“Why should a small and simple – almost rudimentary – four-stringed instrument, inherited from a past tradition, nowadays play a relevant role on the global stage of contemporary artistic expression? The fact is that today, in a world of music and of world music, the importance and image of Brazil or Cape Verde cannot be separated from the acoustic presence of the cavaquinho; and the Hawaiian ukulele, migrant grandchild of the Portuguese instrument – we will later see why ‘grandchild’ rather than ‘child’ – is the current protagonist of a powerful musical movement around the world. And all the while, the unique and inimitable sound of its agéd but ever-melodious grandfather, the Minho cavaquinho, from northeastern Portugal, goes on.
What is written here, in a collection of notes and references, examines the cavaquinho’s singularity, tracing and commenting on the historical, geographical, social and aesthetic twists and turns of its existence. Addressing the links between the traditional and the contemporary, confrontations between old and new, dialogue and non-communication, convergences and conflicts, we embark upon an exploration of the cavaquinho’s journey, certain that, even as we speak of the past, it is the present which interests and propels us.”
This is the Introduction to the
book written by João Luís Oliva
and prefaced by Salwa
Castelo-Branco. It can be found
included with the CD: