Corou de Berra has been delighting listeners with their magical harmonic voices for around 30 years. Even if the words are not understood, the energy and vibrancy of this group is truly captivating, enthralling.

The current composition of the group is Marie Foessel, Francoise Marchetti, Luca Pellegrino and Michel Bianco though the group can draw on 20 other superb musicians. Together they deliver this wonderful music cappella which is often augmented by a mandolin or bouzouki and, just maybe, an accordion.

I first encountered this group singing in Cathédrale Sainte Réparate, albeit with a slightly different line up, many years ago and I was, as they say, blown away. I remain blown away to this day. It is so worthwhile going to these concerts which are principally held in places with great acoustics – churches being an excellent choice. As an aside, I do recommend going to the cathedral, it is so much part of Nice.

Corou de Berra

The obvious question is to ask where the music comes from. The answer is that it comes from very traditional roots with songs being passed down through generations. They also encompass later contemporary works which keep to traditional roots and, interestingly, language. There was a fear that the songs would be lost; the group ensures that this will never happen. Their use of polyphony keeps the traditional sprit alive with its vibrations resonating and touching the soul.

On YouTube there is Bella Bella Ciao which was arranged by one of the current members of the group, Michel Bianco. There are many YouTube videos but the real and necessary joy is to savour them live; the energy and emotion flows connecting musician and listener in a magical, captivating way. After a concert the music stays in your head and, for me and others, creates a mood of quiet and contentment.

Corou de Berra
This is an eclectic and dynamic group, it is always developing and enhancing its repertoire. Michel Bianco has directed the group since its beginnings. Michel creates subtle arrangements that are one hand unusual and evocative, but on the other hand keep it within the tradition. Another member is Marie-Pierre Foessel who is a well known performer in her own right and also a teacher. Marie’s delivery is always perfect and passionate. The other singers are equally brilliant in their enthusiasm for singing these wonderful songs, all very talented and professional.

Through the year they can be found all over the region from Avignon, Marseilles to Menton and in the beautiful villages of the southern Alps. For anyone who loves music then this is a treat that you cannot afford to miss. Be careful, you can easily become addicted.

Check out some of Corou de Berra’s amazing music here –

Blowing in the Wind (Gilberto Richer)
Lou Roussignoù que Vola
Porta Romana

another grey line

All photos Clarissa Blanco

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