In Ceriana, a village in West Liguria on the southern slopes of the Italian Alps descending to the Mediterranean coast, people love to sing. Among not less than five choirs, The Compagnia Sacco, founded in 1926, is the most committed to preserve the traditional drone polyphony. Different from Corsican and Sardinian polyphonies (but similar to East Georgian table songs), the local three-part singing is characterized by two solo voices and the drone of the choir.
The American ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax made sound recordings in Ceriana in 1954. He invited The Compagnia Sacco in 1975 to the USA, as a prelude to the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration of Independence. This one-month tour in America was the starting point for its international reputation. However, unlike other choirs of the region, the members of The Compagnia Sacco do not sing under the direction of a conductor and do not limit themselves to giving concerts and producing CDs; they also enjoy very much singing together with friends at many local festivities. Thus, since its foundation The Compagnia Sacco draws its repertoire from the local tradition and still presents it to an international audience, and in return the members of the choir also continue to nurture and keep alive the village singing of today.
Filmmaker: Hugo Zemp
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