Singing, Nostalgia, and Local Migration in a French-Italian Border Village

Cyril Isnart, Universidade de Évora

The Alpine border village of Tende, once a part of Italy, has been a French commune since 1947. Piemontese migration to the area began at the end of the nineteenth-century. The native Tendasques looked down on the poor, working-class migrants and in particular their Piedmontese-style singing and dancing, which was perceived as a cultural stigma. Today, these musical practices are instead highly valorized as a source for a collective Tende identity and a symbol of an authentic, idealized past. In his presentation, anthropologist Cyril Isnart discusses the ways musical expression and nostalgia are used to foster a micro-cultural identity.