Compagnia Sacco, from 90 years now, is one of the most authentic and exciting examples of traditional Italian polyphony. In the small village of Ceriana (Liguria) is still alive a vocal style based on the strong presence of the vocal bass drone. In this album, they present the complete collection of ancient songs performed by Ceriana’s Brotherhoods on the occasion of the Holy Week rites, sacred songs in Latin. Arousing feelings of deep emotion and profound spirituality.
Compagnia Sacco is a living proof of polyphonic traditional singing in Ceriana, a Ligurian small village. The group was formed in 1926 , following an initiative of friends and singers, fond of the village’s traditions. In this ancient tradition there is a strong presence of the “bordone”, a voice which creates a continuous bass structure. The chant is introduced by the baritone (second voice) then the tenor (first voice) comes in with a higher and more acute tone. The bass accompanies and hold the soloists. The polyphony that emerges, sustained by the beauty of the songs, produces deep emotions and a natural vocal harmony. Profane chants are nearly all in Ceriana’s dialect, the holy ones are in Latin.
Compagnia Sacco presents, on this album, the whole colletion of the songs performed by the religious Brotherhoods of Ceriana during the Holy Easter Week. The Brotherhoods start flourishing in western Liguria at the end of the 13th Century during the first Jubilee. They had a further development in 1400 under the impulse of Pope Bonifacio IX and Spanish Dominican Vincenzo Ferrer. In 1600 the Brotherhood of the “Misericordia” was formed in order to assist the people who were sentenced to death. Following this example, other Brotherhoods were founded for hospital care. They became real centres of power not under bishops’ jurisdiction and they came to constitute, over the years, the real backbone of the Ligurian ecclesiastical traditions. In Ceriana, still today, there are three active Brotherhoods and one Company, each one differing by the colour of their cape (“u tabarin”). In the rich panorama of the tradizional polyphonic songs of Ceriana, the singing of the Holy Week assumes a special value. The are tuned by the Brothers on Holy Thursday and Good Friday in the church, outside the curch and during the suggestive procession. These ancient songs never fail to arouse feelings of deep emotion and profound spirituality.
Although an informal line-up was field-recorded by Alan Lomax in 1954, the history of the Compagnia Sacco officially opens with the debut at the Piccolo Teatro of Milan in 1966/67 in a gathering of traditional singing organized by Ronconi, Leydi and Strehler. Over the course of its 90-year history, the Compagnia Sacco was the ambassador of the beauty of Ceriana’s "drone chant" worldwide : to be quoted the trip to the US in 1975, the concerts in major European capitals, the tours in Serbia, Tunisia and Lithuania. And even today the Compagnia Sacco remains one of the most authentic and exciting examples of traditional Italian pholyphony, a priceless heritage.
COMPAGNIA SACCO DI CERIANA from Felmay Shop
Demo Martini - first voce Giovanni Martini - second voce Mirco Soldano - second voce Daniele Di Francesco - second voce Alberto Lupi, Rino Lanteri e Matteo Lupi - bass voices