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Arts et culture - Le chant et la musique


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Traditional song are often improvised and reflect the past conflicts and strict customs.

Each stage in life is depicted by the typical songs, starting from early childhood with the ‘nanne’ (lullaby), followed by serenades (homages to young girls).

Other traditional oral types of expression, were once important but have since died out,
- the "lamenti" (lament composed at a death)
- the "voceri" (imprecations by women dressed in black following the death of a close relation who was victim of the vendetta)
- the "chjam'e rispondi" (one voice calls, an other answers)…

But the Corsican polyphony is and has always been the "paghjella", it is a song with three different male voice tones which complement one another. The singers are dressed in black, and hold one hand up to their ear so that they are not put off by the other voices beside them. In this way each voice has their own defined tune : the first one gives the tone and base of the tune, the second does the bass, the third sings the high notes, and all of this improvised around a theme. It’s the most spontaneous song .

For ten years now the younger population have taken up singing. The current revival of polyphonic songs has been motivated by the will to carry on the Corsican oral culture, handed down through the ages without any help from teaching methods.
Following the Canta U populu Corsu, some polyphonic groups such as I Muvrini, A Filetta or les Gjami enable these traditional forms of music to live on.

Certain instruments which had been forgotten for centuries have been reestablished, such as the ‘cetera’ or the ‘pifane’, and certain festivals like the Festivoce in Pigna, are helping to promote these musical traditions.

Corsican traditional music is now being “exported” to France, with for example Muvrini and even abroad (duo Muvrini and Sting). Petru Guelfucci is for example very popular in Quebec.