Binaural / Nodar and
Associação Aldeias de Magaio
Vozes de Magaio Festival
Sheltering and Transhumating the Oral Tradition
22 and 23 July 2011
Civil Parishes of São Martinho das Moitas and Covas do Rio
(municipality of S. Pedro do Sul, district of Viseu, PT)
(Click on the image to see the poster in full quality)
The voice is the main instrument of human communication. The voice draws and transmits content, creates links between subjects and involves listening and participation. The voice (ours and others) takes us out, frees us from the unbearable weight of repetition, which otherwise we would be confined to. Voice is sound, is a symbol of interiority otherwise inexpressible. The voice prepares the sense of place where the word will be said.
The voice is an archetypal force, it is a primordial image endowed with a powerful creative dynamism. It is the “place” where the language articulates, that goes beyond the voice with all its existential force, materiality and meaning. “The voice is a question not yet organized, pure and free significant that pointing, waving and alluding without saying. The voice says itself in the moment it is said: it is pure demand. The inarticulate shout, the pure groan, the wordless vocalization, the cry of the war are explosions of the being that identifies itself with its own voice: the voice is the desire to say and to exist.” (Paul Zumthor)
In the rural region of the Portuguese mountain range of Gralheira (S. Pedro do Sul Municipality), inhabited by communities that had subsistence agriculture and herding as dominant activities, and in which electricity and, consequently, TV, arrived only about 30 years ago, all knowledge and communication had the human voice as their medium. This fact was enough to give a dense richness to the whole oral discourse… the idiosyncrasy, the puzzling, the subliminal, the accents… issues that increasingly are being more standardized.
These rural villages, recently integrated in the “Aldeias de Magaio” (Magaio Villages) network, presently still retain traces of orality that manifest themselves in all aspects of practical, mental and spiritual life:
The voice that prays and confesses
The voice that sings the divine
The voice that carries the legend
The voice that calls the animals
The voice that sings the cycle of land
The voice that sings impromptu
The voice that proclaims the merchandise
The voice that convokes the community
The voice that denounces the condition
The voice that keeps the accent
The voice that perpetuates the vocabulary
The voice that echoes in the landscape
The voice that subverts the canon
The voice that auctions on a day of feast
The voice that rises in tone with the wine
The voice that repeats the litany
The voice that rocks the child
The voice that evokes the ancestral divinity
The Vozes de Magaio Festival proposes to create a dialogue between all forms of rural oral heritage and contemporary art forms centered in the human voice and that work with issues as origin, meaning, the relationship with the sacred (reconnected to its meaning and ancestral symbolism of mystery and symbol), the voice as a pivotal element of rituals, customs and superstitions, able to enchant the listener and bring deep changes to the reality, in the communities and territory, the voice as the protagonist of memories, myths, archetypes, folk wisdom handed down through the centuries, or even the voice of everyday, tool for work and life.
The festival takes place in three different periods along 2011 – May, July and September/October -, and includes the presence of tens of national and international artists, offering a vast program of activities directed to varied audiences: concerts, video screenings, environmental activities, activities of discovery of the local oral and musical heritage, traditional balls, gastronomy, handicraft and produce market, etc.
The Artist Residencies:
The main core of the festival program will be the presentation of five live sound art projects developed throughout the month of July in a collective artist residency organized by Binaural / Nodar with the presence of seven artists from the United States, Britain, France , Taiwan and Australia.
This artist residency puts in direct contact world renowned artists with landscapes and communities, some often forgotten as Ameixiosa, Covas do Rio, Posmil, Sequeiros and Sá, as well as other more emblematic villages such as Nodar, Rompecilha and Covas do Monte. All these villages are part of the civil parishes of Covas do Rio and São Martinho das Moitas.
Below are described the hosted art projects and biographies of the artists in residence:
Steve Peters (USA):
Steve Peters proposes a new sound work combining the following elements: field recordings of environmental sounds, namely church bells, collected in the civil parish of São Martinho das Moitas; electronic processing of some of those sounds; spoken text consisting of single words and place names that evoke the regional landscape; the names of local plants and animals (possibly endangered species), some of which sung in Latin. These various elements will be woven together to create an evocative portrait of the regional landscape and the collective human relationship to that place through language.
