Accepted Paper:

The choral group meetings: from institutional onset to the construction of an autonomous exchanges network  

Author:

José Rodrigues dos Santos (Academia Militar / Cidehus-UE)

Paper short abstract:

The Choral Groups of Cante Alentejano developed a dense network of exchanges, where each Group invites other Groups for annual “Groups’ Meetings”. We examine such a network from diachronic and structural perspectives: the process of construction of a Cultural Form and its present internal structure.

Paper long abstract:

It is rather well established that the concept of "Choral Groups of Cante Alentejano" and the form that we can observe since more than a half century in Alentejo has resulted from a heavy influence of learned social classes and by local and national state institutions. This includes overt action by the Salazar's authoritarian state ("Estado Novo"-1933-1974). Nevertheless, the "Choral Groups" soon appropriated the cultural form as their own thing, and developed a dense network of exchanges, where each Choral Group invites several other Groups for annual "Groups' Meetings". Reciprocity is expected and thus, in more than one hundred Meetings that take place every year, mainly from May (recently extending to Christmas season) to September, we observe an intense circulation of the Choral Groups in the region (Alentejo) and also out of it. These exchanges draw a dense network of relationships where important issues are at stake: a regional identity that is constructed and reinforced through the sharing of a common cultural form (Cante). Such practice of both a common traditional repertoire, and local and regional particularities in the way of interpreting the songs, is the locus to the negotiation of cultural norms (the "good singing"), through constant comparison and rivalry. We wish to examine the rise and functioning of such a network, both from diachronic and structural perspectives: the process of construction of a Cultural Form and its present internal structure. We hypothesize that the network's density is not uniform, showing several poles which emerge from local preferences.

Panel P60
Everyday names, tales, songs and play: continuous traditions in a changing world