One of my favourite university Professors once told me that I should only write about the things that I know. And I’ve been faithful to this premise ever since. No matter how fictional my sentence is, its basis will always be of truth. And, bearing that in mind I’ll write you today about my holiday’s experiences. I will start with my last, since it is the one which is most alive in my self: my stay in Pico Island and what I have learnt about the world of strings to which I was introduced by the Cordas Festival.
For those who know me, this is not news: I love Pico Island. Had I not been born in S. Miguel and given the possibility of choosing my birthplace, unquestionably I would have chosen Pico. Not that it’s more beautiful than my island but I would have, gladly, been born there. Naturally, you may think and say that had that happened I would not feel the same. Who knows? The fact is that Pico’s beauty lies not only by being the island of the highest Portuguese mountain — one I have never climbed but wish to do so, quite soon; nor because of its gorgeous black lava rocks contrasting with the bright red windows and doors, but it’s the island’s aura. Even if you don’t believe in such a thing, rest assured that you will feel something extra coming from the soil as you walk by. I cannot explain it better than this: a feeling comes from within the earth core, travels up to surface and enters your body like love and passion do. And, as such feelings, it consumes you as no other.
When you are a tourist, there are still a lot things you can do to improve your stay. A lot more information could be given, for isntance. However, I’ve been coming and going to Pico, for different reasons, and I can, hands down, tell you that it has changed — for the better — in the past five years. Why? Art came in to being in Madalena and it has been growing and spreading around the streets of this island. When you are part of something new, you are always afraid. But, nonetheless, you try and you push and you grow and then something magical happens: you make dreams come true. This is what MiratecArts has done to me.
Last year, I participated in the first Cordas World Music Festival as the winner of the literary short-story contest. But that was not the “wow” factor. The “wow” part was meeting people from other places and see how the artists enchanted the audience with their string melodies. If last year was a “wow” year, then this year I have no adjective for it, since it transcended my expectations. Apart from the local and already known artists like Rafael Carvalho, Luís Alberto Bettencourt and Ruben Bettencourt, I (and those who were lucky to attend the concerts at the new Madalena’s auditorium) have met artists from Brazil (Maninho), China (Lu Yanan), Mozambique (Michel William), Cape Verde (Tcheka) and Israel (Eran Zamir). I have met the way they are gentle, creative and giving people not only throughout their own personalities but also about their music. What a sound! I could go on about what memories and which chords (no pun intended!) they have struck in me but that would be attempting to reach a level I am not able to. I can only say that I and the audience — “we few, we happy few” — and our minds were blown away and can only hope for the same for next year’s festival, which is already in the making. If you are planning to pay a visit to the Azores, around September, please check if there is a way to stop by Pico Island so that you can be part of this Cordas Festival. It’s worth every penny you spend on the flight ticket because the festival is open to the public and it’s free. Free! Can you imagine that? Having these artists (some have never been to Portugal before) performing in a tiny middle atlantical island for free? Yep! It’s Cordas Festival. It’s what MiratecArts offers you: art for everyone, in every possible way, for free. Free!