O Maria béla Maria
FolkClub Ethnosuoni (www.folkclubethnosuoni.com)
While the tired old concept that music is a "universal language" is open to debate, the fact that the timeless human drive toward choral singing is a near global phenomenon cannot be argued. From gospel choirs in the United States to Bulgarian women's choruses to Slovenian singing societies to South African isicathimiya groups, people are drawn to the blending of disparate voices into an architectural whole.
Coro Bajolese has been joining their voices in song since 1966, when they formed in Bajo Dora, a small hamlet in the province of Turin. O Maria béla Maria was made in 2007, the centenary of the death of Costantino Nigra, the group's founding director. The group's current 26 members, all but one of whom are male, are lead by Amerigo Vigliermo. Their music has the robust reverence of a church choir. Formally, most of the songs consist of call-and-response passages, with a soloist or small group singing a short phrase which is then answered by the whole. The soloists vary not only in range, but in timbre and grasp of tonality. Some voices are more accurate and polished than others, but this is what gives the music its democratic appeal. If you're looking for slick perfection, look elsewhere. This music is earthy and earnest, proof that the whole is much more than the sum of its parts. The blend of all of these incongruent voices is rich and warm, with the nubby texture of raw linen. - Peggy Latkovich
Listen to "La casun ed Mariantun"
CD available from cdRoots