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Including FIMUV concerts bring Ubuntu ethics to schools and CERCI in Santa Maria da Feira

Inclusive experience also foresees a final concert with Portuguese Sign Language (LGP) for the general public

In its last week of programming, the 44th edition of the Paços de Brandão International Music Festival brings live music to children, young people, and adults who cannot travel to the concert halls due to special needs or illness. These inclusive concerts involve the Ubuntu philosophy, which starts from the essential concept that no individual lives without awareness of the other, as this is the only way to experience the fullness of existence in a community.

I am because you are”. This is the meaning of the word “ubuntu”, adopted by several African languages ​​and with growing international use, reflecting a humanist and transversal philosophy of life, defending the idea that human beings only effectively reach fullness through their awareness of the other. The Paços de Brandão International Music Festival (FIMUV) has reinforced its inclusive aspect in recent years and, in this spirit, invited the Ubuntu Leaders Academy to take concerts to structures in Santa Maria da Feira with special educational needs, such as schools, CERCI units and the pediatric ward of Hospital S. Sebastião. In total, from today to Friday, there will be five concerts particularly dedicated to demonstrating that individual happiness is closely linked to the well-being of others: two of these shows will take place in schools in Milheirós de Poiares and Paços de Brandão, another two are scheduled for the CERCI of Santa Maria de Lamas and Santa Maria da Feira, and the final performance will be in the auditorium of the CiRAC association, which is the main promoter of the festival. This concert in particular will feature simultaneous translation in Portuguese Sign Language and will also be subject to a special audio treatment to guarantee greater reverberation in deaf spectators.

Augusto Trindade, the violinist and educator who assumes the artistic direction of FIMUV, argues that, “if the event’s mission is to bring music and high culture to everyone, it has to be committed to doing it effectively with everyone, without fear of the difficulties I might encounter or of any discomfort that might result from contact with more unusual reactions on the part of the public”. To materialize this strategy, the Ubuntu Leaders Academy was invited in 2021, which has been doing this work for several years as a project created by the Instituto Padre António Vieira to affirm in the educational community of 17 countries what this organization describes as the foundations of  “Ethics of Care, Building Bridges and Servant Leadership, through the development of socio-emotional skills in the participants”.

With a view to disseminating this methodology, the inclusive concerts of the 44th FIMUV will be performed by the coordinator of the Ubuntu Academy of Leaders, singer, composer and guitarist Luísa Vidal, who was part of the Figo Maduro family collective and is now pursuing a career in her own right. For Augusto Trindade, this is “a charming, sensitive and committed artist, in addition to being extremely supportive and active among the most disadvantaged communities, given her international volunteer work”.

As an example, the artistic director of FIMUV highlights that Luísa Vidal has already worked with the non-governmental organization MOVE supporting local entrepreneurs in East Timor, provided assistance to refugees sheltered in the French camp in Calais and developed community service in Morocco with the institution Missionaires of Charity, founded by Sister Teresa of Calcutta.

For Nuno Reis, president of CiRAC, these credentials demonstrate that the festival, supported by the Directorate-General for the Arts, by the Municipality of Santa Maria da Feira and by Santa Casa da Misericórdia of Lisbon, also at the level of its own poster, managed to find a sensitive partner to issues of social inclusion. “What the covid-19 pandemic has shown us well is that the world’s problems affect us all equally, regardless of how they manifest themselves in one place or another on the planet”, argues the official. “Whether with the hospitalized community, with the disabled or with the economically more vulnerable, positive experiences should always be shared and this component of FIMUV is our small contribution to make that happen right here, at home: we take these concerts to schools and CERCI so that those who are there and cannot come to us can, even so, share the joy we derive from music and culture”.

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