The "Cante" of the Ganhões









The ganhões were men who worked in the fields, in farming. There were two kinds of Ganhões, the ones on pension whor worked all year long at one farm, and the "rasos" who worked on whatever job they could get wherever they could find it – sowing, reaping, olive picking, etc. These men would work from dawn to sunset and lived only from it.

"Rude coração pesado

do coro de ganhões perdidos

na sombra do céu."

Manuel da Fonseca

(Rude heavy heart of the choir of ganhões lost in the shade of the sky)

"Os Ganhões from Castro Verde are people of simple lives, loving the earth they fertilise with no profit. Their singing is rhythmic like the wheat fields lulled by the Levant, it recalls the evenings in the grey olive groves, the painful heat during harvest and the quietness of the desert heaths."

Colaço Guerreiro in revista "Castra castrorum"

"What are those voices? That fill the air, that keep the stars from shining, that make the faces of men cry when ganhões and miners pass by facing the ground singing, singing?..."

Azinhal Abelho

"These people sing with true passion and all occasions seem fit to express their natural lyricism. There is no work, holiday, feast or meeting of any kind without an endless rosary of songs. The soul of the alentejano is deeply musical and singing is the vital link that joins those primitive people in the feeling of a telluric community. The alentejano is recognisable everywhere and everywhere he recognises and identifies his brothers of flesh and mind through his songs."

Fernando Lopes Graça