With their eclectic debut Lisboa, Silva Lining deliver an array of sounds as rich as an heirloom family recipe.
It’s not too often that you see a band composed of three generations of the same family, but Silva Lining have put their ancestry on full display with their debut album, Lisboa.
The Lisbon-based trio is home to the Silva family of Nuno, Catarina and Tiago, and their recent project stands as a testament to both the Portuguese heritage that connects them and the English charm that raised them.
With traces of their native Lisbon and emigrant London, Silva Lining’s Lisboa is fittingly eclectic, drawing upon the Fado sounds of their hometown while paying homage to timeless genres of funk, jazz and rock.
The 12-track album features contributions from more than 12 musicians, who help plant the seeds of the Silvas’ family tree and make Lisboa blossom into an manifesto of the transformative power of family and music.
Lisboa opens with the jazz-flecked sounds of Let Yourself Be Free, a soulful number brimming with swing and blues notes, complex chords and an overall sense of free-wheeling improvisation.
Adorned in twangy guitar strums and regal brass sections, the album opener feels altogether resplendent, carried by an upbeat melody that feels destined for hip-swinging.
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The sound is helped along by rich vocals, which flit between ascendent harmonies and baritone grooves with finesse.
Pairing the liberative sound with equally uplifting lyrics, Let Yourself Be Free sees Silva Lining lust for freedom, and the sense of cathartic release that comes with it.
The layered instrumentation of the track remains a throughline for Lisboa, with the following title track adopting a swinging 50s feel without sacrificing the complex sonic texture.
At any given moment, Lisboa is playing with a broad array of instruments so lush they feel like a musical tapestry.
Whether they’re singing seductively in à la Connie Francis — as Catarina does on Lisboa — or delivering rustic finger-picked licks, Silva Lining have a clear affinity for their craft; one steeped in their heritage and brimming with all the warmth of a familial hug.
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Brass gets its moment in the sun on third track Peace of Mind, while the brooding Break Me sees the trio try their hand at slow-rock balladry.
This spirit of sonic diversity makes for a consistently compelling listen, saturating listeners with an eclectic array of sounds as rich as a generational family recipe.
From The First Time feels at once like a folk classic and a speakeasy-bound ditty, adorned in dazzling keyboard sections and a scene-stealing trumpet solo.
Elsewhere, the trio veer into acoustic territory on This Room, a welcome change of pace that recalls the brooding rock ballads of the 70s.
For a lesser band, this diversity of genres might prove too dizzying, but Silva Lining anchor their sound with a few recurring qualities; namely in their fondness for wind instruments and Nuno’s punchy percussive flairs.
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Funk takes centre stage on Moved In Haste, an ode to a fleeting romance that’s drenched in fuzzy riffs and backing doo-wop harmonies.
The subject of love is top of mind on Don’t Go, an acoustic reverie that sees Tiago pine for a former flame in the style of James Blunt’s Beautiful.
In what flows like a duet, Catarina seemingly responds to Don’t Go’s message with Call Me, a reminder of how she’ll “be right there” which makes room for pop-leaning vocal riffs (you’ll be humming the infectious “la-dee-da” run for days).
The influence of pop, though subtle, is clearest on penultimate track Falling, which might feel at home within the moody, punkish sounds of Evanescence.
Silva Lining’s efforts culminate on Lisboa closer You Are All That I Want To Be, which closes out the project on a thunderous note of sneering vocals and pop punk revelry.
With psychedelic flairs and the album’s noisiest instrumentation, the track is a worthy showcase of the trio’s unmatched ability to span the reaches of genre while maintaining a sense of cohesion.
Sprawling and effervescent, Lisboa is not just a love letter to family, but to the essence of music itself. Listen to Silva Lining’s debut album Lisboa below.
To find out more about this stellar release, we caught up with Silva Lining for a chat about Lisboa and the importance of family. Catch the full interview below.
HAPPY: What are you up to today?
SILVA: Well unfortunately we are working . Nuno Silva (the dad) is a music teacher, Catarina Silva (the sister) is a librarian at a primary school and Tiago Silva (the youngest of the Silva clan) works in finance.
We all come together to work on our music during our non-work hours.
HAPPY: Tell us about where you are from? What’s the scene like?
SILVA: We are a family between two cities, Lisbon in Portugal and London in the UK. Tiago was born in London and raised in Lisbon. Nuno and Catarina were born in Portugal but mostly raised in London.
Currently we are based in Lisbon, a city we absolutely adore. In fact, we love the city so much that we wrote a song called “Lisboa” (Lisbon in Portuguese), which is also the name of our debut album.
Lisbon is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city, filled with a lot of history and culture but mostly good food and wine (what else could we ask for).
HAPPY: Describe an average day?
SILVA: An average day is not the most exciting and consists mostly of Nuno and Catarina teaching (mostly dealing) with children of all ages while Tiago is usually knee deep in trading.
An average day when we focus on music is much more interesting as we spend multiple hours in the studio recording and writing songs.
HAPPY: Can you share more about your musical journey and what inspired you to start creating music together as a family?
SILVA: There’s no two ways about it, our musical journey starts with our lovely father Nuno. At the age of 12, Nuno fell for the ethereal sounds of Santana coming from his sister’s bedroom and discovered his love for drums and percussion.
Nuno’s musical presence has been a constant throughout both Tiago’s and Catarina’s lives so creating music together has essentially been innate for all of us.
HAPPY: Can you share some insights into the creative process behind your debut album “Lisboa”? How did the collaboration among over 12 musicians from different genres contribute to the album’s sound?
