Sunday 26 August 2007

Elves singing

Music is so difficult to write about, I usually don’t bother trying. My recent attempt was further complicated by coming from the point of view of a frightened three-​​year-​​old.

Having failed, therefore, to evoke what I had in mind, thanks to the magic of the Internets I can direct you kisór fans to precisely what I had in mind, so that you can have a listen.

I’ve loved polyphony and a cappella music for years – I don’t know an instrument that has as much power to move a human as a human voice does, and those that come close, such as the violin, tend to resemble the human voice anyway.

Originally I was listening to medieval masses and motets (Josquin Desprez is my favorite), but once I married a Frenchman I was introduced to Corsican polyphony, which is still a living tradition. My favorite group is A Filetta, who sound like a choir of three and thirty fallen angels but are actually just a half-​​dozen men.

A Filetta singing

I tend to get out A Filetta whenever I’m writing about Lar and his band lately – the song “Paghjella de l’Impiccati” is precisely about a group of rebels who are tortured and executed, including a young boy – and gradually I so associated that music with the kisór that I imagined it was what their singing sounded like.

I had already mentioned in the past that the kisór elves sang sad songs unlike anything the khórrón sang, so…

Elves singing

While I was writing the chapter with Seven in the “temple”, I put on the most goosebump-​​inducing songs of all and listened to those in a loop. If you want to hear some of them, check out A Filetta’s MySpace page.

One of my favorites is “Sumiglia”, which you can listen to in the music player at top right of their page. I was listening to the version from the “Ab Eternu” album, which is even more sublime and sad, but this one is still astounding. If there is any one song that I imagined Lar singing that day, it was this one.

“L’Arditezza”, which is also in the music player, is also quite good, and there’s a part towards 3:30 that is guaranteed to make you stop and listen for a moment no matter what you’re doing. Did I already use the word “sublime”? How about “unearthly”?

You can listen to the song about the revolutionaries, “Paghjella de l’Impiccati”, in the first video on their page. Here is a direct link in case it moves. My imaginary elven song was something like “Sumiglia” blended with a bit of this song.

The first part of that video shows scenes from Corsica (with translation of the Corsican words into French, for those of you who can read it), but at the start of the second half you’ll see a man who really does look like he’s in pain while singing, so you can see what poor Seven saw on Lar’s face.

Lar's face.

If you’re in a hurry and want to skip straight to the breath-​​taking and the blood-​​chilling, check out the third video with the song “Comme un souffle” from that movie about birds, “Le Peuple migrateur”. [Direct YouTube link]

I have listened to these songs so much lately with my thoughts on the elves that now, when I listen, I have even associated different voices with different elves. I know, I know, I have a problem. I wonder what those poor Corsican gentleman would think?

Lar, of course, is the “lead singer”, but I hear Imin come in now again with his beautiful voice, like a second bird. Didn’t know Imin had a beautiful voice, did you?