The story of the Coral di Nôs Sã Terra

Contribution from Monica Alves

For those who might not be aware of the origins and background of the group Coral di Nôs Sã Terra , also known by our shortened moniker, The Coral , let me take you down memory lane.

As the Associação Promotora da Instrução dos Macaenses (APIM), the organizing Committee of the Encontro das Comunidades Macaenses "Macau 2007", was starting to put together the program for the Encontro, an e-mail was sent to the Casas worldwide in October of that year inviting the diaspora planning to travel to Macau to participate in some fashion at the then upcoming Encontro. APIM, under the direction of Dr. José M. Rodrigues, was also at this time making a push, lobbying for the candidacy of Patuá to the Universal Intangible Heritage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

At a meeting called for the members who would be attending the 2007 Encontro, the Board asked for volunteers who might like to sing a couple of songs in Patuá at the Encontro. Thanks to the generosity and talent of one of our own, Armando Santos, a CD with the musical accompaniment of two popular songs which he had adapted into Patuá, was given to us to practice and use. Thirteen brave souls stepped forward and got down to the task of learning the songs. There was not much time to practice, just barely 3 practices, before our members started leaving Toronto for Macau. Safe to say, the majority of our group did not know Patuá at all, so we basically had to learn the songs phonetically. The goal of the group was that we would have "fun" with this whole experience and project the cheerfulness in our performances to the audience. We met our goal and our two performances were very well received.

Sadly, on February 20, 2009, the new edition of UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger classified Patuá as a "critically endangered" language.

Fast forward to today 2013, six years since the 2007 Encontro and The Coral has not stopped singing. Presently twenty two members strong, The Coral is still having fun. We have grown in our ranks into a cohesive independent group whose members coincidentally are also members of Casa de Macau - Toronto. We are continually gaining in our confidence and knowledge of our unique language, the Dóci Lingo di Macau . Thanks to the continued dedication, support and generosity of Armando, our repertoire has grown from those humble beginnings of two songs now to include over forty songs adapted into Patuá. These songs span multiple decades and styles of popular music from the 50's to the 80's. Learning and performing these songs is our way of preserving through song the "connection" to our Macanese heritage, nurturing this intangible link to our past.

As long as the spirit and dedication of The Coral remains strong, which it is, and as long as we are having fun, which we are, we will continue singing for our own pleasure and for the pleasure of others who wish to listen. Some of The Coral 's performances have been posted to YouTube as well as on this page. If interested, you are invited to visit and enjoy the music. To sum it up best, quoted from one of Armando's songs written for The Coral :

Nôs tâ cantâ, cantâ diverâ
Nôs tâ cantâ nôs sã lingu cristão, patuá di terra
Têm vez nôs cansado, Têm vez nôs qui confusão
Importante nôs cantâ, vem di coração