“Utriculus” is back!


UTRICULUS N. 47 – Abstracts by Antonietta Caccia

Editorial, by A. Caccia, p. 3
Because of its second long interruption (the former was in the period 2000/2004
and the last issue published has been that of April/June 2008) many people thought
that the experience of Utriculus was over. I thought the same too, or better,
I was afraid of that, whenever any attempt to start again failed for one reason or
another, so much that even writing these lines I can hardly believe that we did it
at last. For correctness towards those members who continued to support us even
without getting the magazine I should say something more than a simple “sorry
for the delay”. But the list of excuses and lamentations would be too long and it
would make us so sad that the best thing to do is to save us from that.
Besides, even if the time of the sorrows and of the difficulties (mainly econo-
mic) is not finished, what matters is that we are here again. So, let’s look ahead,
even more jointly if possible as together and enthusiastically we have been working
for the bagpipes and more generally for the cultural heritage nowadays called “intangible”.
What we have done during the last years (magazine and festival’s vicissitudes
apart) is in the “2008-2013 Yearbook” by A. Bavaro at page 53 while the recognition
that gratifies and drives us to pursue our activities enlarging their ambit as
well, has been the accreditation of the Circolo to act in an advisory capacity to the
Intergovernmental Committee of the Unesco Convention for the Safeguarding
of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. A goal which has been possible to reach also
thanks to the support of the wide network of members, sympathizers and cooperators
of various kind, coming from several countries besides Italy.
In the internet time we have been long doubtful if it had still sense a paper magazine.
At the end, according to the opinion of several members, we decided to
continue with the paper format and maybe in the future with a digital version as
well. In any case, some changes have been adopted: in the typographical format,
in the number of the pages and in the periodicity since now six-montly.
Last but not least, I make reference to the cover with which we wish to homage
to Amedeo Lanci, great contemporary artist and our unforgotten friend, who has
died on January 30th 2011. Called also the painter of the music because of the presence
in almost all his paintings of musicians and musical instruments (mainly
the guitar), he expressed a great interest towards the world of the mountain, of the
pastoral culture and of the bagpipers as well.

The Northern Italy bagpipes, by B. Grulli, p. 7
As indicated in the figures at pages 8, 9, 12 (n. 1, 2 and 4), in the article the author
firstly places that the bagpipes of Northern Italy (generally called with the term
“piva”) belong to the wider family of that of West Europe of which they represent
the south-east section. The “pive” can be considered extinct as cultural entity since
the thirties of the last century despite the presence of isolated players until the
second post-war years while the emigration to the North of zampogna players
coming from Southern Italy, started since distant times, obscured the memory
of the local bagpipes. The folk revival of the seventies partly made up for it. Then,
some have been recovered. They are: the Piva Ticinese (in the Swiss Canton of
Ticino), the Baghet (in Bergamo area), the Musa (in the Appennine valleys between
the rivers Scrivia and Trebbia) and the Piva Emiliana (in the area between
the rivers Trebbia and Enza). These instruments were used mainly to accompany
the dances and also in other several civil, religious and funeral occasions. But in
the article the author doesn’t speak about the mentioned four bagpipes because
already rich of a wide bibliography, players and finds of instruments. He wants
to speak about the remaining North where various evidences (oral testimonies,
songs, tales, sayings, iconographies with which the author gives detailed information
for each region, areas and places) lead to believe in a remote but more large
diffusion of “pive” probably similar to the recovered ones. In this perspective the
author points out, through a rich bibliography and some iconographic evidences,
the results of the researches made by himself and other musicians and scholars all
over the Northern areas not included in that concerned with the presence and the
use of the recovered four bagpipes.

The zampogna at the foot of Vesuvius, by V. Marasco and A. Giordano, p. 25
Firstly the authors point out that in the piedmont area of Vesuvius, particularly
in the West and South-East side of the volcano, what since centuries characterizes
the local folk music is the dark and the deep sound of the tammorra (the big
timbrel) combined sometimes with other instruments. In one of the villages of
that area, called Boscotrecase, since the end of the 19th century a little community
of zampogna and ciaramella players started to become visible. The families who
introduced the pastoral instruments in the urban area of Boscotrecase were those
of the Esposito and Catapano.
It has been possible for the authors to rebuilt their adventure with the tradition
of the zampogna thanks to the testimony of the last descendant of the Catapano
family, Antonio, an excellent player known as The ciaramella of Vesuvius.
According to the authors the zampogna and ciaramella were introduced in the
area by the zampognari coming from the Province of Caserta who during the
Christmas time used to go in the villages around Vesuvius playing the Novena. In
the picture at page 31 you can see the battered zampogna of Antonio’s father.

Two Zampognari of the Molise died in Naples during the cholera epidemic of
1836, by M. Gioielli, p. 33
In this contribution Gioielli refers about two zampognari coming from Matese,
the mountain chain that dominates an area of the Molise in which still today they
are active bagpipers mainly in some places like the village of San Polo Matese and
the small town of Boiano.
The sad story of the two players (father and son) is narrated in the book of the
dramatist Giovanni Emmanuele Bidera entiled The last ninety days of 1836. The
cholera in Naples, published in 1837. In the tale of the book dedicated to them, the
author refers that the two bagpipers, arrived in Naples for the Christmas Novena,
unlike the other zampognari who escaped from the city, decided to remain in
spite of the epidemic because of the needs of their family. So, they started yhe service
of the Novena firstly visiting, in accordance with the tradition, the habitual
customes to confirm the performance. But on December 2, they were affected by
the deadly disease and both died.

