For his latest album, Argentinean composer Bruno Sanfilippo dramatically pivots from the pulsating realm of modern technology that was the focus of last year’s Redes (2022) and peers down the long corridors of history to a time of a different kind of human struggle. The newly released Ver Sacrum is both inspired and informed by an ancient custom of ritualized expulsions practiced during the time of the late Roman Empire and Early Middle Ages as a way of propagating new settlements and staying connected with nature. This that evokes the canonical music of the era while surveying a broad spectrum of human experience from sorrow and loss to love and hope.
Throughout history, this expression has been used to describe various ritual group expulsions and the deduction of colonies, particularly with regard to people getting back to nature. For example, the Italian town of Nocera was founded in the 7th Century BC by inhabitants from Camerinum, who left their ancestral homeland during a so-called Ver Sacrum.
This sets the scene for the premiere of a new video featuring “The Childrens Ceremony”, a track which journalist Derek Robertson describes as conjuring “sunlight streaming through a stained-glass window, and feelings of hope mixed with serenity”. The song soars on the strings of Laura Masotto (violin) and Antonio Cortesi (cello) while contemplating the somber burden that these young shining faces will one day have to carry. It is a beautiful piece, but also one that is emblematic of the arduous struggle for survival that no one of the time could ever take for granted. As always, Sanfilippo prompts us to think as well as feel deeply through his music.
In ancient Rome, during times of calamities such as pandemics, earthquakes, wars, or plagues, they used to devote children born in spring – from the 1st of March to the 30th of April – to the gods Jupiter and Mars. Then, when they turned 20 or 21, these children were required to leave the community to begin new settlements.
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Ver Sacrum will be released March 10, 2023, on Sanfilippo’s ad21 label. The album recorded at Onix II Studio in Barcelona was mastered by Ian Hawgood and features cover art by Javier Guglielmi.