In Piedmont, both in the piedmontese
speaking and the patois speaking areas, it is common to use the words
“uncle” and “unt” as a respectful titles instead of “mister” or
“misses” which anyway exist.
I like to recall Dando Susanno or unt Susanno with her original “title” because it was a single thing with the name.
was a child. My mother started to sing in a local choir called Badia
Corale Val Chisone. This one was born together with me in 1967 and
aimed to collect local popular songs which were centuries old and were
risking to disappear submerged by television and the modern life stile.
Volunteers used to visit elderly people seeking for songs that younger
generations were not singing anymore.
Amongst these people there was Dando Susanno.
My mother, fascinated by these persons tried to visit them when possible. Despite the old story, I can still remember it.
Susanno lived in an house in the hamlet Villa. We left our home in the
neighboring village Ghigou and we walked half an hour down to Villa. It
was faster by car but more meaningful walking.
We reached the village. The house was an old looking two floor grange. The chimney was gently smoking.
rang the bell and she opened the door. We found a kind elderly women
who was willing to talk. Of course I cannot remember the details about
the discussion. But I do remember the feelings. The warm environment
and the politeness to Susanno helped us to feel home. She was not able
anymore to sing as she did just some years earlier with the other guys.
However she shown clearly how she loved those songs.
generation it is increasingly difficult to imagine her feelings. We are
used to music that lasts one year and the disappears because it is not
fashionable any more. Additionally, current songs cannot be sung by
people with normal voice and no instruments. Nowadays it is almost
impossible to find a group of people in a pub signing current songs nor
For Dando Susanno it was a different story. She got
radio and television only in the last years of her life. But just the
preceding generation did not know them at all. The world was much more
silent without any electronic device! No recorded music, no television,
no radio, no cinema…
The only entertainment was to stay with other
people. Meet together in the stable or in the bar, talk and sing. And
the songs could not be learnt form recorded means. The could only be
learnt form the voice of older people who in turns did the same one
generation before. People had much deeper roots and being part of a
community was much more meaningful than today.