Orosei is probably the only village in Sardinia which preserved such a rich repertoire of polyphonic, ecclesiastical and secular songs through oral transmission. The secular ones are the so-called tenor singing. The term 'tenor' is used in Sardinia to denote, on the one hand, the group of cantors, on the other it stands for the single members. The singing style is paraphrased through the expression a tenore: cantu a tenore.
There are four voices which, starting with the lowest, are called: su bassu (the bass), sa contra (the contra voice), sa voche (the precentor) and sa mesuvoche (the mezzo voice). They represent the tonic, the fifth, the octave and the tenth of a Major triad. The most striking peculiarity is the timbre of the voices: they are hollow, distorted, glottal, and are supported by a subtle technique which is only mastered by cantors who have a robust vocal apparatus; otherwise, functional disturbances or pathological changes of the vocal chords would easily occur.
The songs are usually lead by sa voche, whereas the vocal trio - bassu, contra and mesuvoche - answers. In doing so, the rhythm stays mainly the same and is emphasised by a series of - for the tenor singing in Orosei - typical syllables: Le-Lei. Due to this tonal peculiarity some also call this singing Le-Lei-singing, to differentiate it from other tenor singing forms on the island.
The tune's words are written either in Logudoresic dialect or in local dialect - which is called su baroniesu (baroniesic). The latter is especially appreciated by linguists, as the Latin from which it originates is the closest to the original which can be found in the whole of Sardinia.
The origin of the songs has still not been fully explained, despite the best efforts of a number of well-known authorities, who have advanced many hypotheses. It is certain that at the end of the 19.0030s, tenor singing was the most popular accompaniment of communal dances on public squares in Orosei. In particular, the su ballu turturino features prominently amongst them.
The members of the tenor group still remember how they were called to represent the country at battles, and singing events, up to the Second World War.
They were: Antoni Sazza, bassu; Beppe Farris, contra; Vissente Gallus, voche and Antoni Milia, mesuvoche. This group split up after the death of its leader Beppe Farris in 19.0043, partly due to the change in social conditions. In the accompaniment of the dance a musical innovation was introduced which consisted in using new instruments, such as little organs, the guitar and finally the accordion.
In the Seventies Viessente Gallus, who was a farmer by profession, decided to restore to tenor singing the dignity and importance of earlier times. He assembled a group of adolescents from Orosei, who were enthusiastic about the culture of their own country, taught them all the peculiarities of this type of singing, and inspired their hearts with the principles of unity and love which at all times united the cantors at their public performances. Tziu Vissente always worked alongside his cantors at auditions and concerts until his death a few years ago.
The members of the Tenore de Orosei are, therefore, the immediate successors of an ancient tradition which was carried on without interruption. They recognise their heritage and take delight in keeping this tradition alive, in the name of the people of Orosei. Dedicated and assiduous, the cantors of the Tenore de Orosei - in spite of their numerous family obligations - continue to present their own musical knowledge in concerts and musical events.
– Paolo Mercurio
|Mario Siotto [bassu]; |
Gianluca Frau [cronta];
Patrizio Mura [voche];
Tore Mula [mesuvoche]
|1. Cara cantu ser bella [voche seria] |
3. Vidu ndh’appo de rosa [ballu brincu]
4. Fin tantos cassatores [a s’andira]
5. A una rosa [voche ‘e notte antica]
6. Pruite cantas ancora [lèllere]
7. Iscurta alligra rosa [voche ‘e torrare voes]
9. Su puddhu [ballu turturinu]
total time: 44:59