Steve Peters (b. 1959) makes music and sound for a wide range of contexts and occasions using field recordings, found/natural objects, electronics, various musical instruments, and spoken text. Attentive to the subtle nuances of perception and place, his work is often site-specific and tends to be understated and contemplative. He performs occasionally as a member of the Seattle Phonographers Union, and also works as a freelance producer, writer, and curator. Since 1989 he has been the Director of Nonsequitur, a non-profit organization presenting experimental music and sound art, currently via the Wayward Music Series at the Chapel Performance Space in Seattle. His music has been released on such labels as Cold Blue, Palace of Lights, Sirr, and Dragon’s Eye.
Joachim Montessuis & Gaël Segalen (France):
“Magaio Egregore” is a sound creation based on the convergence of our two approaches : the field recording and dialogue artistic practice of Gaël Segalen and the trance oriented composer and performer Joachim Montessuis. The aim of this project is to reveal the “spirit of the place”, an invitation to create a communion spirit in the rural area and express what would/could be a collective egregore ( concept referring to a group spirit, an autonomous psychic entity or force produced and influenced by the desires and emotions of many individuals united in a common goal). For achieving that, the artists want to process a composition and a live performance with the recorded voices of the villagers of Magaio. This composition will be a massive dissonant polyphony, a colossal drone puzzle as a deep ritualistic crescendo litany going from semantical words to a fertil sonic compost. A linguistic meta-dialogue, from the treasures of the language, local expressions (vernacular), stories, the continuous flow and infinite stories stimulated by the microphone, will feed the composition.
Gaël Segalen is a sound artist and director. She records field-sounds of disoriented scenes in many languages, building a vital fiction. More than a testimony, the microphone offers an improvisation space to think forward in an offshored world. It is a pretext to meet people and to have many talks. Member of parisian MU Collective, she collaborates on projects of audiowalks and installations, conducts sound workshops and teaches listening and sound experimentation at ESEC, school of cinematic studies in Paris.
Joachim Montessuis is interested in the links between art, sound, science and spirituality. Since 1993 he has been developing a transversal sonic poetry praxis focused on experimental voice processing and immersive concert-installations. His noise and video events are devised as panic-poetic spaces in which sensorial disturbance and blurring occur, starting from silence to wall of sound. He has worked in some major European electronic arts centres (CICV, Fresnoy, V2_Lab, KHM) and his live performances and installations have been presented at international venues and festivals including DEAF, ISEA, ICA, Yerba Buena Center in SF, Sónar, Elektra, Rio de Janeiro among others.
Dan Scott (England)
Dan Scott proposes creating a sound replica of the rural village of Covas do Rio. The work will be a cover version of a field recording he will make during the early stages of his residency. This piece will be constructed using only Dan’s voice, and the voices of local people. The piece will address issues of authenticity within sound as well as exploring the mimetic, sympathetic magic inherent in the ‘cover version’. The human voice is central to the piece, re-vocalising the sounds of the village, embodying the space and humanising it.
Dan Scott is a sound artist based in London. He is currently completing a Masters in Sound Art at the London College of Communication. Dan’s original training was in Anthropology and this has informed much of his practice. His work is often site-specific, drawing on local narratives as a means of exploring ways of listening and imaginative hearing. Over the past five years he have worked and exhibited across Europe. His work has been exhibited in a variety of venues across Europe including London’s Tate Modern, Resonance FM and Form Content, the Herhusid residency centre in Iceland, a disused towerblock in Germany and an abandoned marble quarry in Portugal.
Duncan Whitley (England)
Synopsis: A composed sound work of approximately 10 minutes duration, rendered as a 4 channel work and also adaptable to a stereo format for CD, radio, online release, etc. The work will focus on the voices of 4 shepherds, recorded in their daily work, guiding animals to and from the fields to graze.
Methodology: The artists proposes to work with four shepherds, who will be fitted with portable sound recording equipment. The idea is to record the voices of the shepherds in their typical, routine work, with as little intervention as possible from the artist as a recordist. His presence in recording sessions will be required only for the fitting and testing of equipment.
Conceptual approach: Duncan Whitley propose this project as a creative investigation in semi-autonomous documentary / ethnographic practice. Whilst he will shape the outcome of the work through the editing process, he is interested in how removing his hand as the documentarist / ethnographer can influence the kind of material gathered in fieldwork.
