They sang. . .always . . .together. . .

There is a Trentino axiom…Due Trentini…un coro..Two Trentini…one choir. There was never the hint of a Neopolitan solo…O solo mio. Trentino song had only one sole significance, one sole image, one sole sound, the choir. To understand this ancient tradition, we turn to their topography and to their customs. The mountains and valleys, streams and rivers, even woods and hills separated the Trentini into autonomous communities that developed their individual styles and even language. This mountain effect can be seen in the most revered of customs, the Filo, the name and concept of this publication. This was the traditional evening gathering of the village people in the winter in their stables with warmth of their cattle. There the women did their spinning and tasks, boys and girls flirted and where people took turns in recounting a mixture of stories and songs that engaged the feelings of the simple folk concerning love, work, war and even their emigrants. At the conclusion of the Filo, the corona was said and religious melodies were sung. At Christmas, song singers or carolers went house to house to sing religious melodies sometimes mixed with ancient melodies of even pagan origin. In the springtime, there was the Trato Marzo, an occasion to celebrate the new “loves” that were relics and remnants of ancient fertility rites and customs.

The tradition of choral song could be heard at weddings, gatherings, moving from one village to another, from on valley to another since the songs and their themes summed up the richness of their traditions captured in the images, words, lyrics, and melodies. The Tyrolean soldiers with their nostalgia for their beloved valleys and mountains sang these songs with gusto in their camps and battlements as they battled as the Tiroler Kaiserjaegger in Russia or fought the Italians in World War I. At the Osteria, the local pub or bar, men gathered to play morra (a game in which they “threw” their fingers accompanied by shouts of the number); they played carte briscola e tresette…and they sang! Oh did they sing…in harmony, loudly with a traditional gusto. They sang at their sagre, their individual village celebrations of their patron saints. They sang in the mountains, fields and pastures as shepherds and contadini, farmers. they sang in their churches and whenever they gathered as community.

To experience these traditions, I will conjure up the images and memories of our immigrant relatives and friends in the USA who reveled in signing these songs whenever they gathered…at their Tyrolean Picnics, the Bal Tiroles (the Tyrolean Ball)…and in their homes. Here is both a memory and an image. In the New York metropolitan area, each Sunday from spring to fall, as many as 20 families from the Bleggio, Lomaso, Banale, Val Rendena, Val di Non, and Arco would attend their Sunday services and then from all parts of the city, they would travel on subways and arrive at a distant and remote park like a safari with boxes of polenta, spezzatino, krauti, wine…Arriving their would be a brief greeting of each other and subito they would attend to their families to eat…and then…and then the villages would be reconstituted with animated conversation, ciacere, and usually and typically, Tyrolean song would break out …loud and animated…in harmony while the young children watched an listened while nearby people watched fascinate by what they saw and heard.

In subsequent editions, there will be futher delineations of the tradition and a review of individual songs. In the meantime, I would urge the reader to go to this YouTube link (embedded below) to hear a rendition of Toni Nente a Crozar (Tony, let’s go climbing) set to images of the mountains of the Brentei of the Brenta Dolomites.

Our Music…the Choir

The Tyrol…the Trentino had neither opera houses nor chamber music. Nonetheless, it had its own genre of musical expression that almost characterizes their persona, history and folklore…the choir. The expression, Do Trentini, un coro…Two Trentini, one choir sums it up neatly. Choral singing with its diverse folk songs and tales are truly part of the cultural history and treasures of the region. The songs are deeply rooted in each valley for so many of its occasions and are the very sound of the ancient filò while diverse due to the mountain effect that created the individual differences in its valleys. The songs were literally an archive of their love, struggles and life in general. The continuity and survival of their choral songs were handed down…becoming their heritage and deeply-rooted form of cultural expression.

This cultural heirloom was enhanced at the turn of the century by the advent of traveling and singing song writers, troubadours if you will, who also served as gazetteers. In the absence of media, these troubadours/gazetteers moved from village to village, to country fairs, sagre (village feast days) bringing news of current events, songs that combined fantasy and stories with snippets from the ancient ballads. These song/tales were reproduced on sheets and circulated among our Trentini soldiers who served in the Austrian Army .These soldiers were uprooted from their villages and culture and were thrust into contact with other cultures, places and traditions. They exported and interchanged their traditional songs which they had heard in their villages and their nightly filòs. There developed the so-called “soldier songs” that derived less from their war experience than from their village traditions of the songs that focused on work, love or life.

It was after the war, that all the ancient popular traditions and the new developments came together to launch the Trentino choral folk song. It was May 25, 1926 at the Castel di Buon Consiglio in Trento, ten singers led by the Pedrotti brothers introduced the sound…with their historic choral group—the SAT…Società degli Alpinisti Trentini. While the songs were none other than the age-songs that one heard at the filò, campfires and the mountain rifugi, there was indeed a development. The harmonization by four voices: tenors, counter-tenors,baritones and bases was the old forms renewed and reflected the deepest cultural roots of the Trentini people . This new yet old style resonated with the people who saw and heard in this the essence of who they were and warmly embraced it. It was almost like Glen Miller discovering “the sound” for Moonlight Serenade, the exemplar of the great bands of the 40`s.

