Far from the noise and hustle of everyday life in big cities and focused on work, the Gala Drop found on Ilha da Culatra a «little paradise» ideal for composing.
This is not the first time that the Lisbon band, founded in 2006 and currently composed of Afonso Simões (drums and percussions), Nelson Gomes (keyboards) and Rui Dâmaso (electric bass), is in artistic residency in the Algarve, but island of Culatra, they found a spirit they had never experienced.
«It has been different from Castro Marim, because we were really isolated there, on a farm, here we are part of a community, which, in my view, is very interesting», says Afonso Simões, who has always seen the barrier islands of the Algarve as « something that lived in the imagination of childhood». «Everybody told me it was spectacular, but nobody ever told me that there was a community here and it's been really cool».
Still, at no time did the neighborhood complain about the noise. «People are not very intrusive and have not complained about anything. Receiving tourists here seems normal to me and, therefore, I also think that people were not surprised and embraced our presence and our noise», continues the artist.
For a week, in this artistic residency, promoted by Teatro Municipal das Figuras (TMF), the band undertook to «finish the work started in Castro Marim to shape the next album».
What nobody expected is that, this week, it would result in almost a complete album, but, as you can see, «artistic residencies have these things».
«It's a week where we're just focused on music and that's really good», says Rui, for whom artistic residencies by bands are «somewhat new».
«Compared to the experience I have of theater and dance, which is what I do in addition to the band, I have always seen that they had access to residences and for the musicians I am seeing this as something new and I am extremely grateful», he continues.
«This alternative allows us to be more efficient and faster in making music, because, with the life we have, it is difficult to find this availability», says Nelson.
This was, in fact, one of the objectives that led TMF to promote these artist residencies.
«This idea came up in 2017 and, deep down, it consists of showing a space that is unique, which are the barrier islands, and that has this potential to allow artists to create in a peaceful place, with nature very present, and that allows them this possibility of alienating themselves from the world and the normality that surrounds them», explains Gil Silva, director of TMF, when Sul Informação.
The initiative is funded by the Theatre, in terms of accommodation and housing, and «has gone very well». «The people who have come to the residences have really enjoyed it», emphasizes Gil, adding that this is also an opportunity to «disclose to another Algarve that is often unknown, outside the normal tourist circuit».
When the Sul Informação visited the house where the band had been working, a new song had just been released, “Infinite Sounds”, the result of another artistic residency, in Braga.
Now, with the work developed here, «the commitment is to start giving it structure to see if we still manage to record a new album this year», reveals Nelson, stressing that it would be a pleasure to make a round through the Algarve islands.
Between conversations, there was still time to get to know two of the songs that were totally idealized on the island, which were given the names of “Culatra” and “Levante”, and which Gala Drop hope to be able to take around this country and the world.
With an assumed experience in international concerts, the band says that, after Covid, it has focused more on national concerts. Here, in the Algarve, they already have a show scheduled for July, the month in which they will perform at “Figures à Rampa”.
Just two days before returning to the capital, the band confessed their desire to stay longer and the hope of being able to return soon.
Photos: Mariana Sedge | Sul Informação