Bebé Babá is a project aimed at parents and babies. It includes a series of workshops for babies and their parents, a set of workshops for the adults and a final show, which the adults accompanying the babies help to create and perform. Bebé Babá is a hybrid of a playful and productive course and an artistic performance. Throughout the workshops on musical approaches for early childhood the participating parents / educators try out different types of musical interaction and visual and tactile stimulation. The workshops with adults aim to create bonds and design a final show based on shared parenting experience. The workshops create a pathway through a space that is open to both research and imagination. In Bébé Babá the parents/educators are both creators and performers but also spectators of their babies’ reactions to the performance — they are the audience for their own show. The human voice is the main musical instrument, both on its own and accompanied by piano. Publicly available video recordings of visuals from the workshops reveal the process leading to the final presentation. It is a work in progress that allows for a crossover between art, technology, science, community and education and leads to reflection on the possible social roles of art. The musical interaction and the movement of scenic objects — characterized by rich colors and materials — are elements of a flexible puzzle that is developed throughout the different presentations, always in response to the needs of the participants. So, despite maintaining the same structure and some of the artistic content, each edition of the project is unique.

After taking place in four different cities in Portugal, this project was adapted for mothers in prison and their babies and was carried out in 2008 in Santa Cruz do Bispo prison in partnership with the Casa da Música education department. Since its creation in 2001, the project has been internationally recognised for its innovation and high artistic and social value, and has been documented in various publications. Bebé Babá is a project developed over the course of approximately one month involving the participation of 10 to 18 parents with babies and consisting of:

  • a. workshops for parents and babies. Based on games and a diverse set of methods, musical activities encourage cooperation between the group and interactions between babies and educators;
  • b. workshops for accompanying adults, supporting them to broaden their artistic experiences, explore their expressive capacities through voice and body, share ways of communicating with babies and participate in the design of the final show;
  • c. a show for parents and babies, open to the community.