O Gajo Concert | Rio de Janeiro
O Gajo was born in Lisbon in the spring of 2016 at the hands of João Morais with the aim of linking his music to the land of his birth, Portugal. This is how the relationship with the Viola Campaniça came about, a traditional instrument that is part of Portugal’s centuries-old cultural history. Also known as Viola Alentejana, the Viola Campaniça was the musical instrument used to accompany the famous ‘cantares à desgarrada’, or ‘cantes a despique’, at Alentejo festivals and fairs. It is the largest of the Portuguese violas and has five orders of strings, traditionally played with the thumb.
João Morais has been a musician since 1988 and after almost 30 years of playing guitars from abroad, it was at a concert in Beja that he got to know the Viola Campaniça. The one he brings to Lisbon takes on new tones, moving away from the more traditional language but keeping its Portugueseness intact.
O Gajo’s compositions may sound like fado, but they are not fado, they may sound like traditional music, but they are not traditional music, they are a hybrid of all this and much more. O Gajo plays music from the world and for the world!