On the final stretch, we received the actual largest number of musicians we ever have received in just one day. Seven they were this time! Truly a day full of emotions and surprises which included some unexpected participations.
Emmanuel Mejía came straight in the morning. He told us about when he was about six years old, as he started playing percussion in a Venezuelan traditional music group with his father. He told us that, in the middle of a rehearsal, he intuitively (and unsolicitedly so) decided to pick up this bowl with seeds inside to accompany the adult players, and so he was initiated to the band. Currently, he enjoys his trips to the Madeira's highest hills and being there with friends, with whom he plays improvised music amidst trees and a stars-full sky.
We learned that Mariana Andrade prefers being called by her artistic name - Mariana Pipocas [popcorn] - and that she is currently studying at the Conservatoire; jazz drums and classical piano at the same time! She sang this song she remembers from her childhood. Not much astonished, although still curiously so, we listened to her singing a song by her own father for his project 'Nuno and the End'.
Rodrigo, although better known for his compositions, revealed on the interview the way he spends all days singing improvised stuff in his flat in London, which we had to represent by centrifugally pointing an arrow towards the north of the piece's floor-map. He played the piano, from Mozart to Ravel, but concluded with a well-accented love for the working songs Borracheiros used to sing which, somewhat strangely, he feels as his own. He imitated still the cacophony of Mariana's (his sister) family during lunchtime.
The songs of Zeca Afonso were, curiously, the first ones that João Viveiros started playing, secretly listening to them on a vinyl player at his friend's house. He admits only later having understood the political subversive content embedded in those songs, which we think came to greatly influence his later work, given he has written lyrics with similar intentions for the Algozes, of which he and other interviewees were also part (like Rui and Helena).
Some days ago, we got succinctly acquainted with Natacha Gonçalves, who was just loosely passing by our road, and who, in that same moment, we convinced to participate. Today she told us about her first public performance moment, in which, at the Island's ubiquitous Children's Song Festival, she sang this song, which her father had written not only for her but also about herself. 'When I grow up, I'll be a true artist'! she sang. She also told us about her first memories of listening to her father's vinyl collection of The Beatles amongst others, and about her memories of being able to go to sleep at whichever hour she felt like at the sound of free-jazz! She also dedicated this one song to her father, José António Gonçalves, whom she kept lots of memories from and misses very much. It was in an emotionally drenched ambience that she left us, and so we all agreed that sometimes, things happen just like that, and end up being so special; this is, of course, if we know how to keep ourselves open to what life offers us along the way.
At the beginning of the night, there came Lidiane Duailibi who, without us knowing, showed up accompanied by Norberto Gonçalves da Cruz. He stayed still and listened to Lidiane's interview, who told us the story of how she frugally got to Madeira from Brazil. However, Bossa Nova always hindered inside her. She sang with the sweetest voice and told us about her project 'Bossa Livre', which she is developing with Norberto, Nuno Filipe and Jorge Maggiore, in which they put their particular influences to practice in creating a wholly new sonic world. She currently dedicates herself also to music-therapy sessions with women, using their voices' expressive power as a tool to expand and liberate their personalities, as well so useful for the recuperation or even reconstruction and augmentation of self-esteem and confidence.
After this musical and geographical trip, with some effort, we managed to bring Norberto onto the interviewee chair, and learned about his pathway from Venezuela up to here, with memories he had of these beautiful scores, which his grandfather had kept inside this little satin bag, taking them out every day for interpretations on the mandolin. In that time - he said - his grandfather didn't have any means to enjoy the commodified reproduction of music, therefore, he had to actually play it every time. He told us about his times at the Conservatoire in Láquila, and about when he used to be a soloist at La Scala Theatre, but concluded saying that nowadays, he prefers the idea of being a traveler much more than the idea of being a tourist, in his way of approaching music navigation, adding also that this could be an attitude many more musicians should adopt. He also said 'silence is important as are improvising and experimenting with different instruments'. He believes that such faculties grant the musician higher-order freedoms. We prompted him to demonstrate something on a humble guitar we had there to a corner. Not without some contention, he agreed in doing so but said, after a storm-like vigorous performance, that 'this is not really how you should play the guitar'. We actually appreciated his rhythmical skills very much. We concluded with the sound he thinks is the most memorable in the whole of Funchal, and which he likes very much; the garbage truck passing by, leaving us with the solemn message that the whole city at end relaxes and goes to sleep.
Recording stills selected by Sara Rodrigues