Moors and Christians conflict captured in our featured travel slideshow
In a set of annual festivals, Spain pays tribute to the battles between Moors and Christians that rocked the country between the 8th and 15th centuries. The people who take part dress in Mediaeval costumes and represent either the Moors (Muslims) or the Christians in mock battles and parades. Paul Louis Archer’s slideshow, one of the first submitted to our travel audio slideshow contest, captures the conflict.
Read Paul’s comments for tips and inspiration, and submit your own travel audio slideshow in the comments section — or on Facebook page or on Twitter (@Soundslides). The contest ends May 31, so send yours now! Winners get free versions of the new Soundslides (coming soon).
Soundslides: What’s the story of how you created this slideshow?
Paul Louis Archer: Initially, I wanted to cover The Moors and Christians Festival to sell it to media outlets. It was my first attempt at creating an audio slideshow. Hence, I spent a long weekend in Valencia to capture all of the photographic and audio content. I’ve long been connected to Spain, because my mother is Spanish and I’m very close to her side of my extended family. I’m passionate about Spanish culture.
SS: How did you get the interviews with the guys who portrayed the kings?
PLA: I corresponded with their Moors and Christians organization, and eventually sent them my questionnaire via email. The organisation plans, promotes and holds the festival every year. It would be pertinent to say that the project’s planning took place during the months prior to flying to Spain. Planning the project was more difficult than actually covering the festival. I finally landed an interview and formal photo shoot with them at the social club where they congregate during the festival. The interviews were very off-the-cuff. They were literally held on a street corner in just ten minutes, immediately after the photo shoot had taken place.
SS: How did you decide which questions to ask them?
PLA: I had to formulate some of my questions as if I were asking them from a foreigner’s perspective, as if I were a stranger who didn’t know anything about the festival. I also asked questions that I found intriguing. Furthermore, I chose some questions through general consensus with my friends in the United Kingdom and Spain.
SS: The question about why more people want to represent Moors is very interesting. Were you satisfied with the answers, or do you think there’s more to it?
PLA: Indeed, this is the question that I found most intriguing. Arguably, the Moors never really left Spain after their 800-year rule on the Iberian Peninsula, because they still dwell in spirit within the hearts of some Spanish. This is especially poignant in the autonomous region of Valencia. I definitely think there’s more to it, but I wasn’t trying to delve too deep into the subject. This was a project where I only wanted to use broad strokes. I’ve always hoped that the project would be seen simply as an introduction to The Moors & Christians Festival. However, that particular question does deserve further investigation.
SS: What did it take for you to get the images?
PLA: During the street parade and historical re-enactment photo shoots, I had no choice but to carry 17 kilos of equipment on my back while on heavily crowded streets. I had little time to rest off my feet. I only had half an hour to set up my equipment and take the formal portraits. There was no time to get anything wrong throughout my period covering the festival. Working arrangements were all rather dicey. It was the nature of the beast.
SS: How about the continual drum beat?
PLA: I recorded a band of drummers at the festival’s street parade. I then looped the recording for the slideshow by using audio software.
SS: What kind of sound recording device do you have?
PLA: I use a Roland Edirol R-09 Digital Voice Recorder 24-bit WAVE/MP3. I sometimes use a RØDE NT4 Stereo Condenser Microphone alongside the Roland recorder. The microphone is OK for capturing interviews as well as field recordings.
SS: Thanks, Paul. Good luck in the contest!
Send a link to your own travel audio slideshow in the comments section.