Viola Campaniça and Cante de Improviso in the semifinal of RTP's “Cantares ao Desafio”

Viola Campaniça and Cante de Improviso in the semifinal of RTP's “Cantares ao Desafio”


Singers Pedro Mestre and Luís Baldão, representing the Viola Campaniça Valorization Center and Cante de Improviso, will participate in the semifinal of the contest promoted by RTP “Cantares ao Desafio”, on January 12, in the program Praça da Joy. The singers will show the cante to despique and baldão, improvisation practices of Baixo Alentejo.

The contest “Cantares ao Desafio” invites viewers to participate in a stray competition, live, during the broadcast of the RTP1 program “Praça da Alegria”. This challenge is mentored by Augusto Canário and Cristiana Sá. The participation of the singers Pedro Mestre and Luís Baldão in this initiative is another way of spreading a very strong tradition in our region and giving visibility to the work developed by the Viola Campaniça and Cante de Improviso Valorisation Center.

Singing and dancing is a form of singing that is totally improvised and the challenge that was sung throughout Baixo Alentejo, even reaching the Algarve mountains. However, it was in the municipalities of Odemira, Ourique, Castro Verde and Almodôvar that it had its greatest expression and most constant practice. In the second half of the twentieth century, singing lost its dynamism and decreased its activity, due to the disappearance of many of its interpreters and the lack of interest in this tradition. At the end of the 20th century, it took on new life and breath.

Sing it out and sing it out are different. The ruse came first, being common in all fairs and pilgrimages in Baixo Alentejo, where all the famous singers flocked, where it was normal to "settle the accounts" that had been outstanding from the previous fair. Sometimes there was more than one singing at the fair, with each booth for food and drinks with a handful of singers. The cante de despique obliged all singers to “follow the point”, that is, to always use the same rhyme in their songs. Whoever did not do so would pay the rest a round. Derived from the rigidity of the despix (and its consequences), an attempt was made to find a way to sing the challenge looser, more “by the bucket”. Thus came the song to the baldão, which despite having a fixed structure does not obey the point.

The Viola Campaniça and Cante de Improviso Recovery Center is the result of a consortium between the Municipality of Odemira, S. Martinho das Amoreiras Parish Council, S. Martinho das Amoreiras House of People and the Association for the Development of Amoreiras-Gare , entities that join forces for the study, training and dissemination of instrumental and vocal manifestations associated with Viola Campaniça, Cante de Improviso and Popular Poetry, forms of cultural expression that are striking in the identity of the territory.

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