The group TENORES DI BITTI (Remunnu ‘e Locu) started in 1974. They come from a small village called Bitti located in the centre of Sardinia. They represent vivid testimony of the archaic roots of the Sardinian culture by traditional polyphonic singing called canto a tenore. The oldest signs of this exceptional musical form of expression was found on a vase dated 3000 B.C.
The "tenor singing" has been recognized by UNESCO as Italian masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. This choral form of chanting requires a group of four male voices, referred to as oche, bassu, contra and mesu oche. The first voice is the one who carries the "canto", taking charge of the verbal singing and improvisation. The other three voices are making a harmonic background using different vocal techniques. In this tradition singers don't use written texts for their lyrics - as this is a very common feature in the pastoral culture - handing down lyrics from father to son.
The Tenores' chants are normally based on this use of improvised lyrics dealing with common themes taken from everyday experiences such as, rural life, love, social issues, religion and satirical poetry. During the performance the artists face each other in a circle. They alternate moments in which they dance, holding each other tightly by the arms, spinning around following a specific sequence of steps and skips, in order to announce the strength of their singing and to express the social coherence they feel within.
The group is currently composed by Daniele Cossellu (77 years old) - leader of the group (oche and mesu oche), Mario Pira (bassu), Pier Luigi Giorno (contra) and Dino Ruiu (oche and mesu oche). One of the principal aims of the band has been the pursuit of bringing back to life many of the almost forgotten Tenores chants. They have won numerous awards and played concerts all over the World. The group has also performed next to some of great American jazz artists like Lester Bowie and Ornette Coleman. Frank Zappa defined their music as "bovine music". Peter Gabriel released some of the group's works under his own prestigious Real World label.
TENORES DI BITTI (Remunnu ‘e Locu) are extraordinary performers and for forty years have been the true ambassadors of Sardinian traditional singing, helping to spread this kind of music in every corner of the World.
Daniele Cossellu – vocal (oche, mesu oche)
Mario Pira – vocal (bassu)
Pier Luigi Giorno – vocal (contra)
Dino Ruiu – vocal (oche, mesu oche)