Performance Saturday, March 24, 2012 | 10 PM

Lo Còr de la Plana

Zankel Hall
Lo Còr de la Plana is an all-male polyphonic vocal ensemble that accompanies itself on amplified bendirs (frame drums), drawing on influences that range from Bartók to Gregorian chant, reggae, and Arab music.
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The French territory can be divided into several linguistic areas: Gaelic, South German, Basque, Italian, Catalan, French, and Occitan. What makes the Occitan language distinct is its closeness with other southern Latin languages and the fact that it has never been an official language. It has been a written idiom for more than 10 centuries, famous for its medieval aristocratic poetry; its most veritable writers and composers were called trobars (troubadours). Occitan became the language of European poets during the 12th and 13th centuries, and rich noblemen and kings, such as Eleanor of Aquitaine’s grandfather, Guilhem, or Richard the Lionheart, wrote and composed Occitan pieces.

Two of this poetry’s most interesting details are the links and interactions it has developed with popular poetry, and the inventive oral Occitan tradition. Popular Occitan singing still carries testimonies of both of these elitist and popular aspects, and often inspires writers and poets by its very bright and humorous content, even when it tells about dramatic situations. Marseille—the largest southern French city—concentrates a lot of these popular Occitan characteristics. The city has a very Mediterranean aspect in its music, influenced by immigrants—the most recent being from North Africa and Italy—who have populated the area for 26 centuries.

Lo Còr de la Plana presents an anthology of traditional, but also original songs that may give the listener an overall view on how the Occitan spirit never fails to celebrate the vital energies of life—especially when pointed close to its death—as the current French state likes to describe its culture.

Presented by Carnegie Hall in partnership with World Music Institute.
This performance is part of World Views.

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