In 2014, UNESCO welcomed Cante Alentejano in its precious list of local expressions classified as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In doing so this music, deeply rooted in Alentejo, was placed together with Fado and Flamenco among other planetary musical genres in the list of cultural assets to safeguard and protect. These songs enable people to build their identity, help them tell their stories and highlight what is unique about them. These songs are transmitted from one generation to the next, along with a legacy that shows a younger generation where they come from.

In Cante Alentejano’s case, we can easily find a sense of community and social life in the region, the relationship with work, the immense respect for the land and nature, the sharing of affections, the celebration of traditions or the fear of death. This is a striking example of how music, in its popular expression, is directly associated with its place of origin. Mirroring it, imitating it, extending it.

The Imaterial arises from this acute notion that music exists within a place and speaks to it. On the pretext of this place, Évora, where intangible heritage is so undoubtedly linked to built heritage, also recognized by UNESCO in 1986, the city and its surroundings, the entire region of Central Alentejo, full of History, becomes the perfect stage for bringing together these world heritage songs. The dialogue between these different cultures - that also takes place between the past and the present, and between the built heritage and the heritage that only exists within its interpreters - seeks mutual recognition and valorization from their cultural differences.

Imaterial reminds us that these sounds are intricately intertwined with their place of origin.


Câmara Municipal de Évora/DCP
in partnership with Fundação Inatel


Carlos Seixas