The Cultural Association Artüsìn was founded in 2000 in the towns of Roccaforte Mondovì and Villanova Mondovì to revive and promote the Occitan origins off the Ellero valley. The logo of the association is the rhododendron, which is known as “Artüsìn” in Kié, the local language of the valley. Every spring as the valley comes to life after the long winter, nature puts on a colourful display of flowers of the rhododendron. At the centre of the logo is the Cross of Toulouse, the symbol of the Occitan area and traditions.
The association aims to reawaken in the community a sense of belonging to the great Occitan culture. Our purpose is to encourage the rediscovery of its special traditions so as to safeguard and promote these as assets of the community.
Therefore, our goal is to foster all activities that conserve knowledge and folklore which may help to pass on the history of the past.
During these years, the association has been active in furthering this aim by publishing CDs and videos, books and promotional literature. We have also organised exhibitions, the restoration of votive pillars, and walking tours, as well as courses of Occitan folk dancing, Kié language, traditional cookery, wine tasting events for local wines and music and singing courses with traditional instruments (semidiatonic accordion, hurdy-gurdy, hornpipe and galoubet) not to mention the herbal medicine courses.
One of the most active groups within the association is the Folk Dance Group whose costumes are reproductions of authentic traditional outfits copied from antique books, photos taken in the late 1800s and research carried out at the Ethnographic museum in Cuneo. Originally, these clothes were worn on special occasions in the Ellero valley in that period.
The Folk Dance Group has performer not only in Italy (Piedmont, Liguria, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Lazio, Trentino and Marche), but also in countries around Europe such as German, France, the Czech Republic and Spain. The fame of our localities, traditions and history has spread thanks to these events and we feel that our values are worthy of being preserved and passed on to future generations. The group has also performed at the Mountain fair in Turin, the Terra Madre convention in Turin and many other important events at a provincial and regional level. One of the highlights for the group was performing at the International meeting of Folklore groups held in France in 2003.
In 2007, the association, under the patronage of the Province of Cuneo and the Piedmont region, organised the 1st Festival of traditional Music and Dance “ Tutti in Folk” in Mondovi. Many folk groups from other regions in Italy and France took part in addition to groups from Germany and Peru. The Festival took place again in 2008 and in 2015 and was a great success. The Folk Dance Group is committed to voluntary work and provides free shows in retirement homes and communities. Each year the association organises a charity dance evening to raise money which is donated to local organisations or communities in need.
The history of our communities is made up of religious belief, folk traditions, mass emigration, simple food and people who had and still have ideals and ethics which deserve respect. This is what we have recounted in all these years in order to leave a record of our history for future generations.