In an article published on Immersive, a new website that enables easily produced and elegant storytelling, Paris-based writer and musician Ilan Moss delivers a fascinating account of Italy’s “Trallaleri” singers. This ancient form of European polyphonic singing can still be found in the quiet streets of the port city of Genoa.

Trallalero is usually performed by men, but modern groups can include women. The name comes from the different syllables, such as tra-la-la, sung by the performers. A group can include 9 to 20 singers who each play a different role: tenor, baritone, bass, alto, contralto or even a voice that sounds like a guitar.

This polyphonic music was studied and recorded in the 1950s by the American ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, who said he was blown away by the unique sound he encountered in Genoa.

Read Ilan Moss’s story for more details and songs.

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Geopolitics

The New Iraq, Signs Of Hope Amid The Rubble And Reconstruction

How do you rebuild a country decimated by four decades of war and embargoes? Following the withdrawal of the U.S. military, Iraq faces many challenges, from oil revenues captured by the militias and endemic corruption to religious segregation. However, there are glimmers of hope for the country's future.

Street scene in Erbil, Iraq

Théophile Simon

BAGHDAD — With a vast office located at the top of a tower fiercely guarded by the army and a bell to call the staff, Khalid Hamza Abbas is obviously a powerful character, decked out in an impeccable suit. Abbas runs the Basra Oil Company (BOC), the national company responsible for the exploitation of the oil fields in the province of Basra, in the very south of Iraq, from which four million barrels of crude oil flow daily. It’s the equivalent of 4% of world demand and 65% of central government revenue concentrated in a region of only four million inhabitants.

As he explains the profit-sharing scheme between the world’s major oil companies and his public enterprise, the 50-year-old with thin glasses is suddenly stopped dead in his tracks by the ringing of his telephone. He tries a joke to mask his suddenly worried face: "I'm going to ask you to leave my office for a few moments. If I haven't called you back in 10 minutes, call the police."

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