Canti e balli marchigiani nella Valle del Chienti Vol. 1: Bellina che te piace l'allegria (Songs and Dances from the Marche Region)
This record represents a research work in the ethnic music of Marche, the Adriatic region of central Italy, carried out in several occasions between 1979 and 2008. In such an extended period of time it has been possible to provide evidence of the evolution and especially of the thinning out of the repertoire and of some singing and instrumental performing techniques.
The valley of Chienti runs through the region and divides it in two; the central part of the valley used to be devoted mostly to agriculture, while today prevails the small and medium industry.
In the towns of Petriolo and Corridonia, you can still find traces of a wide collection of songs linked to the world of agriculture, which marked, until a few decades ago, with peculiar melodies and rhythms all the various stages of the work on the fields (plowing, pruning, hay and harvesting), of other works (songs à veròccio, i.e. singing of carters) and the events of social life of the country: the alms of Pasquella's Day (on the eve of the Epiphany) and of the Passion (during Lent). Singing and music playing were intermingled with daily life and festivities, and shaped the events with appropriate sounds according to the time, the functions and the situations. The rhythmic-poetic metric most in use is certainly the hendecasyllable , as it is typical of most of the singing production of centre and southern Italy. The predominance of hendecasyllable allowed lyrics to be versatile , so that the same stanza could be molded in the various melodies coded by the community and be of use, according to the necessities, to go along with the dance, to be turned into songs of work or into a serenade, while other songs were linked to a specific recurrence, e.g. religious or alms. The Serenade, which gradually fell into disuse, could be of love or in spite: in the first case stornelli of respect and tribute to the woman were sang, in the second case, the man who had been refused by the beloved sang hateful metaphors to the woman, not without creating contrasts between families. But the stornelli with scornful lyrics (referred to man and woman, or between people of the same sex) were also chance to play with words and express the ability of composition in moments of community refreshment or at work. Characteristic of Marche and Umbria is the polyphonic singing called to batoccu (from "batacchio" the knocker of the bell, i.e. with chasing voices): this is an ancient polyphony with the option for the voices of proceeding, after a monadic incipit on different intervals.
The local feast in this area of the region was characterized by few but passionately performed dances . On all emerged the Saltarello. Of the core regional family of Central Italy (Marche, Umbria, Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise), Lu sardarellu folk popular dance of Macerata always comes with lively rhythm and it has been accompanied since decades almost always by the accordion.