SILVA: The creative process starts with the composition and lyrics, usually between Tiago and Catarina (sometimes just Tiago).
Then we use our rather make-do home studio where Tiago arranges and writes all the musical parts (brass, bass, guitar, drums, strings etc.).
Next stage is to show the musicians so they can change their part and make it their own (we really encourage this as what Tiago prepares is just a guide).
After each musician is comfortable with their bit we go into the studio and record each part separately. Luckily we have a top notch producer (who is also our bassist) that not only mixes and masters each song, he also comes up with brilliant phrases/parts on each song.
When it comes to solos we try not to do anything until we are in the studio so the solo comes out fresh and a lot of the time we use the first take.
We have to mention that we are working with some of the best musicians in the country so this process is easier than perhaps it sounds. Though it is a lengthy process, it is extremely rewarding to hear the final product.
HAPPY: Growing up with a mix of cultural influences from Lisbon and London, how has this diversity shaped the band’s musical style and identity?
SILVA: We all lived in London so the huge music scene there made it easy to shape our tastes, from Jazz to Blues to Rock.
Nuno had a successful music career in London and he played in various bands and clubs all over the city which also had a huge influence on our music.
When we moved to Portugal, we experienced Fado (a melancholic genre of music originated in Portugal) first hand and we absolutely fell in love with the Portuguese guitar, an instrument that is rarely used in other genres.
We essentially got one of the top Portuguese guitar players and infused that sound with a swing jazz number for the song “Lisboa”.
HAPPY: Can you tell us about any specific themes or stories that inspired the songs on the “Lisboa” album?
SILVA: The song “Lisboa”, which is also the eponym for the album, was written by sibling duo Catarina & Tiago during the economic crisis in Portugal.
Although the lyrics mull over the economic hardship endured, mostly the emphasis is on pulling through with friends and family in the city we all love.
“Lisboa” takes you on a summer’s day journey through streets, bairros and avenidas where you can take in the sites and the people, smells and sounds floating around as you have a cool drink and dance to the music that envelops your spirit.
Given that inspiration for “Lisboa” struck after countless hours of listening to the 1920s icon Django Reinhardt, there was only one way forward for the music video, a roaring twenties theme filled with lavish costumes, cigars and champagne.
“Let Yourself Be Free”, our first single, was created in the aftermath of the global pandemic and when lockdown eased, parties were easy to come by and Tiago took full advantage.
The energy radiating from all the people Tiago crossed paths with inspired him to write “Let Yourself Be Free”, an ode to letting loose and a celebration to hanging out with friends once again.
We attempted to recapture this energy by essentially having a huge party and filming it. The party was a huge success and the soul of the song was definitely upheld.
The song includes eight musicians and starts with a rhythm to dance to and a melody to swoon, complete with percussion fills and snappy funky brass riffs.
“Break Me” is a timeless tale of heart break and the overwhelming feeling of defeat that emerges when a relationship proves to be a disappointment. However, with mental fortitude and an unyielding spirit, a moment in our life that feels interminable can be overcome.
Despite the serious theme underscoring the song, we decided that animation would best tell the tale of mental strength that is needed in times where the world feels inhospitable.
The video shows that, despite any chains that imprison our mind, with will power and a resilient spirit we can overcome any hardships; the best is always to focus on moments that bring us joy and inner peace.
Break Me is more than just a song about severing bonds it is about also about turning a new leaf, free of any constraints.
HAPPY: With three generations in the Silva family, how do you navigate the different musical preferences and influences to create a cohesive sound for the band?
SILVA: Luckily (or perhaps by design) we all have very similar tastes in music so a cohesive sound is not too hard to achieve. Also we will again mention the musicians that are a part of the Silva Lining Band as their contribution makes all the difference.
HAPPY: What challenges did you face in bringing together musicians from various genres, and how did you overcome those challenges to create a harmonious album?
It must be the calibre of musicians we work with because this was not very challenging at all.
We think the fact that we allow the musicians to have so much freedom to express themselves in our songs creates an inspirational atmosphere and brings out the best in everyone.
HAPPY: Are there any particular artists or bands that have significantly influenced the Silva Lining Band’s musical style?
SILVA: We would say there are a few bands that have had an influence on our music: Santana, Dave Matthews Band, Jamiroquai, Tim Maia, Django Reinhardt, Weather Report, to name but a few.
As the album includes many genres, influences span various styles and artists.
HAPPY: What message or emotion do you hope listeners take away from the “Lisboa” album?
SILVA: Depends on the song, on “Lisboa” we hope they feel happy, go lucky and just enjoy themselves. We hope “Let Yourself Be Free” makes people want to dance.
On “Break Me” time for reflection and overcoming hardships. Overall, we just hope they enjoy the music as much as we enjoyed creating it.
HAPPY: How do you envision the future of the Silva Lining Band, considering the unique dynamics of your family and the diverse musical influences within the group?
SILVA: Our hope is that the Silva Lining Band will have opportunities in the near future to play our music live in concerts and festivals as this is where we really come alive.
This is where we think people will really enjoy our music as we like to give musicians the space to let loose and express themselves creatively. We will release a live album in early 2024 that will show our aptitude for live performances.
HAPPY: Lastly, what makes you happy?
Nothing makes us happier than playing live, composing and recording our music.
Other than music, we love to spend time in our country house just enjoying the lovely weather our amazing country has to offer with our three dogs running us ragged (one of which you can find in our music video for Let Yourself Be Free jumping in the pool and partying just as hard as everyone else).