A group of students from the Oeiras highschool (near Lisbon), decides to form a band. The musical refferences where "Pink Floyd", "King Crimson", "Soft Machine", Frank Zappa and some recent "jazz-rock" musicians, like Chick Corea, Santley Clark and Miles Davis.
The first members of the group were the following:
Manuel Baião, who played saxes and flute, joined these elements later on.
The first concert takes place in the basement of Paulo Viana\'s home, in 1970.
It is followed by concerts in the Bullring of Cascais (?) and nightclub "Ronda" (presently "Bauhaus"), at Monte Estoril.
The band is contacted to play at "Lisboa 70", a pluridisciplinar event, managed by Luís Stau Monteiro, having participated in the rehersals. The event didn\'t take place because of the political censorship.
The band undergone some changes. Xico Zé takes the place of the drummer that leaves the group. António Monteiro (Manecas), takes the lead guitar and Jorge Pinheiro the percussions and some time later the vibraphone.
The music definitely shifts to a "conceptual" type, trying to reach extra-sensorial and experimental sounds. Some musics where composed with different tempos, in the classical way. Exemples of this are "Morte dos Elefantes num Templo Gótico" and "Sodoma e Gomorra", whose average duration was about half an hour. By that time, a "barroque" aesthetic starts to impose, present in the advertising posters of the band and the onstage scenes.
The main concert of this period takes place on the 22th of May, 1972, at the auditorium of the Colégio Alemão in Lisboa, from which there is a fragmented recording.
Shortly after José Machado joins, playing violin. The sound of the band takes a distinct path, getting away from the conventional rock bands. The vibe, the violin, the saxes and flute allowed a more jazzy and simultaneously more psicadelic sounding. That fusion was explored in the following performances:
By the end of 1972, two concerts at "Clube 1º Acto", in Algés and one at the Teatro Experimental de Cascais (TEC) where vital to launch the brand of the group, as an experimental band, sounding between fusion and rock, jazz, psicadelic and contemporneous music. "1º Acto" by that time was an experimental space that atracted the cultural elite from Lisbon that adhered to the presented proposals. Since then, the "Ephedra" style was recognised as what later would be named "progressive-rock".
Since the beginning until 1974 the music was exclusively instrumental and most of it was composed by Xico Zé and Paulo Viana.
In 1974 "Ephedra" was invited to play at the 4th "Festival de Jazz de Cascais". The invitation couldn\'t be accepted. On that year deep changes in the musical orientation of the band took place. The music starts to be sung.
The composition of the band is also deeply changed. Along with the military service of Xico Zé in 1973 and the abandon of Manecas and Manuel Baião, the following new elements join the band:
For a while the bass player was Manuel Mota, temporarily replacing Luís Piques, also in the military service.
Concerts are now designed as a whole performance integrating, besides the music itself, poetry, text, slide shows and painting.
Again in "1º Acto" the concert "O Meu Nome é Andros" was an important milestone. The stage had a huge painting, figuring a labyrinth of neo-classic columns, dominated by the austere image of Beethoven. On the stage it was created the home of Rodrigo Montellano\'s ambience, with tables and chairs where musicians and guests were seated. The show started with the projection of a slide show by Roberto Barbosa, along with a text voiced by Luís Manuel Ribeiro da Fonseca. The music apeared afterwards, balancing between instrumental themes, songs and accustic ballads. In the end, together with african marimbas and flute, António Barahona, dressed as arab, recited poetry from his book "O Progresso de Jesus". The song "Palhaço" (Clown), whose lyrics fiercely criticised the post "25 de Abril" revolution times, was an important one, as well as "Povo do Sul", that would become an "ephedrian" hymn.
In 1975 "Ephedra" composes and records the soundtrack of the film "Lerpar", directed by Luís Couto, where casted by Isabel de Castro, Maria do Céu Guerra, Virgílio Castelo and Victor de Sousa.
In 1977 two concerts take place at "1º Acto" and a last concert at Teatro "Ad Hoc", in Lisbon.
Several family and professional requests arise and the band decides to end live performances.
During this period the band becomes more intimate and composes a set of songs in a folky waythat were recorded in 1984 by José Maria Tavares Rosa: "Ephedra 84". From this period we can find songs like "Grilos do Campo", "Navega", "Erva do Mato" and "Martinho", by Marcial Rodrigues, "Sem Sossego" and "Beatriz", by Paulo Viana or "Caligaera", by Luís Piques.
In this phase Jorge Pinheiro starts playing drums. Luís Vaz do Carmo joins, playing flute and sax. Vocals are reinforced with the participation of Manuela Martins. During this period there are no live performances.
In 1987 the band is reduced to a small core formed by Paulo Viana, Luís Piques, Jorge Pinheiro, Isabel Montellano and Rodrigo Montellano. A cassette tape is recorded, "Ephedra 87", including songs like "Primitivo-Futurista", "Paraíso", "O Jogo" and "O Último a Rir".
Circa this year there are two live performances: the first one, at the "Luddance", in Carcavelos, had the presence of Manecas, on the guitar; the second, at the bar "Número 1", had the participation of José Machado on the violin.
From this moment on there are no more live performances. Only Paulo Viana, Luís Piques, Jorge Pinheiro (now on drums and guitar) and Isabel Montellano, vocals keep composing and recording activities. This period produced songs like "Esfinge", "Aprendiz de Feiticeiro" and "Tristes Trópicos", by Paulo Viana or "Casino da Trafaria" and "Insónia", by Jorge Pinheiro", compiled in the cassette "Ephedra 89".
By the end of 2007 the group decides to return to the musical scene, going back to its origins, in terms of type of music ("progressive-rock"), as well as in terms its elements:
There is a first performance at the bar Os Raposos, in Paçod\'Arcos, on the 9th of May, 2008.
The CD "Ephedra", recorded between June and November, 2008, is an instrumental work including songs from the first phase of the group, orchestrated by Xico Zé Henriques. It was launched in a live performance at the Teatro Independente de Oeiras, on the 28th of November, 2008.
On the 20th of May, 2009, there is a concert at the Teatro Eunice Muñoz, in Oeiras. It was kind of a reunion of Ephedra with their fans. In this concert Paulo Viana is already replaced by Emílio Robalo on the keyboards.
Xico Zé's disease worsens and he passes away on the 20th of July, that year. From the death of Xico Zé onwards, the bass guitar is played by David Santos.
There are two more concerts at the Renhau-Nhau club, in Costa da Caparica, on the 24th of October and 28th of November, 2009, and a last concert at the bar Os Raposos, on the 22nd of January, 2011.