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MUSIC LIFE

Published December 19, 2013 by Tony

– ENZO AVITABILE –

- ENZO AVITABILE -


Celebrated to the last Art Show in Venice, “Music Life” is a documentary dedicated to Enzo Avitabile and directed by acclaimed director Jonathan Demme.
The video’s exciting images that highlight the high musical level of the musician, mixed with scenes of daily life, have been projected last week in almost all Italian movies. Through the poetic music of the Neapolitan artist, the director has created a story that follows his desire to save the world, giving to the documentary a clear political significance. In perfect communion with the sensitivity of Demme, the Avitabile’s songs, always open to contamination and differences, exhibit solidarity for the oppressed and an empathy for the margins. A video to watch.


For the uninitiated, Enzo Avitabile is a famous saxophonist, musician and songwriter from Naples, perhaps best known in Italy for the song “Soul Express”, but who has had a background in all respect. He grows in the neighborhood of Naples called Marianella, studying the saxophone, and starting to perform at 7-8 years in Americans locals of Naples, and later graduating in flute at the Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella. In 1979 his participation in the second Pino Daniele’s self-titled album, and in 1980 he gave his contribution to another important Pino Daniele’s album called “Nero a metà”. In 1982 he released his first album, “Avitabile” , which already showed his black music style, and in which one song was dedicated to the deceased friend Mario Musella (“The Showmen”‘s singer). In 1983 he released his second album, with the song “Gospel mio” sung by Richie Havens. 1986 is the year of release of one of his best-known works, “SOS Brothers”, which contains the historic “Soul Express” and “Black Out”, whose remix version won a prize in Ibiza for the best dance song of the year. In 1988 he published “Alto Voltaggio”, in which he reiterate the presence of his love for funk, with a collaboration with Afrika Bambaataa, that will bring to the creation of the album “Street Happiness”. In devising his music the singer-songwriter has never been affected by commercial logic. In 1994 he released “Easy” where he puts in music the poem ” ‘A livella” by Toto, and where in “Leave me or love me” he sang with Randy Crawford. On that time, the record company EMI saddled him with the label of “artist unmanageable”, because he refused to participate in the Festival of Sanremo. In the same year he participated to the Pistoia Blues Festival. Since 2004, his records’ covers have been signed by the anthropologist Marino Niola. In 2009 he won the Italian Targa Tenco for the best record in Neapolitan dialect, with the album “Napoletana” released the same year.

First public exhibition

Last year, in the television show “Sottovoce ” by Gigi Marzullo , Enzo said:

<< As a boy, my dreams were simple: learn to play the saxophone and meet the artists who I listened thanks to the jukebox . >>
<< The word is already music, and I like to get there with the music where the words do not come, and vice versa. There is a mantra in our Neapolitan dialect. I hope to make music but to also say something, conveying my thoughts through the music.>>
<< Naples and Marianella are the ‘Mother home’ to me, when I am back in Naples there are certain conditions, fundamental states of consciousness, which in my opinion are to be linked to certain things, because for me the (cultural) contamination is very important, but I think it is fundamental the recovery of our cultural identity. >>
<<Mine can be defined as ‘World Music’, but I wanted to borrow from the greats artists of the past the ability to move inside any form, to go over the same shape, to create new forms, which do not really have a form… this seems to be a pun, but it is a return to pure music, one that goes beyond labels.>>
<< I can define myself a loner among people, like all of us. ‘Chi nun cunosce ‘o scuro nu po’ capì a luce, nisciuno s’ape ‘a nato, ognuno è sulo’. If loneliness is introspection and constant contact with our interior, it becomes something that you live even in the tumult of everyday life, but if it becomes marginalization, it becomes a different thing. No longer a choice but a condition. >>
<< I am a street intellectual and I like if the street generates intellectuals. I am a man of everyday, but a thinking being. >>
<< The music joins and saved the world. So many times, like John Lennon, Jim Hendrix, James Brown, Bob Marley, Giovanni Pergolesi or Stravinsky have did. >>

 together Pino Daniele

The last Avitabile’s record, released last year, is titled “Black Tarantella”, which like the previous one has won the Targa Tenco, while the song “Gerardo nuvola ‘e Povere”, won the Amnesty Award Italy. As he says, is a particular recording that gets nothing to do with the words Black or Tarantella, but wants to be a tribute to the allegorical synonymy of recent years. Tarantella is the symbol of the Made in Italy, our original sound of the south, but we Neapolitans use this term to also mean something different, as we sometimes use the term black (meaning a lack of a way out) to indicate a hope, a chance. With this record I wanted to simply explore the double meaning of words and music.

