Getting up early: Soundscapes from the modern pilgrims

14 julio 2008


Human beings always had the need to travel and move. In the beginning it was a pure physiological condition: They needed to eat, and had to go behind the food, where this might be. Then they became sedentary, traveling was no longer a biological need, but a relationship need. Since then, the means of travel were evolving from pure human traction (feet 🙂 to the current means of locomotion: cars, motorcycles, bicycles, air planes…

These developments, plus a breakthrough in comfort and speed of the movement, led to easier and cheaper ways of locomotion. Today, it is not unusual to find people who must use one of these means of transport for daily travels to cover distances that would be unthinkable to cover in a day just 100 years ago. They are the modern pilgrims, those who must travel hundreds of kilometres every day to attend their work, or to carry out their daily routine.

This type of pilgrims have a clear example in Galicia: People who daily travels from Coruna and Ferrol to Santiago to do their workday. Whether by bus, train or car. Since early morning, a caravan of sleeping souls pilgrims all weekdays from their places of residence to their workplace. Many of these souls are on private car, individually, or shared with other work’s colleagues. With their cars they fill the sounds of youth morning with harmonies filled of mechanical sounds. This collection is dedicated to those sounds, in the way from Coruna to Santiago, and that could have been recorded at any other of the routes of moderm pilgrims in Galicia (Ourense-Santiago, Pontevedra-Vigo, Pontevedra-Santiago, Lugo-Santiago , Corunna-Ferrol …)


At dawn. The traffic on the Avenue of Alfonso Molina is not as intense as other times of the day. If we listen we can heard birds greeting the day between the vehicles. Sounds of modern life in a city that wakes up.


A Quarter to seven in the morning. Outside the Church. Vilaboa is Wainking up. We can not hear people. Just the cars, and sometimes, birds saying hello to a new day.


People goes on their cars to work. When there’s no traffic you could hear a natural soundscape suddenly crossed by civilization advances that run fast to their goal, wherever it may be.


Sigras Crossing. A place usually sonically insufferable, at this moment of the day shows some degree of calm, appearing the sounds of traffic intermingled with the herd of birds. There is perfectly pace with the crossing lights: red, green, red, green, up, down. Total absence of human sounds.

5.Highway A6 and N-550 Crossing

Exit from the A6 Highway to the Road to Santiago. Circulation at the crossing is slow at this time of the morning. You could hear some vehicles passing over the speed limitation bands. You also could hear the traffic following the rhythm of the crossing lights. Natural sounds, like birds signing, are always as background sounds.


Road to Santiago. Half past seven in the morning of a summer day. Traffic is very low. Mechanical sounds appear and dissapear leaving spaces for the natural ones. Some friki passes on his car with the music at a high level. There’s no human sounds at all.


Carretera de Santiago a la altura de Tabeaio. Siete y media de la maña un día de verano. El tráfico a estas horas es leve. Los sonidos mecánicos intermitentes del paso de vehículos dejan lagunas que permiten escuchar el cuanto madrugador de los recen despiertos pájaros. Algún friki con la música a todo trapo en el auto y ausencia total de presencia humana (salvo algún estornudo).

8.Climbing Mesón do Vento

At the basis of Mesón del Viento. A quarter to eight in the morning. Total pace at the soundscape. Birds everywhere welcoming a new day. In the far, trucks and cars one after another, passing by.

9.Mesón de Herbes

Alamost eight in the morning a weekday. Cars passing by continuously: from little tractors to big trucks. All they going fast, very fast.

10.Mesón do vento

Eight in the morning a weekday. At this crossroad village’s soundscape natural and mechanical sounds live together in apparent harmony. Traffic sounds combine with birds waiking up. Even human interaction seems not to distort the soundscape.


Orde’s Alameda. A quarter pass eight on a week day. Despite being so early and on a park, industrial sounds reign on this soundscape. The cross lights, and the main road crossing by the middle of the town, made it this way. However, when the light tuns green, soundscape becomes more like the one from a park in the morning.

Orde’s crossing. Twenty pass eight in the morning on a weekday. Traffic on the main road crosses the village. Sound pressure generated by traffic becomes very unbearable. Traffic, traffic and more traffic.

12.Santa Cruz de Montaos

Half past eight in the morning on a weekday. A little town crossed , as many others, by the main road. A place not to stay where traffic leads soundscape. If no traffic is passing, you could perfectly hear natural sounds like the chirp of the birds on the trees. Total absence of human activity.


Sigüeiro’s crossing. Nine o’clock in the morning. Activity is already frantic. Traffic, traffic, traffic and more traffic. You could not hear nothing more at this time of the morning on this little town village.