Tag Archives: Corsican polyphony

Artist Profiles: Petru Guelfucci

Petru Guelfucci

Petru Guelfucci was born March 6, 1955 in Sermano, Corsica, France. One of the most charismatic singers from Corsica, Petru Guelfucci maintains his connection to his homeland’s traditional polyphonic music while creating a personal ballad style. In Corsica, a Mediterranean island, singing is a secular tradition, which brings pleasure in a harsh and lonely environment. The Corsican vocal technique reflects elements of Italian, French, and Greek song while maintaining strong connections to a Byzantine past.

In the early 1980s, Petru Guelfucci revolutionized Corsican music by founding Canta U Populu Corsu, an ensemble that revitalized the island’s music by providing it with a contemporary energy and significance.

Since 1987, Guelfucci has been mostly performing solo, occasionally touring and performing with the group Voce di Corsica. He has recorded with Hector Zazou and Manu Dibango, among others, and his powerful voice can be heard on most of the best Corsican recordings of recent years.

The album “Corsica” sold nearly a million copies worldwide. A powerful testament to the beauty and emotion of Corsican song, “Corsica” contains elements of traditional styles blended with the sensibilities of a singer and composer who has been exposed to everything from French and English pop to Algerian rai.

Discography:

Eri, oghje, dumane, with Canta U Populu Cursu (Ricordu, 1975)
Libertà, with Canta U Populu Cursu (Ricordu, 1976)
Canti di a terra è di l’omi, with Canta U Populu Cursu (Ricordu, 1977)
A strada di l’avvene, with Canta U Populu Cursu (Ricordu, 1978)
Chjamu a puesia, with Canta U Populu Cursu (Ricordu, 1979)
Festa zitellina, with Canta U Populu Cursu (Ricordu, 1979)
Au théâtre de la Ville, live, with Canta U Populu Cursu (Ricordu, 1981)
C’hè dinù, with Canta U Populu Cursu (Ricordu, 1982)
Isula (Ricordu, 1987)
S’o chjodu l’occhji (Olivi Music,1988)
Corsica (Olivi Music, 1991)
Memoria (Olivi Music, 1994)
Vita (Olivi Music, 1999)
Sì mea (Olivi Music, 2009)

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Artist Profiles: I Muvrini

I Muvrini

The tiny village of Tagliu-Isulaccia in the far north of Corsica is the home of Alain and Jean-François Bernardini, well known at home and abroad by the name I Muvrini. People here remember seeing them perched on makeshift stages singing their first polyphonies, and certain of their admirers from those early days are proud to still have in their possession the 45 rpm recording by Canta U Populu Corsu on which the brothers sang at the request of their father, a poet and singer who passed away in 1977.

The Bernardinis sing in their native Corsican because it is essential to them as the first seed of universality tying them to all lands, all shores, and all the cultures of the world.

At the end of the 1980s, I Muvrini played the role of cultural pioneer, as at that time there existed in Corsica neither a reference point nor a structure for the distribution of music in general, and for theirs in particular. The group survived by managing and financing themselves, recording at their own expense, creating their own label, and giving hundreds of concerts around the island offering free admission to those under 15. Furthermore, in a desire to increase awareness of an ancestral tradition, they participated actively in the creation of schools for the teaching of Corsican singing.

Some years later, in the wake of an ever-growing success, I Muvrini crossed the sea and began a series of performances at the Printemps de Bourges festival, at Bobino, and in Brittany, another land of strong national pride. As they released their records and passionately defended them along the way, the group watched their public grow. That public comprised a good part of Corsica by the summer of 1993, when a third of the island’s population flocked to their sold-out concerts. The Zenith Theater and the Bercy hall, both in Paris, were soon won over in turn.

I Muvrini proceeded to collaborate with Jacques Dutronc on the song “Corsica” from his album CQFD and with Véronique Sanson. I Muvrini wove the words and notes that made their May 1998 release Leia the symbol of a Corsica that holds the hope of moving forward.

The musical palette of the group includes Cajun, Celtic, Jazz, and World music.

I Muvrini, the U.S. debut release on Higher Octave World, contains the very best moments of the group, including the “Terre d’Oru” duet with Sting and a reprise of Jacques Brel’s “Amsterdam.”

Discography

…Ti ringrazianu (1979)
Anu da vultà (1980)
…È campà quì (1981)
Lacrime (1984)
85 (1985)
À l’encre rouge (1986)
Pè l’amore di tè… (1988)
Quorum (1989)
À voce rivolta (1991)
Noi (1993)
Curagiu (1995)
Leia (1998)
Umani (2002)
Alma (2005)
I Muvrini et les 500 choristes (2007)
Gioia (2010)
Imaginà (2012)
Invicta (2015)
Pianetta (2016)
Luciole (2017)

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Artist Profiles: A Filetta

A Filetta - Photo by Mara Bottoli
A Filetta – Photo by Mara Bottoli

Award-winning ensemble A Filetta was formed in 1978 in the northwestern city of Balagne in Corsica by adolescents united by their passion for Corsican polyphony. The group’s name means fern. The repertoire ranges from traditional to sacred and profane songs.

For a number of years, A Filetta has exported its polyphonies abroad.

Discography:

Machja n’avemu un altra (1981)
O’Vita (1982)
Cun tè (1984)
Sonnii Zitillini and In l’abbriu di e stagioni (1987)
A U Visu Di Tanti (1989)
Ab’eternu (1992)
Una Tarra Ci He (1994)
Passione (1997)
Intantu (2002)
Si Di Mè (2003)
Bracana (Harmonia Mundi, 2008)
Mistico Mediterraneo, with Paolo Fresu and Daniele di Bonaventura (ECM, 2011)
Di Corsica Riposu, Requiem pour deux regards, with Daniele di Bonaventura (2011)
Castelli (Harmonia Mundi/World Village, 2015)

DVDs:
A Filetta, voix corses” by Don Kent (Éditions Montparnasse, 2002)
“Trent’anni Pocu, Trent’anni Assai”, a documentary by Cathy Rocchi and a concert at the Oratoire de Calvi (Harmonia Mundi, 2009)

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