together James Brown

together Tina Turner

togehter Africa Bambaataa

(Meeting with Africa Bambaataa in the Bronx, then they came to Marianella and together they made a video for the district Scampia)

2013 SANREMO MUSIC FESTIVAL

Published February 13, 2013 by Tony

63th SANREMO SONG FESTIVAL

Fabio Fazio and Luciana Litizzetto

Also this year the “Sanremo Song Festival” got the start yesterday night, the famous Italian song festival which sees the competition among some acclaimed Italian singers (Big) together some new talents (Rookie).
Sanremo, the city of flowers, in the past years gave at the festival a lot of bouquets for the scene design, but this tradition has slowly weakened and now the stage is completely devoid of flowers.
Since the artistic direction of the program is entrusted to the conductor, each year there are changes and additions to the anchorman himself.
This year, the presenters of the festival are a couple who for years is presenting a famous cultural program on one of the national network, called “Che tempo fà“, Fabio Fazio and Luciana Litizzetto, who also is a comedian and a writer.
Many novelties this year, five instalments, and during the first one the Big have proposed two new songs and at the same time the verdict, resulting by spectators and a jury of quality’s votes, chose which of the two songs had to continue the race.Bar rafaeli
Seven singers in the first night and seven in the second, and also this year there are international guests such as the supermodel Bar Rafaeli, Asaf Avidan, Carla Bruni, Antony & The Johnsons, Andrea Bocelli and the dancer Lutz Foster, aside from some Italian celebrity.
In the third live-kermesse,  the 8 rookies will perform with an direct vote by public and jury that must choose songs that pass the turn.
The fourth night is dedicated to the history of the Festival of Sanremo during which each of the Big will sing an old song (out of race) that has made the history of these 63 years of the festival, and during the show also will be decreed, by 50% televoting and 50 % of the jury’s votes, the winner among the debuting singers still in the race.
The 14 Big will perform again Saturday night (February 16), the last show day, when the winning song for this 2013 edition of the Sanremo Festival will be chosen.

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(Read here for the next post about SanRemo)

INSTRUMENTS OF ITALIAN ORIGIN

Published September 19, 2012 by Tony

ITALIAN MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS


The history of the GUITAR has its origins in Italy, where, following the schools of classical lutes, brought to the birth of different regional schools, which continue today with different styles and techniques.
The main schools were born in northern Italy, due to the influence of Stradivari violin making. Since Renaissance, great is the tradition of violin making in Tuscany, when the Medicis family began collecting instruments. The trade of stringed instruments Italians in France was facilitated by the figure of Catherine de Medicis and ended up passing in Spain where this instrument is widely used in the tradition of flamenco. The history of the electric guitar instead begins in America with jazz and blues.
A typical Italian guitar is the guitar swing, typical of the tradition of Calabria, Puglia, Basilicata, Abruzzo, Molise and of Campania, which we find in the center and south of Italy since the fourteenth century, with ever-evolving forms compared to the presumed model of the historic baroque guitar. Today is also known as Italian guitar as opposed to the “classical” guitar called as Spanish or French guitar. A distinguishing feature of this old guitar is its shaped like an elongated eight.

The oldest sources regarding VIOLIN enable us to trace its birth at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Most of the conventional assumptions place the appearance of the first real violins, with the same shape and tuning still used today, in the north of Italy, in Cremona and Venice. The new family of these string instruments appeared almost simultaneously in different parts of Europe: Northern Italy, France, Germany, Netherlands, especially in Brussels, Antwerp and Prague. This suggests that the violin was born as a musical instrument for buskers, during the first decades of the sixteenth century, by a fusion of different  instruments. In fact, its use becomes crucial to the gypsy folk music. In the sixteenth century it was mainly used in dance music, though in Italy very soon it took on noblest roles in the courts or in the churches. In 1530 in Italy we have the mention of a violin used during a Mass and about ten years later we find the violins in Venice, in various “schools of music” and during masses and processions.
Made famous by the Italian names of Stradivari, Amati and Guarneri related to this important instrument which becomes essential for the birth of Opera in Italy, at the same time with music opera and central Europe symphonic art.

