Songs from the beginning of the world

Voce Di Corsica
Corse éternelle
Les plus belles Chansons



01. A me brunetta
02. Ecco bella
03. Barbara fortuna
04. Iste confessor
05. Kyrie
06. Lettera a mamma
07. Moita
08. Salva sancta parens
09. Te Deum
10. Terzetti di rusiu
11. Terzine
12. Dio vi salvi regina



 Voce di Corsica

Formed: 1991, Ajaccio, Corse

Members: Petru Guelfucci (vocals), Dumenicu Leschi (vocals), Filippu Rocchi (vocals), Maï Pesce (vocals), Thierry Pesce (vocals), Lurenzu Barbolosi (vocals, 1991-2001), Indria Olivi (vocals, 1991-2001), Benedetu Sarocchi (vocals, 1991-2001), Jean-Marc Bertrand (vocals, 2001-present), Jean-François Giamarchi (vocals, 2001-present), Petru Santu Guelfucci (vocals, 2001-present)

The group was formed in 1990 by six male singers from the interior of the island and they sing both sacred and profane music. Polyphonies produced in 1993 includes different song types including lamentu (about exile, misfortune...), madrigale (poetic songs), terzetti (based on troubadors songs from Tuscany of the middle ages).

A significant, though not the only aspect of Corsican traditional music is polyphony (many voices): unaccompanied (a capella) singing by small groups of three to eight or nine people. It is closely associated with the island's identity and its rebirth coincided with the resurgence (riaquistu) of national political ambition in the seventies. Thirty years on polyphony is widely celebrated as the country's cultural expression - more than any other art form.

Dorothy Carrington, doyenne of living Corsican chroniclers described singers of polyphony, who "...never... feel so united in their apartness, their insularity, as when performing this indigenous music inherited from their unremembered past. Fathers and sons and brothers and cousins stand or crouch in close formation, body to body, ear to ear, linked in the communion of singing with each other, with their race and with the hosts of their ancestors." Phew! "I had the impression of hearing a voice from the entrails of the earth. Song from the beginning of the world," she said after hearing singing one Christmas eve in a chapel in the Fiumorbu.

The origins of Corsican polyphony are much disputed and since until recently they have been undocumented, no clear evidence exists of its source. Though I'm no musician, I sense it as inheriting a bit of everything Mediterranean from the north, south, east and west. Friends often ask about the Arab influence.

Traditional Corsican polyphony, following its revival in the 1970s, is now a central part of the expression of Corsican culture. There are those who stress its political importance, while others insist more on the music in its own right. There were those who recorded old people singing time-honoured aurally transmitted chants and others who started writing what can be described as political songs. In any event, the fact that polyphony has taken a central place in community life is a natural process, similar to the process of identity seeking in many other cultures.

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