The SAT launched a movement; choirs sprung up everywhere in the Trentino and elsewhere. The members of these groups are mere amateurs gathered by their love of singing, good fellowship and their traditions. There is a federation of over 100 choirs in the Trentino. Some of these choirs have become famous and celebrated performing throughout the world while others perform at village festivities, in refugi or simply as friends. The Filò expects to continue this narrative of the individual choirs and groups in future editions.


Here is a song that is directly tied with the emigration experience of the people of the Valsugana. The poor economic conditions in the Trentino at the turn of the century constrained many “Valsuganotti” to migrate to the Voralberg region in Austria itself. The younger migrants were further con-strained to return to the Trentino to fulfill their military obligations. There are the themes of nostalgia, concerns for the family and possibly lost romantic love. The song is Valsugana and it is sung by the Coro S.A.T.

Quando andremo fora, fora per la Valsugana
e a ritrovar la mamma…a veder come la staLa mamma la sta bene; il papa l`e ammalato,
Il mio bel parti`soldato-chissa quando tonera` Tuti I me dis che lu` `l se zerca za n`altra
morosa; l`è na storia dolorosa –che mi
credere non so.” Ma no la credo, ma se `fussa propi propri vera…
biondo o moro ancor stassera–`n altro
merlo troverò
When we go away, away to the Valsugana
To visit our mother again – to see how she is.
Mother is well; father is sick.
My dear departed soldier –who knows when he will return.
Everyone tells me that he searches for another beloved..
That’s a sad tale – which I don’t know whether to believe.
I don’t believe it, but if it were really, really true
Fair or dark already this evening – another I will find.

Our Music . . . Girolemin

Here is a song that not only presents you with the theme of the moleta, but includes his dialect and the very sound effects of the mola…e sin e son la mola e sin e son e san. The grinding wheel spins making the sound of sin e son la mola.

It is is neither history nor romance except that it declares the delight of being a moleta…l`e bon mister en man is a good job to have…and I am to be respected..while my father is amoleta and so am I…Girolemin is truly a “Rendener” expression…It refers to a person who embodies the chief characteristic of the moleta’s history…he is wanderer. It alludes to the generational succession of the moleta work in the families. Some words simply cannot be translated into English…not even into Italian. So there is the word for Moleta and is diminutive: Moletin…or little or small Moleta.

The music for the song can be found on our website:

Girolemin! Girolemin!
Me pari ‘l fa ‘l molèta me fö ‘l moletin
me pari ‘l tira i soldi e me gnanca ‘n cinquin,
e sin e son la mola e sin e son e san
l’è n’arte che consola l’è ‘n bon mister en man.Girolemin! Girolemin!
Partì son da montan co’ la me mola ‘n man
giro la mola ‘n prèssa per guadagnarme ‘l pan’.
e sin e son la mola e sin e son e san
l’è n’arte che consola l’è ‘n bon mister en man.Girolemin! Girolemin!
Tre soldi de la pipa, tre soldi del tabach
anca se son macaco me sü da rispatare sin
e son la mola e sin e son e sanl’è n’arte che consola
l’è ‘n bon mister en man.Girolemin! Girolemin!
M’ molo par gli omeni e par le done ancor,
se po’ l’è giovanete ancora pü de cor.
e sin e son la mola e sin e son e sanl’è n’arte che consola
l’è ‘n bon mister en man.Girolemin! Girolemin!
Mi pari ‘l bif el francol me ‘n bil en francolin.
Me pari ‘l fa ‘l molèta me fö il moletin.
quant sarà mort me pari sarò ‘l moleta me.
e sin e son la mola e sin e son e sanl’è n’arte che consola
l’è ‘n bon mister en man.Girolemin! Girolemin!
Wanderer! Wanderer!
My father is a moleta and I’m a little one too
My father earns some money but I hardly 5 cents,
And sin and son the wheel and sin and son and san.
It’s a art that makes me glad and good job to have.Wanderer! Wanderer!
I left the mountains with my wheel in hand
I turn the wheel fast to earn my bread.
And sin and son the wheel and sin and son and san.
It’s a art that makes me glad and good job to haveWanderer! Wanderer!
Three cents for a pipe, three cents for the tobacco
Even if I am a jerk I am to be respected
And sin and son the wheel and sin and son and san.
It’s a art that makes me glad and good job to have.Wanderer! Wanderer!
I sharpen for the men e for the women as well.
If for the young ladies, I sharpen with more heart
And sin and son the wheel and sin and son and san.
It’s a art that makes me glad and good job to have.Wanderer! Wanderer!
My father drinks a carafe of wine and I a glass,
My father is a moleta and I am a moletin
When my father passes away, I’ll be the moleta.
And sin and son the wheel and sin and son and san.
It’s a art that makes me glad and good job to have.Wanderer! Wanderer!

