Virgílio Caldeira, who had been appointed the first interviewee for this piece, ended up actually being the last one, closing a list of 30 people. Already into preparations day, he came early in the morning to speak his part which, given his career and his post as the director of DSEAM [Madeira's Arts and Multimedia Education Services], was easily as long as that of Rui Camacho and naturally also proved to be of great relevance to the regional musical panorama. He almost always situated his memories in Porto da Cruz [small village in the north of the island], where from he spoke, for instance, about the field recordings he had done of this old man who, at 80 years old, still used to sing this long tongue-twister called 'A velha da cacalhada' [The disordered old lady]. He even imitated the sound of the Búzio [sea conch horn], used often as a calling instrument in the lands where he was born and raised. He described also the activities of his project Flores de Maio, and admitted that, with so many administrative responsibilities, in positions from managerial director to choir conductor, time was not as much as he used to have for singing and playing as he would like to. Precisely for that reason, it was so great to have been able to listen to him!
After farewells said and done, given it's the day before the opening, it was time to seriously put arms to work for the last preparations. Just because they were the last ones, it did not mean they were either short or even simple. Well by the contrary. Sara wanted that all geographical accounts, accumulated during all the interviews were deposited on the floor (now white) of PIPINOIR. But it could not be done in any shallow way! Everything had to be rigorously mapped, to scale and with respect to the right proportions! In the executive running of such tasks, we found ourselves in the middle of a true department for cartography and demographic studies, assembled at the entrance of the space, in which Rodrigo and Helena, surrounded by maps, pens, compasses, rulers and strings have verified over 150 different places, collected by Sara along all interviews. With the most precious help from the mothers Helena and Irene, Rodrigo planned and built a grid made of purple and green strings (rescued from the collection of Filipe's aunt), to organise the physical projection of all information onto the floor! Some data fragments were still arriving on warm hands, whilst Sara re-listened to each of the recordings and would, from time to time, shout names of streets, cities, and countries, one by one added to the list, which seemed only to grow without end.
At night already, and after more than 10 hours spent editing interviews (including those recorded yesterday) Sara finally started to mark the floor (until then immaculately clean) with a permanent mega thick black pen. Five basic symbols combined themselves in order to represent a rich relational network of people, places and musical and sonic memories. Some hours into it, and the floor was the same no more. We now could see the clear differences between the cultural nebulous centre of Funchal - with a great density of happenings and memories - and those symbols, more dispersed around it, which outlined the kernel of the high lands as well as the surrounding sea line.
We can already see also the constellations of hotels, which many musicians have described as the places where they mostly work in and the room's peripheries are as well now marked with other types of spots, related to those who in the meanwhile have immigrated far away. So rare it was, but also happened here; Lisbon and London marked down as peripheries, side by side, equivalent to points where from many have emigrated from, like Venezuela, Brazil and Angola. It was interesting to notice also that many of those who have been referring the sound of the ocean as that sound that's really important to them, are either not natural from Madeira, or have been not living in here for a long while. That is the violent nature of saudade, that only manifests itself when the things we potentially miss, precisely cease being present.
We spent well past midnight at the peak of such an analytical wave, and the scenes of the next episodes were straightly punched into the first hours of the following day…
Recording stills selected by Sara Rodrigues