Portico Quartet began in 2005. The band was formed by two sets of schoolfriends. At the beginning of their career they played on the streets and gave away their recordings. But the unique sound and passion bring the band to the success.
This name the band received after one of their shows was cancelled because of the rain and they had to play under a portico.
The line-up of the band is Duncan Bellamy (drums), Milo Fitzpatrick (double bass), Nick Mulvey (hang and percussion) and Jack Wyllie (soprano, tenor saxophones and electronics).The band uses hang – modern musical instrument developed in 2000 in Switzerland- “UFO shaped” steelpans. ‘The limitations of the hang are just the same as those of a musician inside themselves,’ says Fitzpatrick. ‘Even if you have a piano, with all the keys and all the notes, it doesn’t make any difference, it’s all about how you express yourself inside.’
In 2007 they released a full length album, Knee Deep In The North Sea (Babel/Vortex). This was a turning point: the album attracted attention from DJs, bloggers and critics of every stripe, and was nominated for the 2008 Mercury Music Prize alongside Rachel Unthank, The Last Shadow Puppets, Radiohead and Elbow.
The band’s second album Isla was released by Real World Records on 9 October 2009 and was another step forward. The band uses different sound effects during recordings, but the skills of the members can deliver all the beauty of their recordings to the audience on the gigs. That is more surprising that not all of them are professional (that is specially educated) musicians.
Nick Mulvey, former Hang player and percussionist, left in early 2011 to pursue his career as singer-songwriter. He is replaced by Keir Vine.
The latest eponymously titled came out in January 2012.