5a Punkada: redefining the boundaries of music with an extraordinary rock band

On 23 September, the members of 5a Punkada performed at the Philharmonie Luxembourg with their energy and unique style. Fausto Sousa (vocals) and Fátima Pinho (piano) suffer from cerebral palsy, while Miguel Duarte (drums) and Jorge Maleiro (guitar) have Down's Syndrome, forming with their teacher Paulo Jacob a group of artists with special needs.

Published on 05 Oct. 23

Un groupe de musique jouant sur scène

Currently touring Europe to film a documentary about their unusual journey, they aim to demonstrate the stage is a space open to all, and that the physical or mental condition of artists with special needs is not an obstacle to artistic creation, but on the contrary a source of inspiration.

Un chanteur en fauteuil roulant sur scène

hile there are between 10% and 15% of people with special needs in the European Union (2021, European Parliament news), very few have the opportunity to take part in an artistic activity, and even fewer do so professionally. 5a Punkada aims to set an example for the music industry and inspire others to become professionally involved in music or the performing arts.

This unusual rock band was formed just over 30 years ago, under the impetus of Fausto Sousa, the band's lead singer, who had been told he would not be able to sing. Driven by his passion for music, he persevered to form 5a Punkada: his voice has since been heard at the more than 300 live concerts of the band.

Building on this experience, in 2021 they recorded their first album, "Somos punks ou não?" and made a documentary that was nominated for a Portuguese Industry Award. In May 2023, they were invited to share the stage with Coldplay, in front of more than 50,000 spectators!

Deux personnes en fauteuil roulant et trois autres personnes debout derrière eux avec un album dans la main

5a Punkada demonstrates the importance of music as a means of including people with special needs in the professional world, at a time when the unemployment rate among this population is almost twice the European average.

5a Punkada is about recognition and real participation for these people in a field that affects us all: music, which has an extraordinary power to foster empathy and inclusion.

Find out more about 5a Punkada