Since 2004 a growing collection of Bristol primary schools have benefited from an introduction to Mozambican culture via traditional music and storytelling from Celso Paco.
This October, Celso was back again in a hectic schedule with a sackful of traditional instruments including mbira’s (thumbpianos), timbila (traditional xylophone), modified bows and arrows and a variety of gourds, sticks and pipes.
Following traditional greetings, children settled down to tales of talking antelope, trees decorated with umbrellas (stolen by monkeys) and even ‘death’ shrunk to the size of an ant and thrown into the sea! Stories were interwoven with melodies, rhythms and sound effects such that it was easy to imagine yourself clustered around a fire at night surrounded by darkness and the sounds of the African bush – who needs an xbox anyway?
Celso has now visited some of the schools several times allowing him to develop a valued relation ship with both staff and students. Celso has described how the children always give him a very warm welcome, “especially those who are familiar with my regular visit” while teachers explained how Celso has always achieved “fantastic engagement from the children” with an “inspiring use of story and music together”.
Celso, originally from Mozambique but now living in Sweden, splits his time between studying the origins and relationships between folk music and dance in the Portuguese-speaking world, writing, recording and performing music, story-telling and running workshops in folk music, story-telling and dance for both children and adults in Africa, Europe, the US and Australia. While in the UK Celso went on to perform at the Canterbury Folk Festival (with the Afrobubbles) and the Duke of Cumberland in Whitstable.
We hope that Celso will be back in Bristol again next autumn. Any schools that are interested in arranging a visit should contact Bristol Beira Link. In the meantime, more news about Celso and samples of his music can be found here.