“Encantador de Peixe” is a new musical composed & arranged by Joyce Whitelaw with libretto in Portuguese by Francis Raposo Ferreira. The work also includes several songs from poems by Quarteira poet & fisherman, Manual de Brito Pardal “EM CIMA DO MAR SALGADO”, and the words of the opening song, “Madrugada” , are by Algarve author Maria Manuel Valgao whose book “ Vozes Do Mar e Do Peixe ” is an incredible tribute to the sea and the history of fishermen in Portugal.
“ Encantador de Peixe” is about a young boy, Pedro, growing up in a small Portuguese fishing village during the early 20th century when much of life was based on fishing using small traditional wooden boats. Pedro learns the art of fishing and a love for singing from his father. But after some unfortunate events, the only audience for his singing is the fish on the open sea! Over the years he develops specific songs for various types of fish, Pargo, Carapau, Robalo, etc. To Pedro, his singing seems to attract fish and he makes good catches. However, this doesn't go down well with the locals when fortunes change and only Pedro brings in a full catch. The villagers, especially the land people, become suspicious of Pedro and his apparent ability to enchant fish …
An old fisherman sitting, beside a barrel holding a bottle of wine, a candle and a conch shell. The old fisherman, mending his nets, shows signs of frustration at not being able to concentrate on what he is doing, giving up, he sighs and begins to speak:
“These days, the only things caught in my nets are my hands.”
“Well, a long time ago, just before the Great War, there was an isolated fishing village on the Algarve coast where the sea is relatively calm. Like most isolated villages, there were two types of people: those who mind their own business and those who mind the lives of others. Like in any fishing village there were the sea people, the fishermen, and the others, the land people. We've all heard of tales conjured up by fishermen who tell us of sea monsters and mermaids, but the land people, they too can conjure up their own monsters.“