Mil Pássaros is born from the fingertips of an “innumerable hand” of children and adults. They come together in a visual and sound “murmuration” tuned by the desire for a better world and have been sighted in various places and times of the year. For readers interested in getting to know more deeply the origins and initial wanderings are recommend the book Rotas de Mil Pássaros that we launched in spring 2022. For those who have already heard other Mil Pássaros stories and just need to understand the context of the memoirs we are narrating here, we recommend the article One Thousand Birds in the Padre Cruz Community. What is told here are small episodes of a voyage that Inês and Gustavo took with very different people (children, young people and the elderly) who attend the Centro Social do Bairro Padre Cruz (a structure of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa).
Unumano. We started by playing Uno with them and then Gustavo remembered a body percussion game very similar to Uno. It’s a wordless game. Whenever a new element comes in, we start playing without explaining the game and people understand the rules as they play. At a certain point we also invented that the 5 claps rule would be invented by young people in each game. That’s how we usually start sessions with young people, playing without talking.
Adufe Class. There is a 100-year-old lady, Dona Adelaide, who is from Idanha-a-Nova and was a “adufe” player. She has a great passion for the song Senhora do Almortão. When we realized that, we brought an “adufe” and started singing the version we knew of Senhora do Almortâo. As soon as we started singing, Dona Adelaide said “that’s not the tone“. We then handed her the “adufe” and she began to play and sing her version. During the following session, we already sang Dona Adelaide’s version, but as soon as we started singing, she turned to Gustavo (who was playing the “adufe”) and said “that’s not how you play” and gave him a “masterclass”. When the rhythm became more stable, we all sang.
Other Music, Other Theaters. In the initial sessions with the youth we started making “tuballoons”. And we created an orchestra. We experimented with non-conventional instruments, painted and made orizuros, recorded sounds and used audacity and soundplant to manipulate them. We made a POLISPhone of the neighborhood. And we did theater exercises.
“Big” Birds. The first time we explored bird soundscapes with the elderly, they liked it so much that when we left to do the session with the youth, we could hear the birds singing in the next room for a long time.
News on the Age front. PaPI-Opus 8 was presented at Santa Casa to babies and the elderly. With the first audience it went very well, but the big news was the presentation for the elderly. I had never made an Opus 8 for this type of audience before and it was an incredible experience: they made rhymes, bird sounds and countless comments describing what they saw. Even after several weeks had passed, from time to time they came to talk to me and told me that they liked it very much. Especially Mr Cesar.
A Super Sonic Experience. In the first session with seniors in which we experimented making musiic with bamboos I think the biggest surprise was caused by the assistants, when they saw people who are normally more asleep actively participating in the session.
Good Morning. From day one, we started every session for babies with the Bom Dia (Good Morning) song. We sang the song with gestures and from the beginning until now Miguel always laughs with the plão plão plão. It is a constant in all sessions and now all the children laugh. In addition, we are inventing conversations with these sounds.
Emotions. There was a session with the youth group in which we played a game with emotions. Basically, we choose an emotion and the level of intensity increases with each person. In this game, Tomás was so committed that he always wanted to be at the highest level of that emotion, whether he was laughing, crying, or even falling asleep with peace of mind, pretending that the chair he had on top of him was a blanket.
My Favorite Things. In the first phase of the project we met Domingos, from the 1 year old classroom. He only crawled and didn’t make any sounds. He was very fond of us, he was always happy and many times during the sessions he would sit on our laps. In the last session of the first phase, saw him walk for the first time! In the second phase he started to participate vocally and he was very happy when he saw us and very sad when we would leave… It’s heartbreaking. Ivan, who is in the 1-year-old classroom, is still only able to crawl, but he likes music a lot and participates a lot vocally. Whenever he sees Gustavo playing the guitar, he goes straight to him. Kendrik, from the 2 year old class, sings whatever we sing and so we also pull him along and have musical conversations during the sessions. At the end, he says: thank you Inês, thank you Gustavo!In the second phase we started going to the nursery because: 1) babies are adorable; 2) the educators who are there now were the educators of the 2-year-old classroom in the first phase. It so happened that one day we stopped by to say hello and started singing to the babies. They loved their reaction and so did we. So now we also go there to sing every week.
Their Favorite Things. These are some of the elderly´s’ favorite moments: Rosarinho liked the hank activity (we sang “Vamos lá saindo” while we passed a hank to everyone) because she felt that we were all united. Senhor José is very fond of the music of Canção da Terra, and so whenever we sing it, only his voice can be heard. Idalina had a super-beautiful evolution because until 3 sessions ago she didn’t talk to us and after Gustavo asked her to touch the guitar strings she started talking, dancing with me, giving us hugs and there are also sessions where she arrives upset and leaves very happy.
Wishes. Two weeks ago we collected the wishes of the elderly and there was one that jumped out at me. Senhor Valdomar said that he wanted to go to Cape Verde and a few sessions ago he had told me that his favorite food was “cachupa”. So in the last session Gustavo and I sang a Cape Verdean song (na oh minino na) and he started to sing with us. It was very beautiful.
This is it. In addition to this, we have audio recordings of songs, warm-ups, phrases and poems (we will use them in the January exhibition and later I will also order another bird stand).