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Sponsorship
Matosinhos City Hall
 
Expected Results
The Project will be carried throughout 2008, and will culminate with the publication of Armando Leça’s phonograms, a critical study of his work and a colloquium on Sound Archives in Portugal.
 
Coordination
Salwa Castelo-Branco e Maria do Rosário Pestana
 
Project Summary
This project focuses on the documentation of music in rural areas throughout continental Portugal carried out in 1939 - 1940 by the folklorist Armando Leça, in collaboration with National Radio (Emissora Nacional), sponsored by the Executive Commission of Centenary Celebrations (Comissão Executiva dos Centenários). The survey resulted in a collection of sound recordings (62 acetate tapes) entitled Recolha Folclórica, written documentation, photographs, and other documents that to date have not been assessed and published. The study and edition of these recordings is particularly interesting because these are the first known recordings documenting rural musical practices from 10 of the 11 regions that constituted continental Portugal at the time. The collection contains 415 items of the total of 487 made by Armando Leça between November 1939 and April 1940. Despite the limited time that the compiler had to carry out the project, the difficulty of transportation, and limited access to electricity, Armando Leça completed his mission and recorded 11 hours and 40 minutes, of what he referred to as “Portuguese musical geography” . To carry out this project, Leça mobilized all the informants he had contacted since 1913 in his successive “folkloric pilgrimages”, including his participation in the evaluation committee of the Competition of the Most Portuguese of All Villages, as discussed in the article by Pedro Félix published in the book Vozes do Povo: A Foclorização em Portugal .
Despite the considerable resources spent on the project, the recordings were only disseminated through 8 radio programs. The project will clarify the motivations that led Armando Leça to carry out his pioneering project and assess the subsequent neglect of its results. It will contribute to a better understanding of the documentation of music from rural areas in Portugal by making available heretofore inaccessible recordings, and by critically examining the motivations, methods and results of Armando Leça’s work. The project will be complimented by an international colloquium on “Sound Archives in Portugal” that will contextualize Leça’s work within a wider perspective.