Thursday, August 16, 2012

Luis Correia Carmelo: Portuguese storyteller and friend of Storytelling (Australia) Vic 2012


photo: Luis taking time during the VU conference 2011 to enjoy Melbourne's street art, Hosier Lane.

Luis Correia Carmelo, Portuguese storyteller and friend of Storytelling (Australia) Vic shares news from his home in Faro, Portugal and links for Australian storytellers to explore.

When did you visit Australia and what was it that brought you to our shores?
I visited Australia in December 2011 to present a paper in The Written the Oral and Other Verbal Media International Conference that took place at Victoria University.

How did you learn about Storytelling Victoria and in what ways have we assisted you?
As soon as I knew I was going to Melbourne I researched on the internet and I found Storytelling Australia (Vic's) website. Then I researched the storytellers listed and I found Julie Perrin’s and Jackie Kerin’s websites. So I contacted them saying I was coming and that I would like to meet them and they were amazingly open and generous. They both hosted me in their houses and I interviewed them for my Phd research and we talked and walked (I had the opportunity to  hike with Julie around Cape Schanck) and it was one of my pleasant trips thanks to them.


Australian Storytellers are in the process of forming a national website where the state and territory bodies will all be listed. This will provide a gateway for tellers around the world to find our scattered organisations. Do the storytellers in Portugal enjoy an organisation which connects and supports their practice?
In Portugal we have small associations or individuals scattered around the country. But you must know we are a very small country: 56000 square miles and 10 million habitants. So in fact we are quite connected to each other and we share information and links. Still, a national platform is missing and it would be useful although I would say, because of our size and number, not urgent.

You're currently working on a Phd about Portuguese Folk Tale, can you tell us in a nut shell the subject of your interest?
In fact, my masters dissertation was about Portuguese Folktales and it was called "Representations of Death in Portuguese Traditional Folktales" and it is published in Portuguese. My Phd research is on Arts and Communication and it is about contemporary storytelling. My goal is to help build a theoretical framework for storytelling analysis under the umbrella of the Performing Arts.

How important to you is the building of relationships with storytellers who work in other languages and cultural traditions.
Storytellers are the subject of my research so I could say these relationships are the most important thing to me at this point. And it is thanks to these relationships with different ways of doing and thinking, that I can try to understand my reality in a more interesting way. But in fact, when you start talking to performers from other countries you soon understand we are all dealing with the same issues.

Where do you tell your stories and who is your preferred audience?
Before I started my Phd, my major public were school children. As in many other countries, storytelling is still seen as something for kids and as I was living exclusively from storytelling the most part of my daily work was that. But I have always preferred adult audience, not because I prefer adults (I work with adults, all my friends are adults) but because the themes and stories I like are for an adult audience. Of course some stories, especially in the traditional repertoire, can reach different ages, but those are not the stories I like and I am not very good on that.
Now that I am doing my research I had to stop my daily work and I am only performing in festivals. I also have had time to record some stories I was working on and build a show in which I tell those stories playing accordion and accompanied by a percussionist. These are the stories I will be telling in the near future, not regularly, for adults. 

Do you have a favourite story you like to tell?
In fact I do not have I favorite story but I do have a favorite theme: relationships.

Are there any storytelling festivals or other opportunities in Portugal that Australian storytellers might be interested in?
I believe so as it is not very difficult in some contexts to work in English in Portugal. We have the biggest Portuguese festival in Beja called "Palavras Andarilhas" (Wonderer Words?)  http://www.palavrasandarilhas.org; a new festival in Lisbon organized by an association called "Contabandistas de Histórias" (stories smugglers: the word "contabandistas" does not exists, it is a game with the words "contrabandistas" = smugglers and "contar" = to tell) http://www.contabandistas.com; a festival in Montemor-o-Novo called "Festa dos Contos" (Tales Party) http://festadoscontos.blogspot.pt; among others. You can know some portuguese storytellers in the blog http://narracaooral.blogspot.pt.


Will you visit us again?
I would love to. Melbourne, thanks to Julie and Jackie, was the kind of place you imagine yourself living in it.




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