Ernst Reijseger &
Tenore e Cuncordu de Orosei
Ernst Reijseger and the Sardinian voices Tenore e Cuncordu de Orosei met because of a cassette with Sardinian singing. Enrico Blumer, a friend of Clusone Jazz, brought it to the recording session of Reijseger’s solo album Colla Parte.
The first time Reijseger and the singers spontaneously played together was backstage at an event in Venice. A few months later, the Sardinians reached out to Reijseger and invited him to play and record. Reijseger hesitated. Being a big fan of their authentic way of singing, he was unsure if he had something to add. The men reassured him and made him a promise: “We will keep singing our tradition after you leave’’. Then they added: “Besides, we eat well here…”
Over the years, they became close friends. They do not need a lot of language to joke, laugh, rehearse, play concerts and have meals together. Most of all, they speak the language of music, of the heart, of spirit, of life. Reijseger became part of their Sardinian families and celebrations. On their turn, the singers came to Amsterdam and sang at Reijseger’s wedding.
Anniversaries, weddings, the annual feasts and processions: in Sardinia ceremonies are still an important part of life, as are shared meals. People bring their own home made wine and sit at tables, usually the men with the men, the women with the women and the children with the children. In Sardinia it’s impossible to be a vegetarian and it’s impossible to feel alone. After dinner there is singing. Food and drink, family and time are shared unquestionably, with a mix of pride and gratitude. They radiate: “…of course, this is the way we do things.”
In the 1960’s and 70’s Sardinian traditional singing became documented and recorded. The tradition was researched and transmitted – just in time – from the oldest generation to the next, thanks to the endeavours of a few men who acknowledged the value of the repertoire and customs. In the present time, the youngest generation joins weekly for rehearsals and dancing.
Tenore sing the secular songs, in the world outside, during short parties, festive gatherings, storytelling and sheep herding. Then, there is traditional music that they call ‘popular’, in which all singers present join in, as in the pieces Nanneddu Meu and Su Bolu e s’Astore.
The bass, middle and top voice sing in perfect triads. The three men hold each other by the shoulders whilst singing, in order to be as close as possible with their mouths and ears. The front singer stands outside of the circle of three and directs his voice outward. At times, the singers end a frase with a unison downwards bend.
In the case of the Tenore, the men occasionally dance together within their circle, alternating clockwise and counter clockwise. Armonica (mouth organ) and trumba (Jew’s harp), often used for dancing, broaden the Sardinian tradition even more.