Sounds of SardiniaSounds of Sardinia
It is difficult to find a musical heritage so varied and full of expression as the one you can find in Sardinia, which is a small island of just under 24 thousands sq. km with a population of 1 million 600 thousands inhabitants.
Sardinian traditional music is in every sense one of the richest and oldest in the Mediterranean. The expression of this heritage can be found in polyvocal or monodic songs and in the use of instruments, some of which are typical of the island.
Undoubtedly one of the most original forms in the island's polyvocal heritage is the CANTO A TENORES (Tenors song).
It is a choral song sung only by four male voices and it is typical of Barbagia, an area in the centre of Sardinia.
The leading voice, called the "boghe", (which means 'voice' in the Sardinian language), sings the basic musical motif of lines of poetry which are the main source of the "repertoire" and which comply with the various metrics. The other voices are the "bassu" which has the same tonality as the solo voice with a very deep and nasal tune distinguishing it from "sa contra", and "sa mesa oghe" which have a high timbre.

Choir Remunnu e Locu from Bitti
ImageChoir "Remunnu e Locu" from Bitti
Peppe Cuga
ImagePeppe Cuga
  These three voices, also often with the inclusion of the solo voice, take part in the song soon after "sa oghe" with a very rhythmic form stressing syllables without sense and which can be different depending on the villages they are from (bim-ba-rim, bim-bo-ba-ri-là). Starting from these features Andrea Deplano, author of a extensive study of the "tenor", identified five different areas for this song, whose origin are still unknown.
Perhaps its origin dates back to the primeval vocal production of the people living in the centre of Sardinia. In fact due to the mountainous terrain of that area the men were often forced to lead a lonely life as shepherds as they had to spend long periods away from their families.
In order to sing this song the shepherds had to meet and its peculiar expression probably referred to kind of life they had to live in the country.

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