Tag Archives: cow bells

mamuthones…

A pagan ritual from Sardinia (apparently it goes back some 2000 years), don’t ask me what they are doing in the über bourgeois/populist arcade of Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II in Milan (maybe something to do with the approaching Carnivale), but there they were; hairy mammoth coated shepherds with their backs laden with giant bells that normally go round the necks of mountain animals. The sound they made, jumping in rhythm was powerful…beautiful, beautiful rhythms…and with more than a touch of Lord of the Rings to it. Please note that there are no accompanying musicians – the sound comes solely from the impact of the jumps and the bells on their backs.
See them in action in the film below:

For more on the mamuthones click here

la transumanza…

transumanza from the Latin words “tras” (through/across) and “humus” (land or soil)

Biella is known for it’s industrial past but it is also situated in the heart of mountains, plains, pastures and farmland…

So getting up very early in the morning does have its benefits. This morning around 7.30 as i was heading up the road away from the Fondazione on my way up to town to have my breakfast, when i heard the distant clanging of many cow bells. It was the transumanza – my favourite way to mark the seasons over here…

…basically this is the twice yearly ritual of moving animals, here mainly cattle, down from the mountain and into the plains for the duration of the extremely harsh winters they have up in the hills around here. They pass right by Cittadellarte on via Serralunga, and have a rest in the neighbouring car park before carrying on towards the savanna of Baraggia…and then in the spring time they go up again…

The noise made by the bells around their necks as they wander past on the road makes a sound that implies there are a thousand head of cattle on the way, this small herd could be heard from a distance for a long time before we could see them…

cows in the cow car park