During the length of the Islamic Festival, all of Mértola resounds with a mixture of sounds from the other side of the Mediterranean. In the “souk”, the leather goods, the djellabas, the incense, the sandalwood, the mint tea, the spices and the mixture of Arabic and Portuguese voices give a special colour, aroma and melody to the streets covered with cloth; a perfect refuge from the sun.

On these days, the encounter of cultures is celebrated through music, in which the voices of Alentejo singing, the strumming of lutes and the drumming of darbukas can be heard. At night, the festival is an open invitation to the discovery of new sounds: at the quay, in the castle, in the square or other parts of the town, the night is made up of even more music, new music full of rhythms that are resonant at one moment and intimate the next, from artists all over the Arab world.

It is this music that adds lustre to a community that is receptive to difference, to discovery, to experimentation, to dialogue and to the healthy coexistence of people.