They have come together to create what was originally going to be a hip hop group; however, they have evolved to include jazz, funk, World music and gospel influences.
Half of the members of The Hop group are Portuguese, with the other half being from all over the globe. The Portugal News spoke with Neil Robb, Josephine Nightingale and Pedro Pereira who shared equal measures of enthusiasm about their fantastic musical project.
Neil started off by sharing: “I feel that the true treasure here are the stories that each of us carry. We have a world-famous DJ from Hamburg, a doctor who grew up in Tanzania, and a school music teacher by day and hip hop producer by night. Each of us brings our stories to the project, and somehow it weaves effortlessly into melodies, rhythms and words.”
Neil explained: “We started off with rough sketches of songs so it is original music but sometimes we take samples and we put a spin on them. Half of our set list is set with certain songs but the other half we keep loose and improvise, this is a big thing in the culture of hip hop so we are going off each other and the crowd seems to love that.”
Neil Robb is from Canada and shared with The Portugal News: “I became a teacher and then went travelling for about seven years through South America, Africa and Asia. I also worked as a carpenter for some time and following meeting my wife from Lisbon, I moved to Lisbon 15 years ago. Then five years ago I moved to the Algarve permanently”.
When it comes to his connection to music, Neil explained: “I have always been involved in music and I rap in the group”. Neil has always been interested in hip hop, “It started as a joke with friends and we would try and rap like the music videos we saw and eventually a few of us got okay at it and I ended up entering in a couple of battles and did that for a while.”
Neil revealed that he actually left the music scene for a long while until he became friends with Pedro and discovered that they both had a common interest in hip hop and thus The Hop was born.
Josephine Nightingale has lived in the Algarve for a number of years and is established in her own right as a musician and comes from a musical background in Britain. “I am friends with Pedro and he approached me regarding The Hop project and asked if I would be interested in bringing in some input and vocals. I didn’t know what I was getting into but hip hop is a genre that I am familiar with and I am always curious and open and I love to work with other people so I went for it and it has been great!”
Josephine also explained what being a part of this band means to her: “I learn a lot from working in a collective and it means you have to make a space for one another. It is a challenge but it is beautiful and the collective itself really represents what the genre of music is really about and where it came from so being part of something like this in Portugal, is a whole new perspective as hip hop is relatively new in comparison.”
Pedro Pereira has lived in the Algarve for seven years now, following living in Brazil for a year. Prior to moving to Brazil, Pedro studied Jazz in Lisbon. “I am a music teacher but I never wanted to stop making music so The Hop is my musical fuel because pure human interaction and construction is what moves me. I could never do this alone and I had no idea what would come out of this but it is like when you get together with your best friends you know it is going to be a good time and it will always be constructive.”
Pedro shared that The Hop has had success until now, “We have had really great feedback and constructive critics but for us, it is super nice to do this growing process live. We construct our concerts as we do it and hip hop is what brought the idea together in the first place but I like so many kinds of music genres and hip hop is like the place where we can bring all of our musical genres together such as Gospel, Funk, Jazz and Classical with a lot of improvisation.”
Pedro explained that when it comes to the future, he likes to dream big: “I think everyone should and of course, I imagine The Hop will perform in different places and even big stages but it is important that we do this step by step. I believe opportunities also come when we are ready for them.”
He went on to add “I think we are growing here and the concerts have been really good so far. I am super grateful for FAVO Bistro Bar in Hortas do Tabual because they let us debut there and it shows a lot of trust from them. It is a super nice restaurant and team and because there is no stage it is perfect for us. The first time we performed there, I thought we would have 10 people there and it was meant to be a gathering of hip hop lovers but it was so full and there was such good energy, we even had DJ Mixwell who I had no idea of the dimension of his expertise.”
“Music is to be shared”
Josephine affirmed that “Pedro did not form the group with the intention of it being a function band but one that serves the people. It is more a passion and an art form that we would like to grow but of course, we are open to doing events or even weddings if someone wants us to and it is fitting.”
The Hop will be doing an unmissable show at FAVO Bistro Bar in Hortas do Tabual, Vila do Bispo, on 10th of June at 7pm. The event is free entry but reservations for dinner are required by calling +351 913 466 969.
Following undertaking her university degree in English with American Literature in the UK, Cristina da Costa Brookes moved back to Portugal to pursue a career in Journalism, where she has worked at The Portugal News for 3 years. Cristina’s passion lies with Arts & Culture as well as sharing all important community-related news.