For many years the ACCORDION was an instrument in the popular and folk-dance Italian tradition. It was born in Italy, from schools craft Castelfidardo, Ancona, Pavia. Its use is massive in the folk and popular tradition, with the Neapolitan tarantella, and the pinch (pizzica) in Puglia, who recently had a big comeback. He was born originally as an instrument for sacred music to accompany the singing during the processions, in contrast to its closest relative, the “concertina”, considered a more popular instrument.
The technical developments and construction of this instrument have increasingly improved its tone and its pitch, encouraging its presence in most cultured areas, so that the first patent for an “accordion”, a term used to indicate this instrument, was filed in 1829 in Vienna . In the Americas, particularly in Argentina, it became the “Bandoneon”,  a fundamental instrument of tango orchestras. The German immigrants took the instrument with them in Argentina, in the early twentieth century, and here quickly met great success, and was soon placed in the context of local music.

The origin of the classic MANDOLIN (or Neapolitan mandolin) dates back to the mid-seventeenth century, it is believed that from that time begins the production of mandolins by the famous “Casa Vinaccia”. Their mandolins were mostly rich in inlays of ivory and threadings along the handle, carried out with great care. It is due to the company Vinaccia the use of steel cords in lieu of the brass used at the beginning, that lacked volume and in timbre.

The term HARPSICHORD refers for a family of stringed musical instruments of Italian origin that have a keyboard, among which the most famous is the large instrument nowadays called harpsichord, but also the smaller ones like the spinet. These instruments generate sound by plucking a string rather than striking it, as in a piano or clavichord. The term itself comes from the Latin clavis, and can be considered the successor of cymbalum, an ancient instrument that was played by plucking the strings.

The ORGAN is an instrument of ancient origin. The first organ, the Hydraulis, was built in the third century BC by Ctesibus of Alexandria, designed by Archimedes. Two early descriptions of the organ can be found in Pneumatika of Heron of Alexandria (120 BC) and in “De Architectura” by Vitruvius (first century). Used in the Roman civilization and in the Byzantine area to celebrate public holidays, it will have a change of use due to a random event: in 757 when the emperor of Byzantium, Constantine Copronimo, made a gift of an organ to Pepin the Short, and he placed it in the church of St. Cornelius in Compiègne, France. Since then began the rapid spread of this instrument in areas of Christian worship and liturgy.

The REED-PIPE (different from the traditional bagpipe) is widespread in Calabria, although present in all European popular music and meet during the festivals, pilgrimages, folk manifestations and in many religious and profane occasions. It’s an instrument that is so dear as it brings us back to the celebratory atmosphere of Christmas and its beautiful melodies. The sweet reed-pipe’s sound is given from the particular reeds and from a sack (goatskin) that gives back an air supply. In Calabria the reed-pipes have four or five rods, the sack is made with sheep or goat’s skin whose size is proportional to the reels.

The SHAWM or pipe (called ciaramella or pipita in Italian) is a popular air instrument of the family of oboes with double reed. The Italian word “ciaramella” derives from the late Latin diminutive calamellus, female calamilla or calamella, derived in turn from the Latin word calamus, meaning “reed.” This popular musical instrument has spread throughout the central and southern Italy mostly.

The CASTAGNETTE is an idiophone musical instrument mainly used in Mediterranean folk music, often confused with the similar castanets. Each castagnette consists of two parts, in shaped wood, linked by a piece of cord, which allows to output the sound opening and closing them with the hands. They are used in pairs and each instrument gives a sound slightly different.

The standard OCARINA used in Western music was invented in Budrio, Italy, during the mid-nineteenth century by Giuseppe Donati. Its shape recalls the elongated ovoid profile of a goose (oca in Italian) without the head: the name is derived from ucarina, diminutive of oca in Bolognese dialect. According to available sources, it seems that Donati has invented the ocarina in 1853, at the age of 17 years. But Donati not just build ocarina of one size: the new and winning idea was to build a family of large and small ocarinas tuned to each other.

ITALIAN TOP TEN

Published February 2, 2012 by Tony

HITPARADE

Italian Album Top Ten  in genuary 2012.

1
Litfiba
Title: Grande nazione

2
Adele
Title: 21

3
Tiziano Ferro
Title: L’amore è una cosa meravigliosa

4
Laura Pausini
Title: Inedito

5
Adriano Celentano
Title: Facciamo finta che sia vero

6
Jovanotti
Title: Ora

7
Various Artists
Title: Ai se eu te pesco

8
Amy Winehouse
Title: Lioness: hidden treasures

9
Alessandra Amoroso
Title: Cinque passi in più

10
ColdPlay
Title: Myl  oxyloto

MY CITY

Published August 14, 2011 by Tony

LA MIA CITTA’

LA MIA CITTA

Here’s a possible translation of the lyrics:

