It was my last night on the island of Corsica, and I wandered into a small bar in Ajaccio filled with locals rubbing shoulders in happy camaraderie. Spontaneously, four young men started singing in Corsu, (the Corsican indigenous language similar to Italian) their voices blending in the mystical polyphonic music that is the soul of Corsica. They stood in a small semi-circle, each one with a hand cupped over an ear, the better to hear his part in the melody. It was a moving song that swelled and receded, blending the depths of Corsica’s vital force with whispers from eternity. Their music penetrated into my being, touching some remote memory of collective antiquity, igniting chords of universal harmony that made me weep. When the music ended someone in the back of the bar bought them all a round of drinks and the good-natured fellowship continued as before.
In bed back at the hotel when I closed my eyes and listened I still heard the ancient melody from the bar. Its power was somewhat diminished, but I remembered the places I had traveled under its spell and knew that I was changed by its magic.