Por trás de uma performance (Behind a performance: Tufo of Mafalala)

‘Por trás duma performance: O Tufo da Mafalala’ (Behind a performance: Tufo of Mafalala) is an invitation to enter into the backstage of an expressive practice strongly linked to the past, present and future of Mafalala’s neighbourhood in Maputo, Mozambique. This traditional Mozambican dance of Arabic origins is practiced by a group of Makhuwa women that came to this neighbourhood from the the north-eastern province of Nampula. The dance has its unique practices and rituals that usually go unnoticed in the eyes of the audience involving the make-up, the selection of capulanas (traditional dress), the composition of the music and the lyrics. These elements inscribe tufo as a space of sociability and intimacy, generating women’s dreams and reflecting a history of conflict that unfolds in the artistic expression of the dance.

‘Por trás duma performance: O Tufo da Mafala’ results from the collaboration between the Grupo de Tufo da Mafalala, the Associação IVERCA and researchers in the field of sonic arts and ethnography from Queen’s University Belfast. Through collaborative research that consists of interviews, field recordings, video and photography, this performance presents the personal stories of these women and deconstructs the various rituals that this practice involves. By articulating different forms of knowledge (traditional, scientific, artistic), Por trás duma performance aims at producing (an)other knowledge of tufo that transcends writing. Thus, it embraces the group’s initial ambition: to expand its own practice in order to break with tradition and move forward to the future.

‘Por trás duma performance: O Tufo da Mafalala ‘(Behind a performance: Tufo of Mafalala) consists of a performance, an installation and a film co-authored with Matilde Meireles, Iñigo Sánchez, outcomes of the research project Understanding the role of sound and music in conflict transformation: The Mozambique Case Study. Project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research.

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