassette tape yesterday, and took great care in digitising it as it might not survive one last playback. It did snap once, but I managed to glue it back together…

This digitising process brought vivid memories of my father. And somehow I felt I was fulfilling his wish, rendered audible almost 42 years ago: to preserve and convey a historical document for future generations to remember and interpret.

After editing out all the music (essentially a lot of ballads and marching band anthems), here are all the newsflashes and the first public address of the Revolution Council to the nation. I was then seven, and remember us sitting in front of the TV, my parents’ expressions of expectancy and excitement an obvious indicator that something major was taking place.

At minute 18 we hear a declaration explaining the motives for the military upsurge. Remarkable how much of what is said still resonates in 2016. And how timely that I found this recording on the eve of the Portuguese presidential election. The last 30 seconds, the tail-end of the junta declaration and the ensuing silence, are eerie in their prescience. “What now?”, the fumbling silence seems to ask. Still does.

This is for you, dad. You do live.