Folk Music of Italy, Episode 1: A New Look At An Ancient Land (part 3)
March 7, 1955
Performer: Lomax, Alan; Broadcaster: BBC
Track Number: 3
Archive ID: B003
Original ID: T555R01
Note: Discussed in this part: Harvest song from Bosnia is contrasted to a harvest song from Lazio near Rome, similar style but more restricted throat in Roman example. From Rome south one finds women who sing in this style. Albanians in Calabria. Are these Slavic song pockets traces of slow migrations or do they represent isolated remnant of a substratum? Vocally they have kept the harmonic style but have adopted the stridency of their non-Slavic neighbors. Song transmission occurs through families and role of women is all- important in this. Saracen (North African influence). Polyrhythmic rhythm instruments predominate -- percussion from town of Pagani (town of the pagans). Manifold connections of Southern Italy and Spain. Woman of Palermo sings an air that reminds one of Andalusia. Southern Italian improvised song and guitar playing (from Sardinia). African influence in work song. Tuna fishermen. Summary: 1) Greek and Etruscan pre-history (saltarello, tambourine, funeral lament 2) Historical Italy -- choral (possibly Celtic) North vs. the solo (possibly Roman) South. 3) Medieval Italy -- influence of invaders from abroad. 4) Post Renaissance saw the domination of the lyric love song. (5) Folk opera of Reggio Emilia. Relationship of love song to practices of courtship. Example of "overripe" Neapolitan pop song. The discovery of the trip was the varation of song-styles from North to South and its correspondence to social attitudes to love.
About the session: The Folk Music of Italy was an eight-part series of Italian folk music produced and hosted by Alan Lomax for the BBC's Third Programme. The recordings were made by Lomax during his Italian field trip in 1954 and early 1955; the series was compiled before his return to England in the early spring of 1955.
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