Saturday, June 04, 2011

Elena Ledda enthralls at Batha Museum

A full house for Elena Ledda

The afternoon concert at the Batha Museum was a gem. Over the years some of the best concerts at the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music have been at this venue and not on the main stage at Bab Makina. This was one such concert and brought back memories of performers such as Jordi Savall or the sublime Sami singer, Mari Boine, from previous years.

Elena Ledda (left)

The voice of Elena Ledda would have been just as superb in almost any musical genre you can name. Her power, balanced with nuanced and subtle phrasing,  reminded one of great Fado singers of Portugal. Yet this was not the music of Portugal but the sacred music of Sardinia.

Accompanied on stage by another (unnamed but equally talented) singer, Ledda held the audience in thrall - their two voices blending beautifully. One of the songs sung acapella was extraordinary, with a breathtaking display of perfect diction at high speed. Astonishing.

The Polyphonic Choir, Su Concordu e Su Rosario de Santu Lussurgiu, comprises four Sardinian male singers and their singing was breathtakingly beautiful. The resulting polyphony floated from beneath the ancient Barbary Oak like a refreshing breeze.

As several audience members noted, we could have done with more of the polyphony, but that aside it was a superb concert. There was a bonus - an exquisite moment - when the call to prayer rang over the Fez Medina, punctuated by the sound of Elena Ledda soaring out the cry of "Sante Maria" - a very Fez Festival moment.

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