The rural voice: sacrality, leisure and work

Nodar Artist Residency Program for 2011



Artistic Disciplines:

Sound Poetry; Vocal Performance; Sound Art; Phonography; Acoustic, Electroacoustic or Electronic Composition / Improvisation; Radio Art; Video Performance


1. Guidelines

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, where Nodar is located, all knowledge and communication have the human voice as a medium. This region consisted of mountain communities where subsistence agriculture and sheep farming were the dominant activities. In these places electricity, and consequently TV, arrived just about 20 years ago. 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, integrated recently in a network of 15 villages – “Aldeias de Magaio” (Magaio Villages) presently still retain traces of orality, which manifests itself 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 duel songs
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 selected art projects are centred in the human voice, which work with issues such as the origin, meaning and relationship with the sacred (reconnected to its ancestral meaning 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, to 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.

Magaio Voicescapes comprises a series of artist residencies that will take place between May and October 2011 in interaction with the context of each of the 15 rural villages of the Gralheira mountain region, those ones that comprise the network of “Aldeias de Magaio”: Nodar, Sequeiros, Sete Fontes, Rompecilha, Macieira, Aldeia, Leirados, Fujaco, Candal, Póvoa das Leiras, Covas do Rio, Covas do Monte, Pena, Manhouce e Vilarinho.

Each project will also have as a final product a 10-minute sound / musical composition (to be released as a double CD), in addition to other elements that might be part of it (additional compositions, performances, installations, etc.).

The developed works will be presented to the public in the end of May, July and September, as part of an event – Voices of Magaio Festival that will include concerts, screening of videos, sound walks, oral heritage and traditional music presentations.