Global Tarantella: Reinventing Southern Italian Folk Music and Dances
Incoronata Inserra, Virginia Commonwealth University
In Global Tarantella (University of Illinois Press, 2017) Incoronata Inserra ventures into the history, global circulation, and recontextualization of tarantella, a genre of Southern Italian folk music and dance. Examining tarantella’s changing image and role among Italians and Italian Americans, Inserra illuminates how factors like tourism, translation, and world music venues have shifted the ethics of place embedded in the tarantella cultural tradition. Once rooted in a world of rural Catholicism, tarantella now thrives in urban, secular, migrant, and ethnic settings. Inserra reveals how the genre’s changing dynamics contribute to reimagining Southern Italian identity and shows how its global growth promotes a reassessment of gender relations in the Italian South, helping create space for Italian and Italian American women to reclaim gendered aspects of the genre.
Calandra Italian American Institute
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Settembre, andiamo. È tempo di migrare.
Ora in terra d’Abruzzi i miei pastori
lascian gli stazzi e vanno verso il mare:
scendono all’Adriatico selvaggio
che verde è come i pascoli dei monti. Han bevuto profondamente ai fonti
alpestri, che sapor d’acqua natia
rimanga nei cuori esuli a conforto,
che lungo illuda la lor sete in via.
Rinnovato han verga d’avellano.E vanno pel tratturo antico al piano,
quasi per un erbal fiume silente,
su le vestigia degli antichi padri.
O voce di colui che primamente
conosce il tremolar della marina!Ora lungh’esso il litoral camina
la greggia. Senza mutamento è l’aria.
Il sole imbionda si la viva lana
che quasi dalla sabbia non divaria.
Isciacquio, calpestio, dolci rumori.
Ah perchè non son io co’ miei pastori?
September, let us go. It’s time to migrate.
Now in the land of Abruzzi my shepherds
leave the stables and go towards the sea:
they go down to the wild Adriatic
which is green as their mountain pastures. They drank deeply at the mountain
springs, so that a taste of native water
stays in their displaced hearts to comfort them,
so that long it may soothe their thirst along the way.
They have replaced their chestnut shepherd’s staff.And they go along the ancient track to the plain,
as if following a grassy silent river,
on the footsteps of their ancient fathers.
O the voice of he who first
recognizes the trembling of the sea waters!Now following the coast the sheep tread.
Motionless is the air.
The sun so lightens the living wool
that it’s almost indistinguishable from the sand.
Splashing, trampling, sweet noises.
Paul Torna sent in this link to share with IFAFA Members. The article describes the community of Castelfidardo, in the Marche region of Italy. Paul has relatives in nearby Nereto. Since Tradizioni doesn’t have copyright permission to publish the entire article, readers are encouraged to click through to the article for more information and pictures. Please click on the link below (or copy and paste it to your browser):
Ona, Ona, Ona,
O che bella Rificolona,
La mia l’é coi fiocchi,
La tua l’é coi pidocchi!
(Ona, ona, ona,
What a beautiful Rificolona,
Mine with bows is tied,
In yours, lice do reside!)
Florentine children sing this song as they wander through the streets of Florence the first week of September, carrying papier-mâché lanterns tied to the ends of sticks, called rificolone. There are several theories as to where the tradition originates from, some think it commemorates the triumphant entry of Florentine troops into Siena on August 2 1555, when the soldiers tied lanterns onto the ends of their pikes.