RAIA:Planeta campaniça is a solo project by Portuguese musician António Bexiga [Tó-Zé Bexiga]. A sound journey around the latitudes of the viola campaniça, between tradition and experimentation with Iberian roots. The viola campaniça is one of the Portuguese violas. Campaniça means 'from the countryside', Campaniça region (Baixo Alentejo). Raia is the border line between Portugal and Spain, a cultural ecosystem with common dots on both sides.
António is alentejano (from Alentejo) and raiano (from the Raia region). He studied traditional repertoires and techniques but his work led him to explore the viola in many other music styles, from roots to experimental or electronics and soundscape.
RAIA is António [Tó-Zé] Bexiga: Viola campaniça, percussions, vocals, live loops. Ilustration (sometimes live) by Cristina Viana.
RAIA can also perform in quartet with: António Bexiga, Cristina Viana, Xinês (Drums, keys and vocals), João Baião (Guitar, live loops and vocals)
António Bexiga, Évora 1976. Musician, producer. Performer
Multi-instrumentalist, António plays viola campaniça, guitar, piano, cavaquinho, mandolin, conventional and invented percussions, acoustic and electric, analog and digital gadjets.
Composer, arranger, and producer, he has works in cinema, theater, contemporary dance, puppet theater, circus, cabaret, and performance.
António studied piano and classical guitar at the Academia de Amadores de Música de Évora, Classical guitar at the Regional Conservatory of Setúbal, later on, jazz guitar at the Modern Jazz School Almada-Seixal – where he played in the Big Band, under the guidance of Lars Arens. He has participated in numerous workshops, short training courses, and artistic residencies, with emphasis on artists as Trilok Gurtu, Stéphan Milleret, José Mário Branco, Kepa Junkera, among many others.
He went through several projects, from rock to experimental, fusion, and improvised music. Then he discovered roots music and the pleasure of turning it inside out.
For more than a decade now, he has dedicated himself to explore the traditional repertoires and one instrument in particular: the viola campaniça (Alentejo), which he has placed in different musical contexts.
António Bexiga played and studied traditional repertoires and techniques for viola campaniça with traditional players like Pedro Mestre and Paulo Colaço and even got the chance to meet and play with mythical figures of the Campaniça universe as Manuel Bento and Mestre Amílcar. At the same time, being a compulsive composer and experimentation addict, his work led him to explore the viola campaniça in many other music styles, from roots/rock/fusion to experimental, soundscape, and electronic music with acoustic touch.
He played and recorded his viola campaniça in Europe, America, Africa, and Asia, integrating different projects and directing several others, mixing his viola with other knowledge areas such as cuisine or carpentry, to name these two.
In 2020 his solo Project RAIA: Planeta campaniça has its debut and begins touring in Portugal (a total of 10 shows – most of the remaining booking was canceled or rescheduled due to the pandemic situation). In 2021, António is starting to record RAIA’s 1st album.
António recently recorded with Kepa Junkera for Ath Thurda, Omiri (Alentejo Vol. 1), Celina da Piedade, António Caixeiro, Daniel Catarino, O Gajo, Um Corpo Estranho, Saturnia, and Cantadores de Paris.
For many years, he was an active member in Portuguese power folk bands like Uxu Kalhus and No Mazurka Band; founder of Há Lobos sem ser na serra and Bicho do Mato.
He composed, recorded and toured in Portugal and abroad. Before or, in some cases, at the same time, touring and recording with Rock/fusion bands as Swamp, Stella, O Rijo; and the Jam bands O meu primo marciano and Zut trio.
António holds regular workshops on sound exploration and musical creativity, building instruments and strategies for instant and collaborative composition, with children and adults. He now holds master classes on viola campaniça and short-term workshops for small groups of people with less conventional approaches to this popular Portuguese instrument, from time to time.
He is co-founder of the Identidades.net platform, was an editor for the magazine and was responsible for the Portuguese online songbook project.
António is co-founder of Cia Boa Companhia, a Portuguese artist collective and theatre company, integrating all its projects as musician, music director and/or actor/performer.