S’amore ‘e Mama

Tenores di Bitti

Released 30 June 1996

  1. Lamentu
  2. Monte Seris
  3. Anghelos Cantade
  4. Sa Ballarina
  5. S'amore 'E Mama
  6. T'amo
  7. Sos Ojos Lagrimosos
  8. Su Manzanile
  9. Sos Artigianos
  10. Satiras
  11. S'Annunziata
  12. Sardinia Soundscape

Liner notes

The Tenores’s singing is a typical expression of the traditional polyphonic style of Sardinia.  The origins of the singing date back to the era of “nuraghes” (circular buildings made of stones around 3000 BC), when it established itself in the lives of the shepherds, and have many affinities with the songs of the Orient, Africa and also Oceania – particularly in the guttural voices and strong asymmetric rhythms.

The Tenores do not use written music – this precious cultural/musical tradition is handed down orally from father to son.  Their singing is closely linked to extemporary poetry, although the Tenores are also able performers in the execution of written poetry.  The poems are often composed by a classical Sardinian author who is unrecognised in official Italian literature.  They describe moments of everyday life in the agricultural, stock-raising or artisan world, but also include love, religious and satirical songs.

The Tenores’s singing is characterised by the sounds of the natural landscape – sheep bleating, cows bellowing, the wind hissing (onomatopoeic sounds).  In Bitti there are a dozen different types of tunes – ballu lestru (fast dance), ballu seriu (serious dance), isterritas, muttos, passu torrau, andira, dillu, boke ‘e notte (night’s voice), ninna nanna (lullaby), grobes, innu (hymn), cantos religiosos (religious song).

Usually there are four voices in a group of Tenores – boke (soloist), bassu (key note – first degree), contra (fifth of the first degree) and mesa’oke (high eighth of the contra).   The melody is struck up by the soloist, who sings a specific poem or improvises, establishing the intonation and the rhythm; he also pays maximum attention to the execution of the melody, because he has to decide the right points for the change of tonality (to go up or down one tone).  The other voices (the rhythmic and harmonic section) enter during the development of the musical theme.

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.  There exists a true magnetism and solar energy between the granitic land of Sardinia and the Tenores’s singing.  Without doubt, the Tenores di Bitti is one of the purest groups of the island, whose roots are deeply established in the ancient culture of Barbagia – the heart of Sardinia.


Further Listening

  • Lost Souls


    Released 23 July 2000

    From the streets of Naples, vibrant energy, impassioned vocals and wild abandon. These modern protest songs from ancient roots are filled with vibrant energy, impassioned vocals and wild abandon. For this group, politics is carnival and life's harsh realities are steeped in colour, humour and hedonism.
  • My Songs & A Poem

    Estrella Morente

    Released 18 March 2002

    The long-awaited debut album by Cantaora Estrella Morente comprises traditional songs adapted by her legendary father, Enrique Morente, and features some of the best musicians Spain has to offer.

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