Melchiorre Murenu Poet Of Poetry In Bolu 0 Comments

Melchiorre Murenu Poet Of Poetry In Bolu

Bolu Poetry (sung lyrics) is a Sardinian art form that has nowadays almost completely disappeared. By extemporaneous poetry, or off the cuff, is meant the poetic genre, often in sung form, which is improvised in front of the public on themes proposed at the very moment of the performance and therefore is never the same. The more the cantadores, authors of the cantada, add wit and effectiveness to the lyrics, the more they are appreciated and sought after.

A Sardinian folklore tradition, between the cultured and the popular, to which an evening was dedicated up to the seventies during the village festivals, where skilled cantadores sang their poems for the villagers, who often brought their own chairs from home to more comfortably assist the cantada, actively participating in the show with laughers, opinions and applauses. We said cultured, because it was connected to the literary culture of the Middle Ages in the cadence of the metric, based on the octave rhyme.

Melchiorre Murenu was a famous cantadore of bolu poetry in the nineteenth century. He was born Macomer in 1803. He did not have an easy life, because at the age of three he caught smallpox which caused him blindness, as he told in verse, speaking about it in the poem "Supplication to Monsignore Bua".

For this reason, he was called "The Homer of Sardinia" because like the Greek poet lived blind and of poetry. He was poor and illiterate but he was gifted with a rare memory which allowed him to form a "listened to" culture whose sources were the preachers in church and the people in the villages.

Strengthened by his self-taught culture and his ability to improvise, Melchiorre earned his living by travelling around the villages of Sardinia and performing in bolu or cantada poetry competitions. He had a pungent and ironic tongue, and there were many topics in his poetry: moralists, (often directed to women, when their behaviour was indecent), critical and passionate, and often with a social and political background, which made him popular throughout Sardinia and his works were handed down in oral tradition making him one of the most famous Sardinian poets. Scholars, through his writings, attribute to him notions and critical knowledge of historical and social events.

The titles of some of his poems and cantadas speak for themselves: Faziles amores de una libertina (Easy loves of a libertine), Sa muzere brincajola (The ribald wife), Capricciu amorosu (Love's whim), Peccadore, non vivas Piùs dormidu (Sinner, do not longer live asleep).

Unfortunately, satire, especially when it is biting or considered offensive like Mureno’s one, causes hatred and even caused his death. "Sa Dinda troppu fantastic" could be the cause of his assassination, because was too offensive towards the murder instigators’ daughter. Or else, the assassins were from Bosa offended by his "Sas isporchitzias de Bosa (The filth of Bosa). He died by falling at the age of 51 in 1854, thrown from the precipice of Santa Rughe where his killers probably pushed him. The reason why he was killed was never known. His fame as a cantadore of bolu poetry endured.

“Sung lyrics are an umbrella of eternity” (Maurizio Telli)


Written by Daniela Toti

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