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MADEIRADiG 2023 enchanted around a thousand lovers of experimental music
The 19th edition took place from November 30th to December 5th between Calheta and Ponta do Sol

December 13, 2023

Hannan Jones e Shamica Ruddoc MADEIRADiG 2023

Hannan Jones & Shamica Ruddock | MADEIRADiG 2023 © Miguel Apolinário

Another edition of the MADEIRADiG festival has come to an end - an annual festival dedicated to electronic and experimental music. The festival took place on the west coast of the island of Madeira for six days, full of sound and audiovisual experiences of other artistic expressions, combined with the use of innovative technologies, conventional and unconventional instruments and, also, experimentation with different styles and genres.


From November 30th to December 5th, MADEIRADiG hosted around twenty varied artists, national and emerging, thus providing an eclectic event on the global panorama of electronic and experimental music and digital art.

In numbers, the auditorium of MUDAS – Museum of Contemporary Art of Madeira. received 516 people during the four concerts scheduled there and 447 people passed through the John dos Passos Cultural Center for the various activities taking place, such as the exhibition What is Watt? and respective documentary, and the opening and closing concerts of the festival. All in all, almost a thousand people attended the MADEIRADiG festival, which corresponds to a very positive outcome of this 19th edition, which continues to be attended en masse by lovers of electronic and experimental music.

The start of the festival was marked by the opening of the exhibition ‘What is Watt? at the John dos Passos Cultural Center, carried out by António Barros, António Dantas, Carlos Valente, Celeste Cerqueira, Evangelina Sirgado de Sousa, Hugo Olim, Pedro Pestana and Silvestre Pestana, and was attended by the Director of the structure, Bernardo Vasconcelos, representing the Regional Secretariat of Tourism and Culture. That same day, Aires & Canadian Rifles, two Madeiran musicians with an international career in contemporary experimental electronics, opened the musical event with the presentation of a project in which, based on the extensive archive of the Xarabanda Cultural and Musical Association, they work on the intangible heritage of island of Madeira, creating a reading of popular imagination, promoting interaction between new means of musical creation. The artist Mafalda Melim accompanies this project in the visual component. 

Once inaugurated, the program moved to the MUDAS auditorium for four nights to the sound of Rafael Toral, Hannan Jones & Shamica Ruddock, Sofia Jernberg, Judith Hamann, Alan Licht, Beatrice Dillon, Ana Roxanne and Leila Bordreuil. After the concerts, we headed to Estalagem da Ponta do Sol for the after sessions, with programming by Nuno Barcelos, in a more relaxed, intimate and informal atmosphere to the sound of several DJs and different artists.

An absolute highlight for the performances at MUDAS by Leila Bordreuil, Sofia Jernberg and Beatrice Dillon who, as expected, did not leave the audience indifferent. Sofia Jernberg, the acclaimed Swedish experimental singer, already promised, and delivered, an empirical journey through her voice characterized by a wide range of expressive vocal techniques and improvisation. Beatrice Dillon, “the most exciting new artist in electronic music” as referred to by The Guardian, made her performance a unique and immersive sound experience, mixing contemporary electronic music with influences from different musical traditions. Leila Bordreuil closed the round of concerts in Calheta with a fantastic performance that made the audience vibrate to the sound of her cello, mixing elements of noise, contemporary classical and experimental traditions, implementing electronic manipulation and experimentation with timbres and textures. 

The last performance was in the fantastic hands of Mario Batkovic, who enchanted the audience with his accordion and closed the program of this edition at the John dos Passos Cultural Center, fulfilling his usual mission of playing in a challenging and experimental way. The artist is known for exploring a wide variety of musical styles, such as contemporary music, experimental music and folk music, using the accordion in innovative ways, with a wide range of extended techniques and complex rhythms.

Also noteworthy is the premiere of the documentary “What is Watt?” carried out by Hugo Olim, who exceeded expectations in terms of public attendance, bringing together around 50 people. Both the implementation of the exhibition and the premiere of the documentary were an opportunity to rediscover this project that celebrates more than 20 years of activity. What is Watt? was on display at the John dos Passos Cultural Center from November 30th to December 5th and is preparing for regional and, in the future, national circulation with dates and locations yet to be announced.

The MADEIRADiG festival thus comes to an end, after six days full of musical and audiovisual experiences, with a dynamic program and a set of diverse proposals from different artistic currents and expressions. Edition after edition, we present proposals that enrich and complement what has already been presented in previous years, making it part of our purposes to include not only emerging artists, but also national ones.

It is worth remembering that the MADEIRADiG festival has a partnership with the cultural agency Digital in Berlin, which allowed the internationalization of the event, attracting audiences from Northern Europe and making MADEIRADiG one of the events in the Region with an impact on Cultural Tourism, to the extent that more than 80% of the audience is made up of foreign spectators. Organized by APCA - Agency for the Promotion of Atlantic Culture, it also has the support of the Portuguese Republic / General Directorate of Arts, within the scope of the support program for projects in the field of programming and development of audiences in the area of New Media, as well as from Estalagem da Ponta do Sol and the Regional Secretariat of Tourism and Culture, through the John dos Passos Cultural Center and MUDAS - Museum of Contemporary Art of Madeira.

See more photographs here.

Bernardo Vasconcelos e Silvestre Pestana What is Watt

Bernardo Vasconcelos and Silvestre Pestana | What is Watt? © Miguel Apolinário

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