Sons da Canada Serrana

Canada Serrana Sounds

September 23, 2015 0 By Rui Manuel Sousa


Jaime Roriz Advogados Artes & contextos
The 2015 edition of “Chocalhos, Festival of the Paths of Transhumance”, which takes place every year in Alpedrinha and which promotes the pastoral and material intangible heritage of Beira Interior, had a very musical show on its poster sui generis, “Sounds of Canada Serrana”.

Canada Serrana is the name given to the route taken by the shepherds and their herds between Serra da Estrela and Baixo Alentejo with the aim of reaching the winter pastures in the fields of Castro Verde and Ourique. In this secular shuttle, transhumance was responsible for many cultural exchanges that were certainly decisive in the consolidation of musical heritage on both sides. It was with this transhumantic spirit that the show “Sons da Canada Serrana” was presented to the public, revealing the beirã and Alentejo cultures through their musical icons, the violas, the adueiras, the bombos and the Cante Alentejano.

Chocalhos 2015 3

The string instruments representative of these two regions, the viola beiroa (bandurra) and the viola campaniça, were in charge of Alísio Saraiva and Pedro Mestre respectively, both accompanied by young players, which demonstrates that these instruments are being considered by the new generations. There were 2 bell players, 3 beiroa players, 1 bass player, 3 percussionists and 1 flutist in the total of 10 musicians. These musicians were joined by Paul's cellars, the Beja choral group, the Bombos de Lavacolhos and the Ocaia association.

The show is an imagined pastoral journey through traditional music, and started with two children crowned with flowers carrying a stick full of hanging rattles, evoking the main role that herds play in this trip. The children rattled to the order of a dagger that personified the shepherd here, directing the herds at will, however the oral tradition went down the mountain range and reached the vast plains of Alentejo, along the way fashions like the “Farreipeirinha” and the “Macelada” in the voices of the adueiras accompanied by their timbrels and by the players from the border, and further south “I heard a bird” and “O altinho” sung by Pedro Mestre to the sound of the bell towers. The choral group of Beja, dedicated to Cante, - recently elevated to Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, - and which I highlight for the global quality and the average age of its members that does not exceed 25 years old, sang a theme at one of the high moments of the night popularized by Ganhões de Castro Verde and also by Dulce Pontes, “Alentejo is so big”:

“The Alentejo is so big, so much abandoned land!…
It is the land that gives bread, for the good of this nation it should be cultivated ”.

Chocalhos 2015 1

The final part of the concert was surprising for the form and intensity, Bitocas Fernandes the musical director of this project used several objects arranged on the stage, for example a watering can or a bowl of milk, and each of these objects corresponded to a specific musical group, the mops, singing, violas beiroas, bell towers and also the two children who carried the stick with the rattles, each of these objects was a “fader”From a virtual mixer that, when moved forward or backward, informed the sound technician of the amount of volume with which each of these groups reached the room. Even at the end of the show when all the volumes were in apotheosis, behold, the Lavacolhos Bombos came by surprise, adding the serious and powerful beat of their bombos to everything else, generating a huge eruption of traditional music on the volcano that was the Chafariz D Stage João V.

After the concert, we talked a little with Bitocas Fernandes, who confided to us the fact that they had only managed to rehearse all together only the previous night, which is understandable by the amount of elements involved. However, the way the show was set up based on independent conjugation modules and the intelligent way of using the virtual mixer to promote the interaction between the modules, allowed that the absence of previous tests was not a decisive factor in the quality of the same. We also learned that the idealization of the show and the selection of the invitations came from the Municipal Chamber of Fundão, whom we congratulate for the initiative.



Rui Manuel Sousa
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