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Michal Shapiro

Every week Michal Shapiro reports on concerts, festivals and interviews with musicians, both international and local. Check out World Music for the latest on the video blog!

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Medieval Songs of Sex, from Catalonia: Els Berros de la Cort

As its name would indicate, the Fira Mediterrània de Manresa showcases music from Catalonia and also from all around the Mediterranean. It provides a lively music trade fair where business connections can be made and deals closed, but it is also a citywide festival. Every resident can participate and the main streets are full of families taking advantage of the public performances and general party feeling. 

 

I'll be covering the festival in greater depth soon, but for now, here's a dose of medieval secular music from Els Berros de la Cort who were playing at El Sielu, one of the smaller club-like venues. As you will see the band uses authentic instruments, with the addition of some contemporary percussion and amplification. So while the sound is probably quite similar to what one might have heard at a medieval festival, there are definitely heightened rhythmic color and dynamics.

 


The lyrics for the first a capella piece come from the "Speculum al Foderi," which was a kind of medical sex manual for the lay person (no pun intended, but hey...). The very title, which contains some rather blunt language, suggests that it was not published for royalty, who would usually be reading a book in formal Latin. The words themselves, which the band has set to original music describe various attributes of a woman: her fair parts, her dark parts, her round parts, her petite parts, and her sweet-smelling parts. 

 

The full translation is available upon request ;-) 

 

This is followed by an instrumental which is a free adaptation of "Molt Eram Dolz Mei Conzir," a composition by Arnaut de Maroil (sometimes written Arnaut de Mareuil), an Occitan troubadour of the late 12th century. 

 

This all leads me to believe there was lot more to medieval culture than we are commonly taught! 

 

For more information about Els Berros de la Cort, visit: elsberrosdelacort.cat 

 

For more of Michal's world music videos visit inter-muse.com

 
 
 
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Medieval Songs of Sex, from Catalonia: Els Berros de la Cort