Veículo Climatizado

A “Love Letter” to the City of Porto

Arrefole’s debut album (2006) was an audio journey that fused each song with a recognizable city soundscape and street market buzz. Each track was meant as a Porto metro or a Douro river’s train line stop. The overall album’s graphic design was a tribute to the newly inaugurated city’s Metro…

The young playing the old

Old Tradition meets New People

The so-called “Celtic Music” was on the rise. Folk music aficionados popped up throughout the city, converging to the internationally acclaimed, annual “Festival Intercéltico do Porto”. 

Amidst the crowd, young emergent urban musicians bumped into each other. They all recognized that they should try to innovate, otherwise, tradition would become stale.

These musicians, born in the 70’s and 80’s, still grew up earing cowbells in the summer and traffic jams in the winter. With “Progressive” as an approach, and “innovation” as flag, they took over traditional music purism, and Portuguese folk music was renewed and more appealing to modern ears.

In a sense, they were fueled with urban, contemporary influences, and intended to give old robes a new lining.


Music gazing at the North Atlantic

How could they play traditional folk music in the new century? At the time, departing from Galicia or Ireland, trendy and cunningly well-exported contemporary folk music was captivating a wide audience. The northern Atlantic folk music tides undoubtedly influenced these musicians. Without turning a “deafening ear” to other World influences, it was at the shores of the Atlantic that arrefole bathed their music.


The urban day-to-day routine found its way into this tune.
While composing it, the Metro_nomo’s nearly hypnotic
riff teleported the musicians into an intermittent voyage, punctuated by stops. Much like people hopping on the Metro, all members of arrefole became spontaneous composers, diluting the particular authorship of this piece. Suddenly, the concept of a Folk Music album as a whole, that had “vehicles & transportation” as a theme, became clear.

This was a turning point towards a complete re-design of a debut album that would otherwise be an assortment of tunes. 


by Arrefole | Veiculo Climatizado

Climatized vehicle

“veiculo Climatizado”
Açor label, 2006

Capture | Mix | Master: Emiliano Toste, Estudios Toste
All music composed, arranged & performed by arrefole

Veículo Climatizado, 2006
graphic design: Gonçalo Cruz  |  photography: Abel Andrade
Multi-art concept: Nuno Flores | Gonçalo Cruz

All music composed, arranged & performed by arrefole

One hour journey

The 13 tracks were re-arranged and glued together into a continuous full-length journey.

However, commercial standards prevented arrefole from releasing the work as an one-hour music composition. Although still indexed into 13 tracks, the album is clearly meant to be listened from beginning to end.


Apart from all the musicians’ production efforts, it was Gonçalo Cruz and Nuno Flores that most committed to turning “Veículo Climatizado” into a multi-art piece. They captured live sound samples of the city of Porto and its public transportation creating a soundscape narrative that gave tridimensional depth and a sense of imagery to the listener.

Also the graphic design was evocative of transportation. Pictures were taken of Porto railway central station, and design cues were borrowed from the “Metro of Porto” visual identity.

In fact, to this day, the letter “a” inside a circle stands for “arrefole”, as a tribute to the Metro of Porto logo.


Nominee for the Prémio José Afonso 2011

The album was nominated for the “Prémio José Afonso 2011” (“José Afonso” Award 2011), together with ten other Portuguese Roots music albums from mainstream authors. This distinction was first created in 1988 by the city of Amadora (near Lisbon) to honour “Zeca” Afonso, one of the most important and prestigious singer/songwriters of the 20th century, best known for his fight against the dictatorship regime and an icon of the of 25th of April Revolution. It further sought to promote the creation of Portuguese Roots music and boost cultural and tourist throughput.

Urban Folk

Challenging conventions

In “Veículo Climatizado”, arrefole’s combination of modern influences with secular instruments produced a new, although familiar, fresh, and compelling listening experience. They created music that evaded preconceived assumptions about what people should expect in a Folk music album. 

At best, it became challenging to classify arrefole’s music to a single, specific musical genre.