“It was an incredible experience. I learned the necessary tools to be able to research, write and share knowledge about musical phenomena” – Margarida Lázaro França
Margarida França, 35 years old, concluded her Master’s degree in Ethnomusicology and Studies in Popular Music, at the University of Aveiro, in Portugal.
A graduate in Music from the School of Communication and Arts at Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique, she has always wanted to research musical phenomena and understand the key questions: “Who? When? Why? And how?” and for this reason 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 “CHORAL SINGING IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF IMAGINED COMMUNITIES – A STUDY OF THE FESTCOROS IN MOZAMBIQUE (2006-2019)” as her thesis topic. Writing about the dynamics of the choirs and the way they generate imagined communities made perfect sense to the soulful singer.
“I always liked group activities involving music, because the choirs are places of support and mutual aid among people”, she added.
Her research analyses the annual choir event organised in Mozambique since 2006 – Festcoros Festival (FFC) – and seeks to explore the extent to which this event promotes feelings of communion and mutual identification among different Mozambicans and how it works towards the construction of an imagined community.
In her research, she divides the participation in the festival, and the practice of the country’s choirs, into secular and religious choirs. She notes that secular choirs participate, for the most part, in patriotic songs sung during Mozambique’s liberation struggle and compositions on the fight against poverty, or good citizenship among Mozambicans. Among the religious choirs, she highlights the participation of an Islamic choir, acclaimed by the press, the organisers of the event and the members of the jury, as a way of confirming the union between different Churches.
In the light of what she found, Margarida confirms the importance of the festival for the unification of society and the construction of an imagined community, based around ancestral traditions and the resilient character of Mozambicans.
Back in Mozambique, the scholar says that she has respect for others’ music and ethical care in musical approaches. “Each people has its music, and if we want to understand the music of each people, we must live with these people, with these individuals”, she says.
Now she wants to advance to her doctorate and dedicate herself to the education of women in vulnerable situations. “I have followed the life stories of women who do not know their rights and suffer all kinds of abuse within their marital relationships and in society in general. I believe that a lot can improve if women can sing about their difficulties in choral form and advance the protection measures that the Mozambican state provides for all women,” says Margarida.
Margarida says that studying in Portugal was an incredible experience. “I learned the necessary tools to be able to research, write and share knowledge about musical phenomena. About the musical phenomena of my land and of other places in the world”, she reveals.
She asks other scholars to seize the opportunity. “Make use of the opportunity that PROCULTURA gives us, strive to share knowledge, experiences and, of course, finish your courses with very good grades. Because only then can we improve the cultural situation of our countries”, Margarida explains.
PROCULTURA is an action of the PALOP-TL EU Multiannual Indicative Programme, funded by the European Union, co-funded and managed by Camões, I.P. and co-funded also by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. It aims to contribute to job creation in income-generating activities within the cultural and creative economy in the PALOP-TL.
Source: Procultura/Creative Futures