A PORTU-GAL & THREE GUYS
The Gift has a small present for New York: a free show.
Portugal's brooding, trip-hop-infused foursome will perform at the Belt tonight at 8 o'clock at a party sponsored by the Aprepos fashion line. (For tickets, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.)
This intimate event is a far cry from the 40,000-seat stadium shows the band often plays overseas.
"To be an artist today, you have to hang around with a lot of concepts," says songwriter Nuno Goncalves, 25. "There's fashion, video, music. But I like the tiny live shows, too. What we have to show is not the big screens and lighting, but instead the power of the songs."
Fusing electronica with elements of classical music, jazz and rock, the band formed more than 10 years ago when its then-adolescent members battled the boredom of living in Alcobaca, a tiny town outside Lisbon best known for its 12th-century monastery.
"There was only cinema on the weekends, no sports to play, nothing to do," says singer Sonia Tavares, 26.
"We wanted to find something to do in our free time, and not spend all day in the coffeehouses," says Goncalves, who rounds out the group with his brother John and Miguel Ribeiro. "At that time, all of the music was grunge. We wanted to make something completely different."
The Gift formed its own record label in 1999 after Portuguese companies wouldn't touch them because they sang in English. Their first album, "Vinyl," went platinum.
"We still have problems with [Portuguese] critics who say this is not our culture, this is not Portuguese music," says Tavares. "But our music is communicating with feelings.
"Happiness and sadness come through, even if you don't know the language."
BY REBECCA LOUIE in NY DAILY NEWS - Wednesday, July 30th 2003