Actores Alidos: Galanìas


Listening Post 109. For the polyphonic quintet Actores Alidos, songs may entertain but they serve primarily as rhythmic frames for human activity—work, banter, celebration, telling love stories, amusing or calming children, lamenting loss and expressing faith. The group is based in Quartu Sant’Elena, Sardinia, and performs traditional and contemporary works that give voice to the island’s women. Led by vocal soloist and arranger Valeria Pilia, they sing in Sardinian—a cappella or accompanied by traditional instruments and household tools; Galanìas (Beautiful Things) is the troupe’s second album, and an extraordinary album it is. Pilia wrote the lively brush-off song Si non ballat su coro (If My Heart Doesn’t Dance), which is accompanied by Orlando Mascia on launeddas (a triple pipe): “You’ve got diamonds/You’ve got land,” the women chant, “But you won’t win me with your wealth/You can keep it for yourself” (video 1). The lullaby Dammi li manni (Give me your hands) employs reverse psychology: “Come play with Nanny…Don’t fall asleep, it’s not the time/Give me your beautiful hands…your beautiful feet/But your eyes are going to close” (video 2). Tzia Mariola mixes cooking and gossip to the beat of gavoi drums, starting with Aunt Mariola preparing a sauce for her husband, “…her skirt making a tricchi tracca sound as she climbs the stairway to her kitchen” (video 3). Among Pilia’s outstanding compositions are the spellbinding A cicchittu a cicchittu (Drop After Drop) about a preference for wine over water; and the merry Festa po sa pippia (Party for the Child), with it’s anti-evil eye chorus, “This child will never die” (video 4). In every musical frame, the Actores—sensible and spirited, warm and wise, garrulous and protective—create dynamic social scenes reflecting the women whose voices they so passionately channel. (Finisterre)






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