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The tradition of bonfire-fellowship rites
on St. John’s day 2011

Circulating Festival of Popular Culture
Alghero, Osilo, Ozieri, Sedini, Villanova Monteleone
Sassari, Italy
From  June 19th to June 24th,  2011


St. John’s day: bonfires and rites

Just  to the Fifties the town of Alghero was the scene of important  celebrations during the month of June,   owing  the celebrations of St. John’s day. It was a very old traditional  feast  where ancestral rituals merged with the religious anniversary. With the economic boom years the  celebration lost its importance until it disappeared.

Since last year, the Feast has returned to life and during only one edition has become an event  of strong appeal, able to to involve realities outside the island. For the edition of 2011 the Province of Sassari, which promotes the festival through the local Tourist System, decided to extend  the feast involving 12 municipalities belonging to the provincial area, with a program that will last from June 19th to June 26th. The focal point will be on June 23rd, eve of St. John’s day and the night of bonfires lit in his honor.

Around those fires, nowadays such as in past times, will take place the ceremony of fellowship, the jump-upon-the –fire where two fellows, holding their hands and leaping flames, symbolically unite their destiny into a brotherhood.

Sporting events, parades of horses and riders in costume will be part of the program such as the traditional divination by pouring fused lead into cold water and to predict the future by the shapes derived from its cooling , and a lot of other proposals.

This year the event will weave a connection with the Catalan land, the bonfire will be lit with a flame taken from the bonfires of Catalunya, prepared well in that place in honor of the Saint.

The Italian Network of Popular Culture, of which the Province of Sassari is member and promoter, representing also the national vice-presidency and the coordination of the “Euromediterranean work-table”, organizes just for for that renewed rite  a “popular caravan” with the participation of researchers, video makers, performers who belong to the Euromediterranean Network, coming from Egypt, Morocco, Spain, Italy, France and Romania. They will meet the performers of sardinian traditions. The institutional representatives and the responsibles of the most important cultural bodies of the involved nations will be present: the Festival of Amazigh Culture from Morocco, the Festival de Musiques y arts de la Méditeranìa Portalblau from Catalunya, the CULTNAT Center for Documentation of Cultural and natural heritage , partner of Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the Library of Alexandria, from Egypt, the International Puppet & Mime Festival of Kilkis from Greece, the Fête de la Méditerranée from France and the Global Music Institute from Berlin.

In this context, the reborned  Feast  does not want to be only a show and celebration but also a period of research and study on local traditions and a chance of meeting with the local communities. Therefore will be present non only local artists and performers coming from the Euromediterranean area, but researchers, academics and students from Universities: five days of journey and meeting with communities and villages in the province of Sassari, a caravan that will cover  its path by introductions,  researches and records, concerts and shows and will end its journey in the evening of 23rd on the beach in Alghero, by a completely spontaneous way. The involved artists will not be present only as performers but will participate every day to the work of meeting and researches on the territory. Together with some academics and young people they will move from a place to another one  and will share thoughts and knowledges with local inhabitans, arriving  to the staging  only at the end, aiming to make the audience feel protagonist, as is the prerogative of popular culture.

Will participate:


-       Moha Ennaji, President and co-founder of the International Institute for Languages and Cultures (INLAC), President of South-North Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Migration Studies, Director of international journal “Languages and Linguistics”, Director of Amazigh Culture Festival of Fes

-       Mr Elhassan Hjjij, treasurer of the South North Center for Intercultural Dialogue, affiliated to The Spirit of Fes Foundation

-       Mohamed Rouicha, together with his musiacians, a singer of Moroccan Berber mother tongue, player of “lout”r, traditional Berber musical instrument, who sings both in Berber and Moroccan languages


-       Anna Coromina, QADAR Produccions Culturals, Terrassa,  Catalonia

-       Abel Font, representative of the Escala Council, Director of PortalBlau d’Arts y Mùsiques dela Mediterranìa, Catalonia

-      Jordì Molina, player of “tenora”, double-reeded woodwind  instrument,  probably  the best known of Catalonia. Since 2004 he co-operates with Marc Egea, a player of “hurdy-gurdy (“ghironda”  in Italian) , a stringed winged musical instrument  popular since the Medieval Age

