Tap The Rain

For the celebration of the 80th anniversary of its water supply installations, the city of Barreiro in Portugal, located south of the Tagus river opposite Lisbon, commissioned sound artists to perform in an abandoned water tower during a whole weekend. The performance was nicely organised by the cultural association OUT.RA (Full program in Portuguese).

With Melaina Barnes, vocalist from the Breathing Space collective, we produced Tap The Rain, a collaboration mixing improvised vocals and a soundscape. Tap the rain retraces the journey of a raindrop as she falls, is pumped into Barreiro’s water supply system, and is stored in the water tower at Alto da Paiva before being drunk from a tap in Barreiro. 

The recording doesn’t do justice to the unusual acoustics of the circular rooms. The echoing of Melaina’s voice over the different floors of the tower brought an organic quality to the soundscape I composed. The two days performing at the tower and listening to the other artists were an amazing experience.

The lyrics are based on a poem written by Melaina.

The samples come from my own field recordings around Lisbon in Portugal (wind, rain), Skagen in Denmark (waves), my own kitchen (tap, water) but most of all from an amazing sound library assembled over many months by Carlos Santos in various water supply and treatment facilities around Lisbon and Barreiro.

Photos by Vera Marmelo (Instagram @veramarmelo).

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