Tenores de Oniferi | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Tenores de Oniferi 

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The music of the Italian island Sardinia has remained largely untouched by modern European influences. As a result it's kept as one of its greatest cultural treasures a striking vocal music going back 4,000 to 5,000 years--cantos a tenores. Sardinia's Tenores de Oniferi carry on the tradition. In doing so they employ some of the polyphonic techniques of Tibetan monk chants and Tuvan throat singing while using a three-part guttural harmony--which, due to natural vibrations in the larynx, conveys resonant sounds suggesting far more than three voices. Cantos uses a lead voice--in this group's case, Francesco Pirisi--to sing either traditional Sardinian poetry or to improvise, and a chorus answers in thick, repetitive, slowly shifting phrases. Whereas most polyphonic singing has droning, chantlike sounds, cantos has a sophisticated melodic fabric. Tenores de Oniferi is touring the United States for the first time. Also on the program is Giampaolo Ibba, who plays the launeddas, a triple clarinet indigenous to Sardinia that produces a sound similar to the bagpipe. Sunday, 5 and 8 PM, Old Town School of Folk Music, 909 W. Armitage; 525-7793. Peter Margasak

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.


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