For the last 20 years, the male vocal quartet known as Barbara Furtuna has kept the great tradition of polyphonic a cappella singing alive on the island of Corsica. Their breathtaking performances are a gorgeous and cleverly orchestrated balance between traditional, sacred and profane polyphony, music that simultaneously combines two or more melodic lines. According to Folkworld, “These excellent singers bring emotion, vocal perfection and strong timing to an ancient tradition.” “Strong, vibrant and deep… this music comes right out of the earth,” wrote La Provence newspaper.
Polyphonic singing has roots extending deep into the agro-pastoral society of the island. From the outset, inhabitants of Corsica took refuge in the mountains to escape the malaria-infested shores and raids of the Moors and other invaders. They cultivated an identity enriched by many outside influences: the island has in turn been Greek, Roman, Carthaginian, Genoese, etc. A cappella singing accompanied hard agricultural labor, domestic work and Christian rituals.
Young revivalists were first drawn to the traditional music of the island during the Corsican Reacquistu (Re-acquisition) of the 1970s, which included a reclaiming of Corsican polyphonic, traditional instruments, language and even a movement toward political autonomy.
Barbara Furtuna further distinguishes itself by carefully balances these traditional songs with originals and covers of newer songs.
The group also plays Wednesday, Sept. 25, 5:30 pm, at the First Presbyterian Church
Address: First Presbyterian Church is located at 310 Fifth St. SE, Cedar Rapids