Situated on the outskirts of Marão’s mountain range, Amarante is a somewhat transition territory – not only in geographical terms, but in cultural, social and economical as well – between the coastal region of Douro Litoral, urban and densely populated, and Trás-os-Montes, an inland and starkly rural part of Northern Portugal.
Amarante’s condition as midway place between these two regions is mirrored on its folklore songs, dances and music, that are performed by the dynamic folklore groups, percussion groups and rural ‘tunas’ there existing.
It’s particularly relevant in this tradition the use of typical musical instruments that, until at least the beginning of the 20th century, were still very much present in the daily lives of Amarante’s people. Common existence was comprised mostly of farming activities and religious and popular celebrations, and it was in this context that the ‘chuladas’ became famous. The term can name a traditional music genre but also a popular dance, often performed in gatherings of the humbler population and it constituted mostly of singing challenges (‘cantares ao desafio’) that could last for the whole night, accompanied by the ‘rabeca’, ‘violão’, ‘viola amarantina’, a small drum or the ‘ferrinho’.