Duncan Whitley studied BA Hons Fine Art at Kingston University (UK) from 1996 to 1999, where he worked almost exclusively with sound installation. In the following years his work continued with a focus on site-specific interventions, producing work in both sanctioned art spaces and ‘non-art spaces’ (from domestic environments, to derelict flats, football stadiums, to Church of England churches). From 2004 his practice shifted towards stereo and multichannel ‘field recording’, developing a significant archive of project-specific phonographic studies. His sound recording work documents the ritual of social events: the highly formalised Semana Santa processions in Seville; football spectatorship across different tiers of the British football league and amateur football in rural Portugal; the controlled demolition of high-rise flats in cities around England and Scotland.
12 Dog Cycle (Australia / Taiwan)
Alice Hui-Sheng Chang (Taiwan) and Nigel Brown (Australia) hope to create a re-imagining of local history and myths through the minds and voices of its youth. The source of these stories will be the elderly and other senior members of the community. Through their stories, the artists will search for traces of the non-lingual voice: in instances it may be possible for a storyteller to reproduce a vocalization –a call used in summoning a flock, or an imitation of the sighs of an old irrigation system. Then again, a sound may be sought in the representation of an idea –the heat of summer in a bare field. The stories will be shared in a group setting –the storytellers, the artists and a group of children between six and twelve years of age. Sounds from the stories will form the starting point for a group vocal workshop. Vocal play might begin with imitation of a storyteller’s call, later with participants encouraged to explore and transform each sound until it becomes their own. In other instances, vocalization will begin with the imagination, set in motion by story. The workshops will culminate in a participatory performance.
Alice Hui-Sheng Chang (Taiwan) and Nigel Brown (Australia) create sound in performance and recordings as 12 dog cycle. They pair the breathing limitations of human voice and piano accordion, extending the voice through extreme unconventional technique and the accordion’s acoustic properties through preparations, extended techniques and live electronic manipulation. Since 2006, their work as a duo has been shown in Australia, East Asia, Europe and America at festivals including Santander Sound Art Festival, Spain; Elsie Else Festival, France; Kuandu Arts Festival, Taiwan; tranSonic Festival, Taiwan; 2pi Festival, China; Liquid Architecture Festival and Electrofringe Festival, Australia. Their recorded works have been published by Trente Oiseaux (Germany), Ecosono (USA) and Mind Twisting Records (Poland).
Friday, 22 July
21h30 – Traditional Ball with Orquestra Finfas de Nespereira
Building of Associação de Apoio à Comunidade de Sequeiros e Sete Fontes
Village of Sequeiros
Saturday, 23 July
10h00 – Opening of the Villages’ Farmers Market
Village of Covas do Monte
10h00 – 12h00: Agricultural Walk in the Village of Covas do Monte
Meeting Point: Restaurant of Associação dos Amigos de Covas do Monte
12h30 – 14h30: Traditional Lunch in the Village of Covas do Monte
Restaurant of Associação dos Amigos de Covas do Monte
15h00 – 16h30: Gathering at the Village
Around shepherds, goats and wolves (with inhabitants of Covas do Monte and technicians of the Grupo Lobo NGO)
Main Square of Covas do Monte
17h00 – Presentation of Sound Works Conceived in the Civil Parish of Covas do Rio
Restaurant of Associação de Amigos de Covas do Monte
Duncan Whitley (England)
Dan Scott (England)
19h00 – Aldeias de Magaio Picnic
River Beach of Nodar
During the picnic: Traditional Challenge Singing by the already famous Paulo “Carvães” and friends
Everybody is invited to bring their own food. There will be wine and fish from the river to everybody.
21h00 – Presentation of Sound Works Conceived in the Civil Parish of Covas do Rio
River Beach of Nodar
Joachim Montessuis / Gael Segalen (France)
12 Dog Cycle (Taiwan / Australia)
Steve Peters (USA)
Associação Aldeias de Magaio
Portuguese General Office of the Arts, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
Municipality of São Pedro do Sul, CLDS S. Pedro do Sul – O Futuro é Aqui, Grupo Lobo, Associação de Apoio à Comunidade de Sequeiros e Sete Fontes, Associação dos Amigos de Covas do Monte, Restaurante Salva Almas, Adega Típica da Pena, communities of Covas do Rio, Covas do Monte, Ameixiosa, Sequeiros and Nodar.