Sleepless in Bragança

Ah, what wouldn’t I give for an hour’s silence! An hour without the slamming of doors, without the Christmas fireworks and most of all without the sound cars. The first night in Bragança I could only sleep one hour  much thanks to these vehicles with gigantic speakers on the roof, driving on the streets advertising God-knows-what to such a deafening volume that  even if you happen to be indoors it’s difficult to hear even your own thoughts when they pass by, let alone having a conversation. Aurimar made a petition to ban these cars, but it only lead to death threats from shop owners. Diego suggested I would start teaching meditation, but how would that be possible? I don’t believe there’s even one single spot that is quiet in this city. How can you live with such noise every day, all year round? I felt like I was going insane after one day. It’s rather depressing that this is the everyday reality for so many people all over the world.

At least it feels like I’m doing something about it through my work here. One of AmaZonArt’s objectives is to spread a culture of classical music as an antidote to the sound pollution that is so prevalent here. Not only the sound cars, but also extremely loud music being played outdoors, on sqaures and city centers, as well as privately owned vehicles that are often used as mini night clubs by the beach, with speakers in the trunk and the volume on a maximum level to compete with the surrounding cars and their sound systems. The music that is favoured is often relating to sex and drugs.

Last week we made a tour in Bragança and the surrounding villages in order to raise funds to start up youth orchestras. We played in churches as well as outdoors, and as soon as a sound car came near it completely drowned out the music we were playing, with it’s disco beat and the voice of someone shouting at the top of their lungs. It was annoying of course, but I think it proved a point, and hopefully made people think about what kind of environment they want to live in.

Categories: December 2012 | Leave a comment

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