«Oh mom», IRIS turns 45

This Saturday, February 3rd, there is a concert at Teatro das Figuras, in Faro

Domingos Caetano – Photo: Pedro Lemos | Sul Informação

On that June 24, 1979, everything went wrong. With speakers made «by hand», the first “IRIS” concert was a disaster and ended with the newly created band being «put out on the street». The bad experience did not end with the dream of those «little guys» who grew up and made a name for themselves in Portuguese music. Until they reach 2024, the year in which they celebrate 45 years of existence. The party starts this Saturday, February 3rd, with a concert at Teatro das Figuras, in Faro. 

From the initial line-up, only one person remains: Domingos Caetano, 68 years old, vocalist, and face of the band.

It was from the dream of this great Fuzetan native that the idea of ​​founding IRIS was born, as he himself recalls to the Sul Informação. 

«Look, I started playing alone at home. Then, I discovered that, here in Fuzeta, there was another boy who played guitar and so I joined him to teach me something. We ended up discovering that playing together was fantastic,” he says, always smiling.

Domingos is in one of the Cinema Topázio rooms, in the center of the town, which he transformed into the headquarters of the music school he founded. It is, along with “IRIS”, the “apple of his eye”.

The passion he has for music, he guarantees, will remain intact throughout the years.

«At that time, when I started playing, I was 18 years old. We also ended up discovering a drummer and putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Always with a lot of passion! At the time, I skipped classes and we spent the day playing. We started at 8am and finished at 00pm so we could get home on time as if we had come from school», he says, laughing.

When they were born in 1979, “IRIS” were a band looking for their place in the Algarve music scene, driven by passion… and a lot of carousing.



The first concert of this long journey took place on June 24, 1979, a date that Domingos Caetano does not forget. It was in Luz de Tavira, not far from Fuzeta.

Without money to buy sound material, the then band members decided to make their own speakers with the help of «a boy who could understand anything».

«There we all went, happy... But the background noise was so much that you couldn't hear the guys playing. The result? We were thrown out on the street, of course,” says Domingos.

Not even that first bad experience deterred them: “we didn’t give up, in fact: we refused to give up!”, he adds promptly.

The first phase was “the dances”. «It was fantastic. We were the kings of the Algarve: we went everywhere. Then, we also had the finer phase, of hotels, in Vilamoura or Albufeira », he recalls.

Until, in the 90s, national success came. Without it even being designed.

Everything changed when “IRIS” started releasing CDs. The first, in 1995, included the single “Oh Mãe”, a version of the song “The House of the Rising Sun”, by “The Animals”, which soon became popular among people. everyone.

Who has never heard: “Oh mom, that girl hit me”?

«Suddenly, they call me to say that the album was 4th in the national top. From the CDs onwards, everything changed: we started having concerts all over the country, working with seals that we never imagined. It was a success we weren’t expecting,” confesses Domingos.

Later, in 1997, came the second CD… and the second successful single. “Atira Tó'Mar”, a version of the original “Knocking On Heaven's Door”, by Bob Dylan, was one of the most played songs this year.



“IRIS” remained, forever, «attached» to these two songs: «we are, in a way, victims of these two themes», jokes Domingos.

But the Algarve band’s career doesn’t end with these two songs, as “IRIS” will show this Saturday in Faro.

«I am a defender of our Algarve culture and, therefore, we are even going to have a little run! It will be a concert essentially of songs that we haven't played anywhere, but that the fans like», says the vocalist.

The fact that these two great hits have a distinctly Algarvian flavor – in the spelling, in Domingos' accent – ​​was not always well accepted in the Portuguese music scene.

«There were a lot of people who only picked up on the derogatory part due to the accent, for example. And when we appear, we are competitors to those who were already there. But we have always refused to leave the Algarve: of course it is more difficult because we are far from the big centers, but, although it is more work, if we spend a week outside the Algarve… we miss it», says the vocalist.

And after these 45 years?

Domingos Caetano is certain: «we have no intention of stopping».

In the pipeline, there is another CD of originals and, of course, the band's 50th anniversary, which this native from Fuzeta, who once dreamed of having a band, is already thinking about.


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