Tendachënt / La Valle dei Saraceni - CD
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cd cover Tendachënt
La Valle dei Saraceni (Folkclub Ethnosuoini)

Tendachënt returns in 2005 to continue their exploration of the Mediterranean traditions that have comingled with their Piemonte culture. Founded by Maurizio Martinotti (also the founder of the seminal Italian ensemble, La Ciapa Rusa), Tendachent is one of the foremost modern folk ensembles in Italy today, and with this recording, the legend grows. If you like folk-rock and roots-folk in all its stripes, this one is highly recommended.
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Verdolin
La Valle dei Saraceni
Don-a
La Lionetta

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From the CD booklet:
"… but he knew that alongside the great History there was another one, made of fairy-tales and legends handed down for centuries, which is not written on documents that prove its authenticity, yet it is sacrosanct since it has reached us through memories and our blood".
- Giuseppe Pederiali, "L'osteria della Fola", Garzanti 2002

In the innermost area of Monferrato (in the Province of Alessandria, Piedmont) is a place called Valle dei Saraceni: according to legend, a group of Arab bandits found their shelter inside the caves gaping in this neighbourhood. Tired of the brigands' incursions, the inhabitants of the surrounding villages are told to have torn down the entrances to the caverns during a night raid, so imprisoning the terrible occupants and their priceless treasures forever. Still today, at night, the gleaming flames of small ignes fatui can be seen hovering over the fields and in the woods: people say they are the Saracens who come back to dance under the moonlight.*
- Maurizio Martinotti

* Arabic marauders coming from nearby Provence in the mid-10th century are attested here by historic sources. Local tradition intermingles these facts with a far later episode: in the 17th century, the Gonzaga army supposedly used the caves to bury some robbers alive (who were instead Piedmontese), that from the Valle dei Saraceni would make their raids in the neighbouring villages.

"A people that has no tradition, isn't that a people with no face or future?"
- Jacques Stephen Alexis, "Gli alberi musicali" (Edizioni Lavoro, Roma, 2004)

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