Why records ?
Altamira's firsl mean of action is the production of sound portraits of communities.
The principle is to work with a small village community, or a group of neighbouring villages on the same site, and together with the inhabitants, create a very detailed sound portrait gathering the music and vocal forms that constitute the local heritage, as well as the sounds of daily life and the natural environment... The goal is the valorisation of the community’s musical world as well as their expression and identity, the CD acting as a communication support to the rest of the world. An approach which could also be implemented with an urban neighbourhood, a town or any socio-cultural group...
Each record is designed as a continuous mix combining music and sounds of the daily environment. While listening, one can hear a herd of goats walking to pasture, the permanent concert of birds and insects, the sound of the weaving loom or the plough pulled by oxen, the laughter of guests at a party, and many other sound "snapshots" that plunge the listener into the very heart of the community's life, which makes it possible to hear the music in its genuine context.
With this same care for authenticity, the recordings are entirely made on location, in the camps and villages, in the fields, forests and any other place where people live and work… The music selection gathers all the different instruments and stylistic techniques, as well as all the forms of expression practised within the community: work songs, love songs, ritual, festive, intimate music, etc… Accompanied by a quality colour booklet, the record offers an "audio film", the stunning realism of which sets the music in its ecological context while placing the human dimension at the forefront.
As a true mouthpiece of the community, the album powerfully displays its existence and dynamism, while valorising its cultural richness. A valuable heritage, but most of all, a social and relational richness. Beyond the testimony, the main interest in this type of project is the dynamics its generates…
The CD is only the visible part of the process which lies behind the motivation of our action. The production of the album, which spans months, sometimes several years, is an opportunity for the participants to examine their musical resources, which often appear to be much more important than they usually assume. For a poor rural population, it's a rare opportunity to be in a position of possessing riches, and to be able to give to others, with all the dignity that implies. Performing and singing in front of a microphone for the rest of the world is not trivial and can reinforce the group's capacity for autonomous collective action.
Musical expression on this level is a precious tool. Effective beyond words, halfway between what can be sensed and what can be imagined, music has always been a remarkable way to engage with poetry and sensitivity in a relation with oneself, with others and with life. Thanks to the medium of the CD, "the others" are no longer just the local community but virtually the world community – from which many marginalized populations feel excluded. Producing the album opens a space allowing the villagers to symbolically address that community and take their place in it peacefully and with dignity, with the emotion and conviviality of musical expression as their ambassadors.
Lastly, the record is a positive contribution to the spreading and sharing of cultural diversity - the common heritage of mankind.