-      Grallers So Nat, Catalonia, in cooperation with Fira Mediterrània de Manresa. One of the popular institutions that shape the world of traditional music in Catalonia is that of the grallers, which is defined by the characteristic and charismatic instrument that the gralla is. Such sharply conical rustic oboe produces a powerful sound by means of a double cane tongue named inxa. Its music is ever-present in many of Catalan celebrations and festivities in the recent centuries. The performance of grallers has been closely linked to the raising of human castles, towers and pillars, to such extent that it has become the obliged accompaniment not only of the exercise in itself (tolling of castells), but also of the customary practices that surround it: the announcement (matinades or albades), passacaglia, salutes (entrance/arrival at the square), procession and tollings and chimings of the festivity as well as withdrawal, when the human castles are over (such as the vermouth chimings). Such a successful exclusivity of the gralla at the moment of the raising of the human towers would derive from the fact that it already was of the moixiganga, one of dances which are the forerunners of the modern castells.


-       Ayman Khoury, Director of CULTNAT Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (partner of Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the Library of Alexandria)

-       Ensemble Fawanys, group of traditional musicians who stage the meeting among  mystic tales and traditional songs, used as an accompaniment, moving from official religious practices to popular religious ones, from religious songs and sufi poems to traditional and populars ones.


-       Juanio Corrales, Director, International Puppet& Mime Festival, Kilkis

-       Athanasios Lavasas, President of Argonautes Associatio, Kilkis

-      Theophilos Angelidis, Filippos Aslihanidis, Paraskevas Lavasas a very young trio who dedicated own’s activity  to  the rediscovery of the traditional music of the Black Sea, playing the lyre and the traditional percussion Dauli


-       Willy Ramsay and Margherita d’Amelio, Global Music Academy, Berlin. The aims to free the Italian folk music from stereotype  developed over many years, to make known its true meaning, highlighting the peculiar  aspects in  different regions of Italy, as well as the driving force that has its soul in the encounter with the musical cultures around the world, in Berlin where the Italian community is  in continuous growth. Also with the intention of put  together the multicultural German people and Italian artists, proposes significant  artists with whom it collaborates. The goal of the academy is to promote the teaching of music  broadly speaking, with new methods of research and to disseminate knowledge , in both teaching and practical aspects, about musical instruments not particularly well known to Western culture.

-       Margherita d’Amelio lives in Berlin from before the fall of the Berlin Wall. She works as a teacher of dance classes and  was artistic director of the Festival “TARANTAMANIA” in Berlin and  of several other italian events. She is part of the staff of the Global Muisk Akademie.

-       William Ramsey  is South African and studied music in Johannesburg and in Los Angeles, teached at the Federation Union of Balck Arts in Johannesburg, California and Germany. He lives in Berlin for many years and has often been the festival director of the Welt Musik. He is one of the founder of the Global Musik Akademie (private academy in progress) of which is also the artistic director.



-       The group Tenore Sisine of Benetutti was born in 2004 and takes its name from the mountain Sisine that, with its village Nuraghe,  is the oldest settlement of Benetutti. The group expresses  the archaic “a tenore”  singing , typical of the  inland island  with its unique blend of voices and melodies, handed down by the  traditions of Benetutti

-       Su Cunsonu Santu Juanne of Thiesi. As well as the extemporaneous poetry, named “a bolu”, also the singing commonly known “a tenore” – in Thiesi “Cunsonu” – that became accompanist of the poetry itself, is derived from ancient and obscure origins. The link between poetry and singing is very close since it marked every stage of life: from the birth just to the most significant events, from fun and feasts until death. The singing  is not only an artistic expression but also a way  of communication. Nowadays “ Su Cunsonu de Santu Juanne”proposes and carries  on an important work of reinterpretation , appreciation and approach to the enormous and often unknown poetic production of Thiesi.

-       Daniele Monachella, Mab Theater Company, which will be entrusted with the narrative of the land of Sardinia, through both ancient and recent stories, traditional “kunti”, but also contemporary tales.

-       The group Collettivo IN.CON.TRA.DA bring  together musicians and dancers, all creative and passionate artists who have the specific intent of giving rise to moments of contamination because of their peculiarities and places of origin and for a long time tell  the traditional music of southern Italy, through touring shows , tales and workshops.

For any information:

Rete Italiana di Cultura Popolare (Italian Network for Popular Culture – Via Piave 15 – 10122 Torino – tel. +39 (0)11 4338865 fax +39 (0)11 4368630 –

Press office:

Paola Garbarino – – mobile  +39 3494196036



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