Bridging differences with song

Oct 31, 14 Bridging differences with song

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We often hear the question: how do local people in the area feel about Damanhur? Are they friendly? It’s an important question for any community group, how to relate to the local townspeople and integrate with the culture and social life.

Our relationship with our neighbors is complex and has evolved over the years. For some people who were born and raised in the Valuchiusella area, they consider people to be ‘foreigners’ even if they have moved here from 40 kilometers away! So it’s taken time to create solid connections and bonds of trust and acceptance. These days, we are finding ever more points of connection. For example, locals come to drink coffee and buy periodicals from the newsstand at Damanhur Crea, where some of them are connected through family members who used to work at the Olivetti factory which was then repurposed to create Damanhur’s social, arts, health and commercial center.

choir2Well, art and music are some of the most effective means of bringing people together, beyond apparent differences. On October 18th, the Damanhur choir sang in concert with the local Vidracco choir for the first time ever. It was a historic and touching evening, with the two choirs on stage together, packed in tight as each has 30 members.

The Damanhur choir, directed by Cigno Banano sang a few songs in Sacred Language from the Poem of Anansal and the Song of the ‘Ara’, and several songs connected to the traditions of indigenous peoples of the world. The Vidracco choir, directed by the former mayor Giorgio Collerio, sang songs connected to the classical tradition and some popular ones as well.

The grand finale was “Siyahamba,” an African hymn to freedom that was sung by both choirs together and directed by both directors. They discovered during rehearsals that both groups knew that song! We left the choir performance with a warm feeling of having built a stronger connection and solidified a sense of universal humanity with our neighbors.



How are some ways that art has bridged diversity and separation for you?





  1. Hey, that’s pretty cool that you got togheter with the locals. I lived on a permaculture farm in Costa Rica and we would do some theater shows and stuff for our kids and the ones from the local villages. Art really brings us together in one human family! peace

    • Hi Greg! Thanks so much for sharing. What a heart-warming experience that must have been! Our idea of creating sustainable community includes honoring local and indigenous cultures worldwide. Art is a fantastic vehicle for going beyond language barriers and creating connection. All the best for your journey. Con te!