Sara's mother has arrived! Having succinctly passed through Madeira's Airport, it looks like she came directly from Porto to PIPINOIR, and there she remained, assisting the interviews we had today. We received Lília Mata, Miliza Mendes and Rosa Madeira. More into the evening, we also received Lucilina Freitas, who brought her friends Martinho Mendes and Sara Lambeau with her. Lucilina, wanted to participate as she became very interested in our project but during the interview, she realised that maybe this was not completely her strand. 'This is something more indicated to musicians and people connected to the field', Sara had advised her earlier. Saying she could not produce any sound at all - not even of fireworks - which she mentioned earlier, we were nevertheless glad for her honest attempt and enjoyed the stories she shared with us about how people are building instruments in artistic workshops at the Culture House in Santa Cruz. Martinho, having sat for the interview, adventured himself no further, but yet, we had the testimony of beginnings of songs in French by Sara Lambeau, who had right-arrived in Funchal, from Belgium, to work at the Sacred Art Museum.
People had adverted us for the fact that Lília was an unstoppable speaker. Having arrived, she surelly told us the same! In the meanwhile, she admitted knowing how difficult it is to be on the interviewer's side since she is a radio presenter herself. On the side of who is being interviewed, Lília does not make things easy at all and, with her, things work more or less like 'a word, a story' kind of model, amidst so many tunes from the song-circle she takes part in every week, which helps her maintaining such old memories. We were thus taken through a world of memories from other times, through the realities of Upper Caniço [mountainous region of central Madeira island], so upper than everything else that it is almost Camacha [the island's innermost landlocked district].
The interview with Miliza revealed itself as a true surprise box. Almost no one remembers this, but we discovered that her performance of a song about learning to count has indeed influenced an entire generation. The song has infiltrated the whole region's schools in such a way, that any Madeiran person, who today can have between 20 and 30 years old can, upon request, sing considerable parts of this song by heart. She additionally told us about the circular sound of buses and about the huge water feature at the roundabout, that is as close to PIPINOIR as is is to her house. To our amazement, this monumental fountain ceases functioning every day at midnight, an event which sometimes wakes Miliza up as she is trying to fall asleep. Ahead into the interview, we recorded a jaw-dropping section in which she explained the particularities of her profession. Miliza is a speech therapist and bases herself on concepts and techniques related to memory, communication and musicality - all of which unexpectedly common to Sara's piece - to work on a daily basis with patients with the most varied problems, including Alzheimer.
Then there came Rosa Madeira, with her powerful (although calmly noble) presence. She sang to us this Italian song from the time when she had once won this big singing contest, which consequently made her become part of the Scalabitana [Portuguese folk orchestra], where she became acquainted with a group of musicians with whom she gained and retained that little (but often fatal) 'fado-bug'. To our greatest surprise, she told us she loved Bob Marley, whose house in Jamaica she has already been to. She also told us about her most well spent days at the beach in Porto Santo [Madeira's sister island] listening to reggae. She even sang this song she composed, which she always performs with Fado Funcho.
We were so happy with Rosa's invitation to watch her project live at the Four Views Oasis and we so tried to go there, but everything took so much more time than we believed possible there at Lareira [typical restaurant in Caniço]. The food was superb, however, we arrived at the hotel way too late… We still managed nonetheless to leave Laura with a frugal hello/bye from the upper floor. Notwithstanding, the trip to Caniço was not in vain! We still went to the old Boieiro [another mythical restaurant], looking for this old well, which, we were told, would be filled up with frogs, were the watercourse still alive. We found no water, neither frogs, but we caught some crickets, which we recorded, having interrupted these guys' joyous spliff-passing ritual. They probably thought we were the ones who were completely stoned. Four foreign townspeople - Rui, Rodrigo, Sara and Irene - in the middle of the night, searching for the sound of frogs inside a well in Caniço...
We then straightly made our way towards Upper Caniço, through Eiras, on dark and narrow roads, in the pursuit of this old water-house. This house does not exist anymore, but we found the place it used to be in, however. Thank you Lília for the fantastic description! It was indeed all true! We found everything, bit by bit, including the part in which the road gets so unmeasurably narrower because of some conflicts between narrow-minded country estate proprietors.
Recording stills selected by Sara Rodrigues and Rodrigo B. Camacho
Photographs by Sara Rodrigues