Surf Music

levadeiro/ May 28, 2006/ Madeira, Music, Uncategorized

As I mentioned in my previous blog … each day I search for information about Madeira. I need to filter out all the ‘wood’ (translated in Portuguese is ‘madeira’) and Madeira Beach (located in Florida). Lately I came across another interesting category … namely The Madeira …. The band!

Yes … a band called ‘The Madeira’ from the US … and they play … no! not the Madeira Bailinho or folklore music … this band plays ‘Surf music’. What is Surf music?

In the early 1960s, one of the most popular forms of rock and roll was surf rock. It is characterized by being nearly entirely instrumental and by heavy use of reverb on the guitars. The spring reverb featured in Fender amplifiers of the day, cranked to its maximum volume, produced a guitar tone shimmering with sustain and evoking surf and ocean imagery. (

If you visit their website you will notice they have a lot Madeira in their logos … even the flag of Madeira! You can also listen to samples of their music and see videos of their performances. I like the sound of it … reminds me of the Beach Boys and Shadows (no … I am not that old!).

Anyway … I decided to contact them and ask some questions. I got a very enthusiastic e-mail back from Ivan Pongracic … one of the founders of The Madeira.

Don: I came across your website and … it got my attention. First of all I must say I only knew surf music from the Beach Boys or Shadows … but maybe I am offending the term surf music by comparing it with these two bands … in that case I deeply apologize. But after hearing your samples and seeing the videos … I got a better idea of what surf music really is … and I like it! Great stuff!

Ivan: Thank you very much!! I’m so glad you like it. No need to apologize. Many people think of the Shadows and the Beach Boys when surf music comes up! The Beach Boys clearly did play surf music, though most purist fans prefer to label their music ‘beach music’. Real surf music was much darker, more powerful and energetic and almost always instrumental. We continue that tradition, but there are dozens (and over the last ten years, probably hundreds) of bands around the world that also play this wonderful music. Many in Europe, too. There are several websites that talk a lot more about the definition of real surf music. Check out, for example, but that’s just one of many.

Ivan: BTW, I originally come from Croatia, and grew up with the Shadows, of whom I am a huge fan. In fact, before starting the Madeira, the drummer and myself were in a Shadows tribute band, with my father on rhythm guitar. I’m 36, so I wasn’t even born when the Shadows were at their peak, but my dad used to play that music in bands in the summer resorts along the Adriatic. The Shadows were the reason I started playing the guitar, and the reason why I found out about surf music when I moved to the USA. Our tribute band even played two Shadows festivals in Toronto (in ’01 and ’03) where we met several of the original members, and had a chance to talk to them for hours! I still love the Shadows very much. (And I do love the Beach Boys as well, though not nearly as much.)

Don: Why the name ‘The Madeira’?

Ivan: Here’s how the name came about. Circa ’99-’00, I was reading an article about Madeira wine in the Wall Street Journal, and it struck me that ‘madeira’ is a really cool word, and would make a great band name (at the time I was already thinking about forming another surf band, as I moved away from Washington DC where my first surf band the Space Cossacks was based). When I researched it further, I found out about the Madeira island. I thought it is a perfect symbol of the music I wanted to make – a mix of Western and North African/Middle-Eastern/Mediterranean influences. In addition, the Madeira island is renowned for surfing! So, the name wasn’t originally inspired by the island, but we were definitely happy to capitalize on it somewhat. The flag just looks really cool.

Don: Have you ever been to Madeira?

Ivan: I have not – nobody from the band has.

Don: What if anyone on the island would invite you to give a performance here?

Ivan: I think that would be WONDERFUL!! I’m sure I speak for the whole band when I say we’d be thrilled to do so, but alas, I don’t see it happening. The band is just a hobby for us. We all have full-time responsible jobs, wives, kids. Flying to the Atlantic Ocean to play a gig or two would just be completely impractical. But, never say never. If you come across anybody that would be willing to finance it, though, just let us know!

So … who knows … if anyone one reading this wants to invite The Madeira over to Madeira …. It would be worth it … and great idea! 😉