Mozambique: Margarida França completes her master’s degree in Music with a Procultura scholarship

“It was an amazing experience, I have learned the necessary tools to be able to research, write and share knowledge about musical phenomena” – Margarida Lázaro França.

Margarida França, 35 years old, completed her master’s degree in Ethnomusicology and Studies in Popular Music, at the University of Aveiro, in Portugual.

Graduated in Music at the School of Communication and Arts of the Eduardo Mondlane University, in Mozambique, she always wanted to research musical phenomena and understand the key questions “Who? When? Why? And How? And that’s why she applied for a Procultura master’s scholarship to study ethnomusicology and studies in popular music.

Margarida has been singing in choirs since she was a child and chose as the subject for her thesis “Singing in choirs in the construction of imagined communities – the case of Festcoros in Mozambique (2006-2019).” Writing about the dynamics of choirs and the way they generate imagined communities made perfect sense for the singer with an altruistic soul.

“I always enjoyed group activities in the context of music, as choirs are places of support and mutual help between people”, she underlines.

Her research analyses the annual choral event organized in Mozambique since 2006 – the Festcoros Festival (FFC) – seeking to explore the extent to which this event give raise to feelings of union and  mutual identification between different Mozambicans and in what way it contributes to the construction of an imagined community.

In her researches, she divides the participation in the festival, the choir practice of the country, in secular and religious choirs. She notes that the secular choirs participate, mostly, with patriotic themes sung during the Mozambican liberation war and compositions about the fight against poverty, or good citizenship of Mozambicans. Among the participation of religious choirs, an Islamic choir stands out, acclaimed by the press, by the event organizers and by the members of the jury, around ancestral traditions and the resilient character of Mozambicans.

Based on what she found, Margarida confirms the importance of the festival for the unification of society and the construction of an imagined community, around ancestral traditions and the resilient character of Mozambicans.

Back in Mozambique, the scholarship holder says she takes with her respect for the music of the other and the ethical care in musical approaches. “Each people has its music and if we want to understand the music of each people, we need to live with these people”, she underlines.

From here, she wants to advance to her doctorate and dedicate herself to the education of women in vulnerable situations. “I have followed stories of women who do not know their rights and suffer all kinds of abuse within their marital relationship and society in general. I believe that if women sing in chorus their difficulties and promote the protection proposals that the Mozambican state makes available to all women, much can improve”, says Margarida.

Margarida says that studying in Portugal was an incredible experience. “It was an amazing experience, I have learned the necessary tools to be able to research, write and share knowledge about musical phenomena. From the musical phenomena of my land and other parts of the world”, she reveals.

To the other fellows, she asks them to take advantage of the opportunity. “Make use of the opportunity that Procultura gives us, make an effort to share knowledge, experiences and of course, finish your courses with very good grades. Because that’s the only way we can improve the cultural situation in our countries”, appeals Margarida.

The PROCULTURA is an Action of the PALOP-TL Multiannual Indicative Program, financed by the EU, co-financed and managed by Camões, I.P. and also co-financed the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and aims to contribute to job creation in income-generating activities in the cultural and creative economy in the PALOP-TL countries.