Today we would like to tell you Joana's story. It is a story that will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride through a universe that begins and never ends, that exists around us and within each of us.
This is a world apart, which we call art. Joana’s creative path started in the family auditorium, progressing through the church choir, in which she still sings today, the Gólgota amateur theater group, and subsequently the Music Academy of Paços de Brandão, where she studied music for 5 years. Her favorite part has always been singing and when she was 18 she joined a garage band and later co-founded two acoustic duet projects.
At one point in her career she was engaged in competitive swimming, and juggling between school, family, sports, and musical life became a challenge. As a result, she left theater and music in the background. Still, she continued to perform in the “Sorrisos do Mundo” choir and other projects that you will learn more about later in the story.
Currently she works as an International Relations Technician/European Project Manager at the Escola Profissional de Espinho. It is a career that occupies a significant part of her time, especially because she travels a lot: “My daily life as an artist is not as artistic as I would like, but I try to make up for that by listening to a lot of music, singing, studying and taking advantage of opportunities that arise”.
“Melomania” and “G” are two of her projects that particularly stand out, not only because they are more recent and active projects, but also because they are the most significant for the artist.
In the Melomania project, she sings to the sound of her friend and musician Márcio Pereira’s acoustic guitar. They have performed several concerts in bars, restaurants, and events, playing covers and, more recently, originals. Márcio improvised a melody and Joana combined the lyrics, or thought of a melody and Márcio transferred it to the guitar. The project is still ongoing today, although they have been forced to slow it down since 2020 in order to devote their attention to other endeavors.
The artist also emphasizes with great affection her integration in the CLOE project, namely the preparation for the final event. For the artist, participating in this project means the opportunity to explore music and share the stage with friends, as well as the feeling of traveling back in time to a simpler period when all that mattered was having fun “with and through music”.
The pandemic chapter
During the inevitable pandemic pinnacle that we all know so well, Joana did her best to fill the time with the online universe, through trainings and courses, and of course to dedicate more attention to the musical art. Even before the pandemic she had the idea of starting an Instagram profile dedicated to music, and it was at this stage that she saw the ideal paragraph to put it into practice.
She bought an ukulele and began to explore it by herself. Around Christmas 2020, her friend Daniel Padrão, gave her name as a suggestion to perform a Christmas mini-concert at Casa dos Choupos. It was her first solo performance with her instrument, and it became a very special experience for Joana, and it was then that she started posting her videos on the “G” pages. So the pandemic, with all its uncertainty and anxiety, led her to take risks, to try new things, and to dedicate her time to something that would make her truly happy.
Joana lost a few things in this period, describing it as “a year and a half empty”; she lost her first work experience in her field, gave up competitive swimming, and her concerts stopped completely. With the pandemic, the planet collapsed, and Joana’s salvation – the salvation of the world – was the arts. After this, she was left hoping for a turnaround in culture, where significant value would be placed on the arts, following their relevance in everyone’s lives, which, in turn, fell short in the post-pandemic reality.
The End of the Story
As an artist, Joana believes the most enduring challenge is the lack of opportunities. The voice is there, the instruments are there, the passion, the love and the work are all there, but the windows of opportunity are not. The artist knocks on thousands of doors and none of them opens; they take low-paid or even unpaid jobs; they give up their well-being and sometimes security; they accept conditions that no other worker would accept, in hopes for a decent opportunity. Yet, this little window of opportunity, has a rusty lock and won’t budge. All this causes artists to question their value and meaning in the world. “Being an artist, unfairly, is synonymous with precariousness. Being a very good artist will never be enough if there are no opportunities.”
We, the participants of Rosto Solidário and the CLOE project, base our work on the artists. We strive, in some way, to remove the rust from thousands of windows so that artists can continue to work in a fair way and perhaps, eventually, we can achieve the cultural turnaround that Joana yearns for.
This story has no end.