Tenores di Bitti

Tenores di Bitti are Sardinia's celebrated masters of traditional "tenores" singing, a tradition that dates back over a thousand years.

The Tenores do not use written music – this precious cultural/musical tradition is handed down orally from father to son. Their singing is characterised by the sounds of the natural landscape and the singers stand one in front of the other, forming a circle; their singing is a symbol of the strength, of the social cohesion, which is felt inside.

The city of Bitti in the region of Barbagia, Sardinia is known for its polyphonic singing, deemed one of the most expressive forms of singing; the highest peak of vocal art. On hearing the songs for the first time they can sound primitive and hard, like a voyage into a prehistoric age, when people imitated the sounds of nature. However, the four male voices one of which chants the main melody and the other three accompany it, in rhythmic pronunciation of syllables, achieve an unusual harmony and engaging, melodic sound.

The songs themselves are either profane poems speaking about the shepherds and their solitude in touch with nature, or religious songs referring to the popular world and its traditions.

Further reading

M’berra by Khalab & M’berra Ensemble out today

M'berra is a collaboration between electronic artist Khalab and musicians from M'berra refugee camp.

Bab L’ Bluz nominated for Songlines Music Award

The band's debut album Nayda! is nominated in the Fusion category.

Track of the day: ‘Curfew’ by Khalab & M’berra Ensemble

'Curfew' is taken from the forthcoming album M'berra, out on 23 April 2021.

Nick Page (1960-2021)

Nick's work can be heard on albums by Dub Colossus, Syriana, Los de Abajo and Temple of Sound.