River Washing Music with the “Lavadeiras de Almera”

The “Lavadeiras de Almera” is a group of women who have spent their lives making a living from washing their community’s laundry at the margins of the mythical Jequitinhonha River, in Brazil. Their names are:  Adélia Barbosa da Silva, Ana Isabel da Conceição, Emília Maria de Jesus, Juracy Lima da Silva, Mirian Fernandes Pessoa, Santa de Lourdes Pereira, Sebastiana Dias Silva, Teresa Fernandes de Souza Novais and Valdenice Ferreira Santos.

Together, they had the habit of using music to get by their lives’ hardships, singing their way through work. Later on, they found out that by singing the traditional songs they had learnt during childhood, they were keeping the rich local folklore alive. Their choir was formed in 1991, when they were discovered by the Cultural Researcher, Psychologist and Musician, Carlos Farias.  Since then, they  have recorded two CDs: “Batukim Brasileiro – o canto das lavadeiras” and ” AQUA – a música das lavadeiras do Jequitinhonha”. In 2002, the “Lavadeiras de Almera” performed in Portugal. In 2008, after travelling all over Brazil,  they performed in Spain. Their lives and songs became an object of study in schools and Universities, giving origin to a series of thesis and articles. A number of Brazilian artists and cultural researchers have been taking inspiration from their work.

The Documentary

Senhora Santana

Cai Bananeira – Show in Zaragoza – Spain

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