EFFE Laureate - FMM Sines, Festival Músicas do Mundo
For most of the last five hundred years Sines has been best known as the birthplace of the explorer Vasco da Gama, the first European to find his way to India by sailing round the Cape of Good Hope. This century, though, the seaside town in Alentejo has hosted a festival each July that does its best to live up to its title and that spirit of discovery – Music of the World.
The centrepiece for the festival is the castle in which da Gama was born; the jazz, rock and reggae in the festival would have surprised him but one wonders if any of the African and Arabic music now heard within its walls might have had early echoes as he sailed along the coasts of modern day Mozambique, Kenya and Kerala. Even classical music has a place, unusual for festivals that have an otherwise eclectic agenda.
The EFFE jury felt that the festival was impressive for “understanding internationalism, understanding the role of the arts and real diversity – not a cosmetic diversity... It's a real celebration of art, life and cosmopolitanism.” FMM describes its mission as being “to discover the music of the real world as it is made and experienced in our times: music marked by associations between performers from different geographic and cultural origins, arising from the movements of ideas and people which define contemporary society.”
The first three days are held in its secondary venue, the smaller village of Porto Covo which, the festival boasts, has “some of the best beaches in Portugal”, presumably for the moments when a break from all the festive energy is needed. In fact much of the festival takes place on or close to beaches so the dress code is decidedly not formal. The setting means that many of the acts play to a huge and thoroughly mixed audience who pay little or nothing. Augmenting the outdoor music are talks, workshops and a book fair, all of which help to promote the subtexts of the festival: tolerance, freedom of speech and human rights.
By Simon Mundy for EFA