Sardinian artist Daniele Cossellu, historical founder of the Tenores di Bitti “Remunnu ‘e Locu”, is the the recipient of the 2018 Andrea Parodi Gold Award (Premi Albo D’oro). The award is given each year to a prominent figure in Italian performing arts and culture scene.
Cossellu has spread the ancestral culture of Sardinian ‘canto a tenore’ among young people and throughout the world. He attracted the attention of Peter Gabriel, who produced the album “S’amore ‘e mama” by Tenores di Bitti in 1996, released on Gabriel’s famed Real World Records world music label.
The prize will be an object of artistic craftsmanship created ad hoc by Roberto Ziranu.
The eleventh edition of the Parodi world music awards, is scheduled to take place November 8 to 10 November in Cagliari at the Teatro Auditorium Comunale.
headline photo: Daniele Cossellu – Photo by Gigi Marras
Tenores di Bitti “Mialinu Pira” was formed in Sardinia and takes its name from the well-known anthropologist Michelangelo ‘Mialinu’ Pira from Bitti. All the members have been learning the traditional singing since they were children.
After a careful preparation, the group began to perform the ancient melodies at many town squares, theaters and churches of Sardinia (Italy) and abroad, including many European countries, Dubai (United Arab Emirates) and Canada. In 2001, the group participated in the Christmas Concert for the Pope, with artists such as Hevia, Terence Trent-Darby, Cranberries, and Randy Crawford. The concert was broadcast by Canale 5. The tenores were also guests in the telecast Quelli che il calcio, on Italian national TV RAI Tre.
On September of 2003, the group collaborated with Hevia, the famous Spanish bagpiper from Asturias, who invited the Sardinian group to his concert in Avilés (Spain) to open his winter tour. In the same month, Tenores di Bitti “Mialinu Pira” received an award from the Maria Carta Foundation.
On November of 2003, the singers participated in the Festival Europalia as representatives of Italian popular music.
Tenores di Bitti “Mialinu Pira” works carefully to preserve Sardinian tradition by teaching courses at schools and merging this traditional form of singing with other musical genres, such as classical music.
The performances last an hour and the repertoire is made of profane and sacred tracks, preceded by an explanation about their origins and meaning. The group consists of five members who wear the traditional costume and sing a cappella (without instrumental accompaniment).
The canto a tenore, typical from Barbagia region in the center of Sardinia, is a male polyphonic vocal style with a great charm, one of the highest expression of the vocal art in the Mediterranean area.
Immediately it sounds primitive and strong. It is not a chance that many scholars thought that this way of singing originated in the prehistoric ages by imitating the nature sounds: the four voices echo the ox bellows, the sheep bleating, the wind whistling and hissing. The origin is still mysterious, but for sure this is a millennia form of art.
Four are the voices: boghe (the soloist), mesa-oche, contra, bassu. The lead voice (boghe) sings the main melody and stands the song, while the other three voices are rhythmic accompaniment characterized by non-sense syllables. Performing this accompaniment the singers use a guttural emission of the voice, which surprisingly shows many analogies with the primitive vocal music of Oceania and Africa. Using this guttural timbre and particular tuning jumps, tenores can sing an enormous repertoire: muttos, ottave, battorinas, terzine, dances and improvised rhymes. The very peculiar harmony and poetic texts, the guttural voices and the characteristic tuning jumps make immediately recognizable this particular way of singing.
The Tenore “S. Gavino” from Oniferi is considered by music fans and ethno-musicologists the most prominent example of this vocal art. There are many points that make them so special: the canto a tenore is still well alive in Sardinia performed by many groups, most of them are old singers performing traditional texts. Their young age and the fact that three of them are brothers, is a first approach to notice how their sound, harsh and ancestral, is in fact very homogeneous. Their perfect tuning and their powerful sound is very rare today, because this skill needs years of practice and passion to be performed at its best. And in this sense Oniferi are the best young heir of the tradition and one of the very few promises for the future of this vocal marvel.
In the last years they’ve been touring extensively Europe (France in particular, where their CD Su Banzigu sold more than 2000 copies), the USA and Taiwan where they guested in a festival about traditional polyphony.
Another matter to be pointed is their accuracy in choosing lyrics this makes Onferi the foremost group in the new-traditional scene in Sardinia. Their texts are often oriented to contemporary arguments : social and working troubles, drug abuse, sex, today’s life difficulties, ironic and funny stories, some “philosophical” consideration about life…and sweet rhymes about love.
Both in dancing (lestru, dillu, passu torrau, ballu thoppu) and slow (boche seria, boch’e notte) forms, the lyrics, by famous poets such as Montanaru or from unknown contemporary authors, make the repertoire of Tenore S. Gavino an important vehicle of literary transmission. The oral transmission of poetry is another important point in Sardinian traditional culture from centuries, as well as the skill of improvising lyrics.
Elena Ledda is an Italian singer from Sardinia. She was born May 17, 1959 in Selargius.
Sardinia offers a fascinating musical microclimate, which developed over centuries in relative isolation. Elena Ledda has researched the music of her native island for years and has become Sardinia’s most successful and prolific singer, replacing the legendary Maria Carta in her role as Sardinia’s vocal standard bearer.
Her powerful vocal style mixes local tradition and global jazz innovation.
Ammentos (Durium, 1979)
Is Arrosas (Key Records, 1984)
Sonos 9Biber Records, 1989) Incanti (Felmay, 1993) Maremannu (Biber Records, 2000) Sonos ‘E Memoria (ACT, 2001) Amargura (Marocco Music, 2004)
Tutti Baci (Lyra, 2006)
Undas (RadioLina, 2006)
Rosa Resolza (Sard musi, 2007)
Sulla Strada Con Tenco (2008)
Live At Jazzinsardegna (Sardmusic, 2008) Cantendi A Deus (Sardmusic, 2009)
Bella Ciao (Visage Music, 2015) Làntias (Sardmusic, 2017)
Acclaimed Sardinian vocalist Elena Ledda’s album Lantiàs (S’Ard Music) has won the the National City of Loano Award for Traditional Italian Music for the Best Album of 2017.
Now in its 14th edition, the Loano Award is the main recognition for traditional music in Italy and is presented every year to the best folk music productions by a jury composed that includes over sixty journalists.
The Loano Giovani Award, bestowed to the best music production by musicians under 35, goes to Lame Da Barba. The Career Award to Gastone Pietrucci / La Macina; and the Cultural Reality Award to Trouveur Valdotèn.
The 14th edition of the Awards will take place July 23 to 27, 2018 July in Loano (SV).