10 September 2012

The valleys are alive with music

The summer is always a fun time for people.  There are festivals here, festivals there and music everywhere (sorry). The season starts normally in about June and gets going seriously throughout July and August.

Living on the side of a hill we get the benefit of the music without having to venture out to the event.  Sometimes this can be highly entertaining and other times slightly annoying - a lot depends on the wind direction, the time of the concert, volume/level of musicians.

There is also a wedding venue on the other side of the valley so when you hear music out of season, that is usually the reason.  This music tends to be much lower in volume though so unless there is a particularly loud bass note, we tend not to notice it.

A typical concert stages looks like this

This was the stage for the celebrations in Sao Mamede in 2011

Note the banks of speakers - these are frightfully important.  You have to be able to reach the WHOLE of the village/small town and outlying areas! 

The music can be kicked off as early at first thing in the morning but this is normally recorded and just plays away merrily to entertain whoever might be in the locality not forgetting the long suffering dogs who howl along with it if they don't particularly like a track.

The afternoons tend to be fairly quiet and then early evening you have band practice.  Universally known as "One, two.  Testing.  One, two" in any country. Then perhaps the enthusiastic bass player has a bit of a go with riffs and then the drummer and then a full practice but not at full volume. More like a rumble with the odd bit that starts you wondering what the tune might be.

Depending on the type of occasion, there is a strict agenda of happenings. Normally an opening, a pause for eating, music, pause for the stripper (!) and back to the music and general frivolity.  Food stalls sell tasty snacks to soak up the alcohol and there is always some form of attraction for the children who never seem to go to bed in the summer - possibly because sleep will not be an option with the musical volume.  Accordian music is a feature and can be extremely bouncy and loud.

A tasty bifana

A typical van selling scrummy doughnut-like treats

Made in a round like a Cumberland sausage then cut and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.  Seriously addictive.

Some parties are larger (both in size and length of time) and others are just small gatherings.  All will be eagerly attended by everyone with much gossiping, drinking and dancing.

A recent one was just outside Ericeira.  It only happens every 17 years (somewhat like the once every 20 year Preston Guild) which, for a friend was probably just as well, as the event took place in front of her house and was seriously well attended to the tune of thousands. It went on for a week.  We had a laugh when she Skyped up to let us hear one of the amateur groups rehearsing.  They weren't bad actually.

One of the noisiest events near to us takes place every year in celebration of the motorbike fraternity.  You have the blare of bikes and then the blare of music.  To be fair, they usually have extremely good bands on, mainly doing covers and you can go to bed and bop along with it although it can wake you up when they get to the Freddie Mercury section.  This event is over three days but the interesting thing is, there never seems to be any trouble.   
The most recent musical event took place a week or so ago at the finale of a cycling event in Nafarros.  The usual music blasted out and then the last act of the night came on and I have to say, were very, very good.  So much so I checked them out on the net and discovered they were called Semibreve.  I can recommend them.
Now the season is coming to an end so the hills will become quiet, the dogs will be sleeping peacefully, but I will miss the music.


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