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"Sounds form the memory: Maria Carta" from Maria del Mar Bonet
In Siligo (Sardinia), town where Maria Carta was born, there is a Foundation-Museum with her name that remember her life (1934-1994).

Maria CartaAt the beginning of this year, the foundation’s manager gave me a good new: they grant to me the Maria Carta’s Prize 2008. The main intention of these annual prizes is to recognize the job of Sardinian artists and also foreign artists who has contributed to the Sardinian culture diffusion.

They gave it to me the August 10th at the town, inside an all day long celebration that began in the town hall, where the mayor met all  the winners with a welcome meeting. Then they celebrate a mass in the church, where Sardinian artists sang songs, and before the lunch we went to the inauguration of an square in the middle of the town, with the portrait and the name of Maria. The grant ceremony was by night at the same square, that has the form of a little amphitheatre.

Siligo is placed near Sásari and Alguer. It has a thousand inhabitants, that still live from the wheat and the shepherding. In Siligo, apart of being the name of the town, it’s also a higher wheat variety. Between olive grove and vineyards, there is also an astronomical observatory, where scientists, students and tourists meet there.

It was a double joy for mi. In first place, because I knew Maria Carta, we had been singing together and we had a good friendship. In second place, because they gave me the prize for a version of the Sardinian song “Boghe, ´E Riu”, that I translated to “Des de Mallorca a L’Alguer” (From Mallorca to Alguer), a song that I have ever stopped singing and also Nacho Duato has included it to his ballet about my songs “Arenal”.

Maria del Mar BonetIn the end of the 70’s, someone gave to me a Maria Carta’s record. It was full of traditional Sardinian songs. At the time I was listening to it I wanted to know her island, her culture and her language. Her voice was spectacular, deep and soft at the same time. She had a big confidence, that you can only get if you have been breathing since long years ago all the treasure of being born in a little town in Sardinia like her town.

Maria, in the 50’s, won the miss Sardinia contest. She was very pretty, a very Mediterranean beauty. When we met in Paris in 1984 she was still taken. We were participating in a three weeks recital in Teatre de la Ville. The banderols were showing “Les tres Maries”. Maria Carta, Maria del Mar Bonet, Maria Farantouri.

The first day we met in the hotel, she was with her husband and her son, a four years old child, David. During that morning we had to go to a TV program to promote the festival. I hade ver seen her singing in live. She sang a capella, an “Ave Maria” in sardinian. Very nice…

That day we had time to talk to each other. We talked about the repertory we were going to sing in the theatre. Fieldwork songs, lullaby songs, poetry, etc. We confirmed that we had a lot of things in common, traditions, words, rhythms and the fact that our islands were so close and looked so far.

The two of us we leaved home very young, Maria Carta to Rome and me to Barcelona, and we knew the meaning of leaving home, leaving family far away, friends…, the new way gave to us new learnings and new inconceivable profesional opportunities. Togheter with a yearning feeling, and a sensation of membership and exclusion at the same time. As Isidor Marí says to his daughter: “You will always avoid me / I will always be yours”.

Maria CartaDuring many years we have been meeting each other, now I remember the last time. It was in Barcelona, in the “Plaça del Rei” square, guest by the City Hall. I thought I'd take the opportunity to show her the city and I gave to her my last album, where there was the sardinian song “Boghe, ´E Riu”, that Albert Garcia translated into catalan. She told me that she discovered and sang that song many years ago. When she started to sing in Sardinia, she was the first to give importance to the traditional music because people saw this music with indifference. Her effort and her success was definitely to make Sardinia in conscious of it’s sardinian music treasures.

She took part in the Italian Communist Party, and she was elected as communal counselor in Rome from 1976 to 1981. “Someone can be surprised –said Maria-, not for my candidature, but to know that I am communist... I really think people should be surprised if I wasn’t communist… for my origin, my way of life, my sardinian songs… all take to me to a unique identity. I’m a warrior woman that fight for our country, for a fair human future.”
She gave lessons of Antropology and Popular Traditions in Bolonia University. She wrote poetry, whita a book called Canto rituale. As well as her long carreer as singer (26 albums y recitals around the world), she was also actress, playing theatre and films (Jesús de Natzaret of F. Zeffirelli and El Padrino II, of F.F. Coppola).

Since de beginning of her carreer, she was an open window to her land, culture, and her language, of the great treditions of Sardinia. In 1989 she fell ill, she had a breast cancer and fought till 1994. She never stopped singing. That days, looked like Maria Carta invited to me to her town. From her brothers,her son and her nieces hands I have been walking along her town. They show me the museum and the foundation where they keep and show her films, musica albums, videos and books. Her dresses and instruments.

In Siligo, where people continue planting and harvest wheat, olive and wine. Where they keep Maria Carta’s voice forever.

Maria del Mar Bonet
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