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Music among the clouds

Bolzano;I am with Robert Schwaerzer, a musician and researcher of Referat-Volksmusik, he is speaking at the phone looking for an opportunity to discover the music of Alto Adige.  He talks to everyone in German and get good hopes, but suddenly his face enlightens; he takes the phone and calls Otto Dellago. While discussing he looks at me making a victory sign: on Saturday his friend will make the usual annual sleigh performance with his "Trio donne Gardena" in one of the valleys of the Dolomites and .. he invites me to follow them.

This is the perfect occasion to learn about a music culture strictly connected to the surrounding mountain environment. The “Trio d’ëiles de Gherdëina cun Otto Dellago” is a group formed by Ladins, an ethnic-linguistic minority of about 30.000 people, divided into the geographical region called ladinia located between Trentino Alto Adige and Northern Veneto.
Even if these people are established in the Italian territory, they have their own culture, language and customs that have been often jeopardized by events in the history of our country. Now they enjoy protection and enhancement.

The meeting has been fixed early in the morning in a mountain dew of Val di Funes that the camper try to reach climbing through steep snow-covered ways. I arrive a little in late, I cannot see anyone and I start worrying but, from the car parking gentle voices of women perfectly in tun echo accompanied by a guitar; I hope to have found them. I rush on the ice with the risk to fall,
but the anxiety of the haste is soon cancelled by the harmony of these notes and the landscape. It is peace.

Since many years Monika, Claudia, Petra, and Otto perform a repertoire of religious and profane songs which are exclusively traditional of the alpine area. Between them they speak Ladino or German, but today they try to speak Italian because of me, even if they say " they do not feel really Italians”. Otto plays many instruments. In the custody of his guitar you can find small instruments he is testing, such as the ocarina, or the marranzano (Jew's harp), but he also plays the zither, an instrument widely used in this area in the past. He says that these songs were sang in the family occasions but now they do not sing often. They do it not for recovery or maintenance purposes but just for the pleasure of sharing some moments together.
Among the repertoire of the group there are also some Yodel (see the first part of the movie). This is surely the  most northern music of Italy; so northern that seems to be among the clouds. It will be certainly curious to get to Sicily and to compare the two sound landscapes at the opposite sides of our beautiful country. Meanwhile, from up here, I look towards the south, lulled by these notes, daydreaming on the adventure that I expect.

The title of the piece you find here below is
Ciantia d’amor - Sciche na berca zënza vënt(Love poetry - Like a boat without wind). It has been composed by Otto Dellago and interpreted by the "Trio de Eilës Gherdëina". It is not a traditional piece like the ones you can listen in the movie. It draws from the tradition but it has definitely a present-day flavor .
Sciche na berca zënza vënt, - like a boat without wind
o n cheder nia depënt, - or a not painted painting
sciche n ciof zënza pavël, - like a flower without butterfly
o na nibla zënza ciel. – or a cloud without sky
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