7.15.2015

The Sound of No Rain


- an interdisciplinary sound exchange between Sweden and Cabo Verde 2015-16.

Intro
Culture is produced through chance encounters between different elements. It is a fluid process permanently in motion, uncontrolled and without boundaries. Arguably, music (in all its forms) operates in more intuitive frameworks than other cultural expressions also adapting faster to changing contexts. Aural culture can therefore be thought of and used as a mapping tool for identity related dynamics. What happens when two cultures are put in dialogue? What kind of continuities and ruptures arise from it? The Sound Of No Rain proposes an exchange between Cape Verde and Sweden, exploring music as a research tool that uncovers the social, economical and political trajectories of the territories, standing at the forefront of cultural development and production.

Context
Cabo Verde is a unique place in the world because:

- it was uninhabited until the late 15th century. Its current population is of mixed ethnicity, as a result of inward and outward migrations from and to Europe, Africa and Latin America also echoing its geographical location, midway from Europe and South America, simultaneously integrated and isolated from mainland African continent.
- it has a unique musical history and music scene, which is the strongest cultural expression of the country, responding and echoing its particular geographical and political histories. Several genres have been created in the archipelago through local mixing and appropriation of different influences. Morna, Funaná, Funacola, Coladeira, and Batuque are examples of the new genres produced in the archipelago, which references range from African percussion and singing, to Argentinian Tango or Portuguese Fado.
- The several main figures of Cape Verdian music are woman. From classic diva Cesária Évora to contemporary singers such as Mayra Andrade, the presence of feminine agency is deeply felt in the music scene of the archipelago, in contrast with other African and international dynamics where men are usually given the front role.

Sweden has a strong music scene and long standing migratory dynamics:
- during the 19th century due to harsh living conditions it experienced a emigration wave particularly directed to the USA whereas from the mid 20th century to today it has been a constant haven for asylum seekers having also received important groups of migrant workers
- from the 1960s to today Sweden’s music scene has been extremely successful, creating not only international agents but at the same time developing space for experimental practices while preserving folklore traditional languages

Problematic
How can music be though of as a territory where the particular histories of each territories have had deep impacts and therefore be used as a mapping tool to cultural change? What can be learned about how cultures, music and sounds develop and have developed in history when we special attention to geography, climate, politics and language? How do traditional and contemporary sound and music dialogue in different cultures? Both Sweden and Cabo Verde offer extreme examples in these respects. By bringing musicians and sound artists from both countries together offers tools to better understand how these expressions are shaped by history, mixing of traditions and politics and likewise how less visible aspects of historical dynamics and culture personifications and development might be more clearly identified and easily understood by listening to its sounds.

Methodology
The project is divided into three parts.
1.   The project’s organisers will go to Cabo Verde to meet partners and to do research in the end of 2015.
2.   Swedish musicians and travel to Cabo Verde and make a tour of the islands, collaborating with local colleagues in early 2016.
3.   Cape Verdian musicians and sound artists will come to Sweden to perform in Stockholm and Östergötland and participate in Vision Forums international meeting and meet colleagues from all over Europe in autumn 2016.

The tour will allow Swedish musicians and sound artists to work closely with local musicians and sound artists on different islands of the archipelago.

Outcomes

The project will lead to:
- A research period in Cabo Verde looking at the intersection between sound / music and local histories and identities
- A production workshop in Cabo Verde with local and Swedish artist who will collaborate together
- A public presentation of the project consisting of concerts, performances and talks by Cabo Verde and Sweden agents who will publicly present their collaborative production
- An online and print publication documenting the research and the project as well as including some essays by collaborators and other agents involved as well as aural elements of the project

The project will offer a better understanding of:
- how music can be used as a mapping tool in understanding the unfolding of historical and musical trends.
- how traditional and contemporary music remain in continuous dialogue.
- how small both isolated and connected musical communities can develop different expressions, how they communicate and foster variation.

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