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September 13, 2010

Corsican a cappella makes NYC debut

The outstanding male vocal quartet Barbara Furtuna will perform Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 8:00 PM at Saint Peter’s Church in New York. Barbara Furtuna carries on the centuries-old tradition of polyphonic singing from Corsica, the mountainous Mediterranean island off the coast of France.

With its exquisite and haunting a cappella harmonies of spiritual and secular songs, the group has become a leading exponent of this music that nearly became extinct until its revival in the 1970s. The vocal tradition is now a central part of Corsican national identity, and is sometimes linked to calls for autonomy or independence.

Corsican polyphonic song – one of Europe’s most beautiful vocal traditions – is performed for all celebrations, rites of passage and seasonal festivals on the island and includes both secular and sacred songs. Songs are traditionally performed a cappella. The method of a cappella singing is based on three parts while a fourth part – the voice of the angels – is produced by harmonics caused by the interaction of the other voices and seems to appear magically.

The lead singer is the middle voice and is known as the secunda; ornamentation is provided by the terza, the highest voice; and the lowest voice is provided by the bassu, often in the form of a drone. Traditionally polyphony was sung by men, though there was the cuntrastu, which included male and female voices. Read more.

Posted by acapnews at September 13, 2010 9:10 PM


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