Folk Music of Italy, Episode 4: Italian Work Songs (part 1)
April 17, 1955
Performer: Lomax, Alan; Broadcaster: BBC
Track Number: 9
Archive ID: B009
Original ID: T564R01
Note: Discussed in this part: Marble quarry chant above Carrara. Worksongs like this have built the buildings and monuments of Italy. Cry of the blasters and explosion. Before the blasters the quarrymen knew how to get the marble cut by hand and had songs to coordinate their hammers, but still use the songs to for moving the stones. Leader said emphatically, "This is the misery squad." Oldest inscription in Rome shows workers pulling a column. Work gangs of pile drivers in Venice. Song of the canal workers. Song calls protection of the Virgin against the Turks, dating the song to fifteenth century. Archaic song of peasant women going out to work in the fields in the morning: "Day is dawning and cock is crowing for the first peep of day." Chant of Neapolitan man to his donkey, "Sempre avanti" (Mussolini's slogan). Woman and man of the Marche sing love lyrics in seconds and fourths. Grain harvest is almost a sacred ritual. Wheat is harvested in June in Sicily with prayers. Harvest song (starts as a chant) about the virgin seeking her son as wheat is cut. Song is a lament for the death of the wheat.
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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