A “very rewarding” feat that “rewards the effort and dedication” to prepare for the competition was how the Algarve accordionist João Palma reacted today to the victory achieved at the 71st Accordion World Cup, which ended on Sunday in Lithuania.
João Palma is 18 years old, born in Loulé, Faro county, and became the “first Portuguese to win in the category” of junior virtuoso, in an edition of the World Cup of the International Confederation of Accordion (CIA), an entity integrated in the International Council of Music of the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) and that protects these competitions.
“It’s a job that needs to be studied a lot, and being the first Portuguese to win in my World Cup category is very rewarding for my work. Although it costs a lot and a lot of work, it’s always good to recognize our value in these competitions, “said João Palma.
The Loulean accordionist stressed that today, the young people of his age “prefer to have fun with friends and go to the beach during the summer,” an attitude that is not in line with the demand for a world-class event such as the World Cup , which has 100 participants selected, representing more than 20 countries, and where the level “is very high,” he said.
“It’s a World Cup, there are qualifications in different countries to know if the competitor is at the minimum level to compete, so all competitors have a very high level,” added João Palma, whose future will pass in the medium term, for a “training in the jazz side” in Lisbon.
“Jazz gives a lot of creativity and thinking outside the box, which is what I think society is missing at the moment,” said João Palma, stressing that the accordion is “one of the most versatile instruments” and “can be played in jazz, popular music, traditional music, and in almost every genre. ”
Nélson Conceição is the teacher of João Palma and said that his student’s victory “was a fantastic achievement”, because “it is not every day that a Portuguese achieves a World Cup victory” of accordion, where the Portuguese representatives, who are selected by the Association of Accordionists of Algarve – Mito Algarvio, have difficulties to support expenses and sometimes finance their own pocket movements, due to lack of official support.
“There is a lot of work, a lot of dedication, there is a deprivation of many things, and nowadays it is very complicated we can grab these young people and do something in this sense,” he said, stressing that it is not easy “to study eight to ten hours a day , during the month of August, instead of going to the beach with friends, “to later” represent the best possible country, without having enough recognition or support for it. ”
This teacher, who also abdicates the time with the family to train these young people, deplores the lack of support for those who represent Portugal in these competitions, and counterpoints with other countries, such as Russia or China, where the State finances and supports the its practitioners.
“China will organize a World Cup in August 2019, has a budget of half a million euros and [will] finance with 300 euros the travel of each participant, from other countries, to have the best. in 2020, and we will see what support we will have, “he countered, leaving the appeal that it is necessary to support the practitioners of this musical instrument,” which is part of Portuguese culture. “