MY CITY

Weary, resigned, innocent, possessed
Naked, shamed, betrayed, condemned
But it is my city
Dirty, poisoned, uncivilized, inflamed
Always crowded, devout, mutinous
But it is my city
And the night will never go
Beautiful, flashy, envied, invasive
Vulgar, indecent, violent, incandescent
But it is my city
Sweet, unconscious, treacherous, insolent
Bitter, haunting, miraculously, irreverent
But it is my city
And tomorrow who knows, you’ll see that it’ll change, maybe it’s true
But nothing will ever change if I am the only one to believe in it

Alone, abandoned, invisible, spied
Fair, despised, wild, uncontrolled
But it is my city
Cultured, refined, attacked, scorned
Suit, light-hearted, superstitious, ruthless
But it is my city
And tomorrow who knows, you’ll see that it’ll change, maybe it’s true
But nothing will ever change if I am the only one to believe in it

Ancient, antiquated, mysterious, unexplored
Fragile, spices, besieged, handcuffed
But it is my city

This is the lyrics of the last song of the Neapolitan songwriter Edoardo Bennato. A song dedicated to Naples (click on the video to listen to the song).

EDOARDO BENNATO

LA MIA CITTA – E. Bennato –

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To know more about him you can read this article on wikipedia. Edoardo wrote many songs but some really are masterpeices and I love a lot  “Il gatto e la Volpe” and “L’sola che non c’è”, and just for you I translated this last one, while you can listen to the song here

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The Neverland

Second star to the right
this is the way,
and then straight on till morning
then the road you will find by yourself,
it leads to Never Land.

Perhaps this will seem strange
but the reason loses control of the situation.
And now you’re almost convinced that
it cannot exist an island that there isn’t.

And to think, what a madness,
is a fable, it is just fantasy
and who is wise, who is mature knows it:
it cannot exist in the reality!

I agree with you,
doesn’t exist a land
where there are not saints or heroes
and if there are no thieves,
and if there is never the war,
 perhaps it justr is the island that there isn’t
… that there is not.

It is not an invention
and even a pun 
If you believe in me it is sufficient 
then you find the road by yourself.

I agree with you,
no thieves and policemen,
but, what kind of island is it?
No hatred and violence,
either soldiers or weapons,
Perhaps it just is the island that there isn’t
… that ther isn’t.

Second star to the right
this is the way,
and then straight on till morning
you can not miss it
that is the island that there isn’t!
And you get teased
if you go on to look for it,
but do not give up, because
who has already given up
and  laugh behind
maybe it’s even crazier than you!

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MEETING OF THE SEA

Published June 3, 2011 by Tony

MEETING DEL MARE

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The “Meeting of the sea” is an artistic and musical happening that since 1997 takes place every year on may in Marina di Camerota. This is a little and nice sea country in the province of Salerno and you may know more about it reading here this previous post of mine https://italiots.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/cilento-coast/

The event was born with the purpose to give regional youths and emerging bands the opportunity to perform and year after year it improved till to become a multicultural event three days long putting up many new bands coming from everywhere, giving art and literature room and with some important guest performing at the end of any show.

Just a juvenile culture phenomenon where the seaside becomes the right setting for such a meeting, every year with a different slogan as background. The past year the theme was “The Invisible” while now is “Why?”,  the simple question that needs a precise answer and not a chronicle. Unluckily,  there often is no answer to some question or just not a simple-direct one.

Every year thousands of young people go there to spend some perky day listening to music and enjoy between a bottle of beer (or wine) and a joint. A lot of them rent a one-room apartment where  a group of buddies cram in while the less well-off spend the night in ridge-tents on the beach. On the other hand, the night becomes day here and usually youths fall asleep during the dawn only or earlier because smashed or overdone. Anyway, there’s a pleasant holiday spirit, just a meeting and an aggregation(al) time that let me slightly recollect the Woodstock myth and the “Flower children”  which miss me a lot…. I have not been one of those lucky guys that lived that period and those experiences…. hell’s bells!

Music is the background of the meeting and the new bands play any sort of music, from rock to reggae and from folk to funky.

Blessed is the music and blissful the youth!

It’s a pity that the first bands playing in the first evening get a scarce audience because only later people and boys start to fill up the square and the seafront next to the stage. As a photography-fond I again took a lot of photos and this time of some band too.

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Give a look at this drummer… the band was the youngest of the concert and he quite worried ‘cause the first time performing on a stage, evidently.  What a tenderness!

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5119901Some young band was really clever and it was a pleasure to listen to,  alike  this one.

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Africa unite