Our Music: La Vaca Nonesa

The train from Trento to its final destination: Male` in the next valley, the Val di Sole was a legend, folk-lore, a mascot…and besides that a real train, un tram. While ridiculed affectionately, it was indeed the Vaca Nonesa that transported the thousands of Nonesi down to Trento where they connected with trains that brought them to the seaports…and finally to our shores. It was kind of …slow…and its horn sounded like a cow…na vaca. The train often came off the tracks, boulders fell on to the rails, so that people had to walk. I remember when I was going to Vermiglio in the Val di Sol in 1948 to visit my Zia Suora, my dad told me…Louis…salta giu…rubaghe en pom e salta su”…Lou…jump off…pick an apple and jump right back on.Imagine…I acquired these lyrics from Mauro Dalpiaz of the Coro dei Anziani of the Village of Tassullo. Go totheir website and you will find this funny song sung by his choir as well as many other songs of theirs and the Trentino repertoire.

Mi son la Vaca Nonesa
o`l tram de Val de Non
l`e ani che gironzolo
e tiro `l me vagon.I maldicenti stupidi
La vaca I me ga dit.
Per questa voze angelica
De toro for a drit.Io sono il tram-“Trento-Malè”
Ma il vero nom
L`e “Vaca Nonesa”
De Val de NonEn di `l diseva `n paroco
Che I gaga `l pentiment;
Che monta su la Nonesa
E anca `l testament.Difati a gran pirecole
Cascavavo guasi giù,
En di `n tel Nos! Miracolo!
Me sen fermada ampò.Fastidi po, no tortene
Se fosti caminà.
Desun da mi de polvere
Sarasti rimpinzà.E compra pure l`Adige
E anche`l corierin
Te gai ben temp de lezerli
En fin en Camp Trentin.Ades I me fa corere
A scartament ridot.
Atento che a pirecole
Narem po pu de trot.Mi son la “Vaca Nonesa”
E vago `n Val de Sol,
Se vegno adasi scuseme
Se fa quel se pol.
I am the Nones cow
Or the train of the Val di Non
It’s been years that I travel
And I pull my cars.The stupid neersayers
Have called me a cow.
For this angelic sound (the train’s
horn), I simply go forwardI am the train: Trento Malè
But my true name
Is “Nones cow”
Of the Val di Non.One day the pastor had said
Those who board the Nonesa
Should repent …
And write their will.In fact, at the great turns
I would also hurl down
One day into the river Nos.
Miracle! I stopped just in timeDon`t get annoyed
If you have to walk
Without me, you would be
covered with dust.And buy the Adige and also a
comic book. You will have time to
read them getting to the outskirts
of Trento.Now they make me run faster at a
lower price. Beware with all the
turns, we will have to go faster.I am the “Vaca Nonesa” and go
to the Val di Sole. If I go slowly, I
do what I can

Inno…Hymn to the Val di Fiemme

This song is truly a hymn of praise and celebration, a love song of the people for their beautiful and special valley and their historic way of community life.

The song is sung by the Coro Val Lubie led by its direc-tor Franco Boschetti who has provided us with the dialectal lyrics and its Italian translation. You can hear this song on our website: The reper-toire of the Coro Lubie can be found at their website:

Te salude Val de Fiem
coi tò monti nevegà
di ci to boschi petenà
di che i ‘cornisa’ sta gran val…Erti rivi e larghi prai
baite e malghe là ‘ntrà i fiori
e l’Aves coi zo colori
‘lzaota el sbrisa verso Trent…l’è tut ‘ncat la rossa val, le chesta storia nasuda qua
l’è la MAGNIFICA COMUNITÀViva la val de Fiem
col nigo. . .col seren
Con en testa Cavales
de paes la val la e piena
e ‘ntrà Trodena e Moena
sora i copi en campanil.
Ghè Pancià, Zuan, Castel,
e Dajan, Caran Varena
e po’ Tiezer
e Molina
e la piana de Pardacc.

Trenta cime i Lagòrai
trenta ponte sora i peci
e stremì ‘ntrà i sassi vèci
cuca ‘l gruppo Latemar…
e le Pale de San Martin
‘na murada ‘nfiamegàda
che la sèra la valada

I salute you Val di Fiemme
With your snow capped mountains,
With your trimmed woods
Which framed this great valley;Brooks with flowing banks, large pastures,
Mountain refuges and shepherd’s lodges,
Sprinkled there amidst flowers,
With the River Avisio and its colors,
Which leap among the rocks and sliver down to TrentoOur whole valley is a song,
Rich with history to remember
And this story, born here is called…
The Grand Community of Fiemme.Long live, long live the Valley of Fiemme
With its clouds and its sunshine!
The Valley is filled with towns,
Cavalese is foremost
And above the rooftops between Trodena and Moena
There are bell towers. There is Panchià, Ziano, Castello, Daiano, Carano, Varena and then Tesero and Molina and the plain of Predazzo.

Thirty are the peaks of the mountain chain Lagorai,
30 sharp peaks that dominate the forests of abete
And as if frightened among the ancient rocks,
There arises the Latemar Group (Dolomites)
And the Peaks of San Martino (Dolomites)
A fiery wall that encloses the valley
From the area where the sun is born.