Medieval and sacred melodies from Occitania
A Vocal and Initiatory Experience
“Terra Maïre” is a unique duo of ‘a cappella’ singers.
Two surprising voices, emanating from the same source – those of Marie-Ange and Beatrice, mother and daughter – with a common heredity and a common repertoire, rooted in the South of France, in the regions of Rouergue, the Basque Country and the Bearn…
In the intertwined voices of “Terra-Maïre”(“Mother Earth” in the Oc language of the South), a world of essential emotions wells up, one that borders on the sacred and on sorcery. These are medieval and sacred melodies in Occitan, language of troubadours and Cathars, which touch the heart of an ever-growing public.
This musical adventure began in 1996, when Beatrice and Marie-Ange started out together on a pilgrimage back to their roots.
As of then, mother and daughter – each with her own personality and her own artistic background – began to breathe life back into the secular songs of the land of their ancestors.
These songs – prayers, laments, psalms – “chevrotés” or “sung in a quavering voice” by men and women who have gone before them and most of whom have disappeared, make up a unique heritage, a timeless tradition in danger of extinction.
Those initial years of research constitute the thread of their first a capella recording, dedicated to the songs of the Rouergue region in Aveyron. (“De Maïre en Filha” 1996. L’autre distribution).
Here, with decided intensity and mastery, their two voices explore this traditional music. It is a music made not of notes, but of faces, of sharing, of sensations, where each song has its own colour, its own emotional and spiritual charge.
Little by little, Marie-Ange and Beatrice became imbued with these songs, and they started to transmit the initiation or the symbolic role of the melodies, a sacred and archaic emotion.
This led them to produce a second CD: “Terra Maïre : Chants archaïques et sacrés d’Occitanie” (L’Autre Distribution). It is a mature work, composed of mountain chants, “sorcery chants” or “circulars”, and prayer chants. In this new repertoire from the different areas of Occitanie, Beatrice and Marie-Ange’s voices bring out all the strength and mystery of the melodies. What started as a cultural and lyrical quest had now, for them, turned into an inner experience.
Terra Maïre on Stage – an Initiatory Journey
Marie-Ange and Beatrice have decided to definitively take on the beautiful stage name of Terra Maïre, Mother Earth.
Their performance has deepened and expanded; it now leads them to occupy a prime position in numerous festivals in France and abroad.
One must go to one of their concerts, if even only once, to feel the depth of emotion they invoke in the audience and in professionals, who often come away profoundly moved.
The deep, incantatory chants, the subtle dialogue between the voices, the sensitive participation of a talented cello player (Claire Menguy), mother and daughter’s twirling dances, Beatrice’ mystical dance… all contribute to giving the performance the intensity of an initiatory experience.
Today, Terra Maïre participates with growing success in numerous concerts and festivals, both in France and abroad, while enriching its field of research with incursions into neighbouring vocal traditions (those of the Basque Country, Catalonia…).