Fate had it that the 21st of March, 1997 was the day that forever would be that of the first concert of what is the youngest band of traditional music of Madeira.

Recipient of such desideratum was the Escola Secundária Dr. Ângelo da Silva (a local highschool), hosting a inter-highschools traditional music meeting.

The Cultural Association “Encontros da Eira”, despite its tender age, feels the weight of responsibility steadily growing.

Without demerit for existing projects, this group of nine friends somehow intended to say that the village of Camacha also wanted to take a role in the noble mission of investigating, collecting, preserving and divulging relics of our cancioneiro (oral music legacy) in a way that such were not lost in the turn of time.

From the eiras (place used in past times to beat the grain out of the plants) to the stages it was a snap and here we are before a reputable project founded upon the origin and experience of its members and binding them to what is most genuine in terms of popular culture. This first step was the beginning of many that lead “Encontros da Eira” to many places spreading the knowledge that in Madeira a new group of traditional music had born.

The year of 1998 was getting by and more precisely during the month of December this band had what it is the dream of any self-respecting band fulfilled. Made possible by a joint venture with Almasud Records the band recorded its first CD titled “Retalhos de Tradição” (Clips of Tradition).

The first four editions, 1000 units each, quickly sold out. The fifth edition is currently on sale and it had 1500 units produced. This album catapulted the band to the spotlight either locally and overseas thus divulging traditional music from the Autonomous Region of Madeira. A firm step into the veracity of the band’s ongoing work…

The belief in the commercial success of Madeira’s traditional music, so singular and specific, could not stay inside this piece of rock that raises quite a good few meters above that blue immensity called Atlantic Sea…

Four years of existence provided two trips abroad (London and Caracas), five to the mainland (Lisbon, Porto, Alentejo and Algarve) and one to the Azores.
As a corollary of all this activity the second album made a swift appearance.

Aquintrodia” (a regional expression meaning ‘some time ago’) was published in 2001 during a consolidation phase. The album showed a steady evolution of the band in terms of quality mainly due to acquired experience and the addition of new members. This new work had an edition of 6 000 units of which, and to the present date, already 4 589 units have been sold.

(…) “Aquintrodia” is an elaborate album with a fine studio production, revealing an unquestionable musical maturity, already found in previous releases of the band. This maturity is shown in a curious fashion in the pictures of the instruments on the CD cover – where all of them show the passing of time in the hands of musicians that most certainly used them quite frequently! (…)
In: www.at-tambur.com/OutrosSons/Portugal/encontros_da_eira_aquintrodia.htm
(portuguese page)

In March, 2002 two Cds were published:

The third album titled “Intrumentais de Outrora” (Ancient Instrumentals), had the goal to fulfill the existing gap concerning Traditional Music of the Autonomous Region of Madeira.
In this album it was our intention to privilege the string intruments like the “braginha”, “rajão” and the wire guitar.
We have, naturally, recurred to other intruments, such as: the mandolim, the violin, the acoustic guitar, transversal flutes, flute, the accordion, the harmonica, the bombo, various percussions and the electric bass.
Result of a partnership with the reputed editor Vidisco, that same month we’ve released another album, available locally and overseas, titled “O Melhor dos Encontros da Eira” (The Best of Encontros da Eira) featuring 16 tracks extracted from “Retalhos de Tradição” (Clips of Tradition) and “Aquintrodia” (see above).

Simultaneously with the CD “Aquintrodia“, Encontros da Eira released a book (see Albums) titled “Retalhos de Aquintrodia“.
Of the 1000 units published, 745 were sold up to date.

(…) Madeira’s Tradional Music is represented by “Encontros da Eira” quite well (…) it isn’t only for the mere expression of the number of albums sold that this band has earned a prominent place in portuguese traditional music. The truth is that “Encontros da Eira” and the cultural association that wraps them have been doing a remarkable job divulging Madeira’s traditional repertoire. (…)

In: www.at-tambur.com/OutrosSons/Portugal/encontros_da_eira_aquintrodia.htm
(portuguese page)

See also:
(portuguese page)

“Encontros da Eira” are one of the prominent national bands at www.at-tambur.com whose site is considered the best where portuguese traditional music is concerned.

Original text written by Jorge de Sousa
Translated to English by Pedro Doria Meunier

Encontros da Eira
Jorge de Sousa