Folk Music of Italy, Episode 1: A New Look At An Ancient Land (part 4)
March 7, 1955
Performer: Lomax, Alan; Broadcaster: BBC
Track Number: 4
Archive ID: B004
Original ID: T556R01
Note: Discussed in this part: North had more open, permissive attitudes toward sex. Central Italy featured arranged marriages. There was virtual purdah in the South, where women were not allowed out. In the North they sing of the pleasures of love. In South they sing of dying for love. Example of choral (male & female) love song from Friuli. Alpine style from Piedmont: "Tutti mi chiamano bionda" ("They all say I'm a blonde"). Maggio from Reggio Emilia, sung in a [relatively] open style. Central Italian ottava rima improvisation. Stornello -- improvised couplets like the blues. First written down in fourtheenth century. Roman example. The strangulated vocal style heard South of Rome. Pinched voices of women of Casserta singing a duet. The polyphony of Albanians of Lungro, Calabria. Polyphony of Calabria. Piemonte (famed for its army) took the lead in Italian unification, and its songs -- especially marching and soldier farewell songs -- are heard all over Italy. Example of a choral worksong from a fruit packing warehouse in Bari shows Southern and Greek influences on northern polyphony. The "popolaresca" style, Fascist folk revival attempted to keep peasants in costume and used packaged folk songs as propaganda -- a musical mixed blessing -- a not too bad example is: "Zumbalariala' sung by an artisan chorus from Sicily.
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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