The zampogna, the reapers and the harvest time melodies, by A. Caccia, p. 37
As historically certified along all the modern age and also a little more, every year thousands of peasants came down the mountains of Molise to be employed
in various farm works mainly in the vast estates of Puglia region and specifically
in its Northern part called Tavoliere (Tableland). The reapers constituted the larger
number of these workers: between 30,000 and 50,000 those who went to Puglia
at the end of the 18th century to whom they must be added the reapers coming
from the High Valley of Volturno river (that didn’t belong to Molise region at the
time) who for the most part were used to go to the so called Labor Land, an area
including both the Volturno valley and the Province of Caserta.
The aim of the research, carried out in Scapoli and from which the article was
originated, is not the reaping but the zampogna and its use in the rural world.
Even if, on the traces of the instrument and its players it has been unavoidable
to look over the historical context and the human vicissitudes of some reapersbagpipers
and their relatives; naturally, just touching on these subjects in the context
of the present discourse.
The article takes as a reference the period from the end of 19th century to the
first decade of the 20th. Almost all the information have been acquired through
interviews with local old people who had lived both the experience of being reapers
and bagpipers or had memory of them, of songs, way of life etc.
The first fact emerging from the oral testimonies is that, before and besides the
definitive emigration, two seasonal emigrations represented a solution for many
peasants to better themselves: going to play the Novena in Christmas time and
going to reap in Summer time. In both cases there was the zampogna. In the first
one, as the musical instrument so “par excellence” to lead most of the people to
identify the bag instrument and its players as the proper symbol of Christmas and
to think that there wasn’t any reason for its existence except this festivity. In the
second one, as the homely sound that sharpened the nostalgia of the reapers and
perhaps made their hard work more tolerable. In fact, the reapers (almost all also
zampognari) took the zampogna with themselves and playing it and other instruments
(ciaramella and accordion) they left on foot towards their destination at the
beginning of June.
As referred by an informer, the day of the departure they gathered before the
sunrise in predetermined places where “they made a great harmony” after which
they set off still playing and the music could be heard until they turned the last
curve towards the next village. Sometimes, even though it was forbidden, some
reapers brought together a young son or daughter with the job to pick up the ears
of wheat that they let fall down while harvesting. About one of these clandestine
collectors of ears—her name was Maria—in the article are remembered the hard
life when she was a little more than a child and the tragic destiny when she was
a little more than fifty years old. The November 11, 1943 Maria was shot by a German
sniper and died some days later because of the severe wounds.
During the research, besides information about “mythical” reapers who were
also excellent bagpipers, one of the informer has referred on several melodies that
people were used to sing during the harvest time. The songs could be about love,
against the owners or satirical. The important thing was “to sing with the tonality
appropriate to the harvest time otherwise you might be considered crazy”. The
right tonality was that in extended voice and according to the informer it was
practised only while harvesting; in all other periods or occasions they used the
tonality called “at serenade”.

The rediscovered guitar, by M. Brindisi, p. 79
In the article the authoress tells about the finding that she made at the end of
March 2012 of a rare model of chitarra battente (lit. “beating guitar”) coming
from the historical and famous workshop of musical instruments of Borraccino
family who had been active in Cerignola, Province of Foggia (Puglia region) for
about one century and half starting from the early 19th century.
The place of the discovery has been an old house, which former owner had been
a family of players, in the little village of Macchia Valfortore (where the authoress
lives) once belonging to Puglia today to Molise region.
As result of her researches about the particular guitar (of which the ethnomusicologist
Salvatore Villani speaks on the following article) Mrs. Brindisi gives a list
of players who, together with the oral testimonies, can be considered as the evidence
of a large use of the instrument in the village of Macchia Valfortore. From
the same testimonies it emerges that the guitar was used both to play serenades
and to accompany dances and songs.
The article describes also the context, the reasons and the passions that all together
gave the authoress the possibility to bring to light a model of guitar of which
she had always only heard in the village. But it has been possible also because
among other passions Mrs. Brindisi cultivates a special interest for the airs of the
oral tradition that she sings playing a similar guitar in the duo “The Musicians
of the Memory” formed with her husband Mario Mancini maker and player of
timbrels. A heartfelt profile of the couple and of their activities is in the following
contribution by the ethomusicologist Vincenzo Lombardi.

Sympathetic resonances. Musics, musicians, guitars and more, by V. Lombardi, p. 85
The contribution is organized into three short chapters: the gift, the musical
interests, the rediscovered guitar.
The gift is the natural talent of which Mariella Brindisi has been blessed, that
she has been able to recognise and to cultivate translating it in the will and in
the everyday activity directed to pass on to others what she discovers and learns.
Besides she is able “to infest” all those who get in touch with her, first of all her
husband Mario Mancini who shares with her the passion and the gift expressing
both in a quite original modalities. From this incredible mix of passions several
activities originated and are still alive:
— a museum called “The house, the professions and the culture of the memory”
which consists in various “rooms” diffused in the old centre of the village and
that they buy, restructure and fit out with objects and memories of the past
with the aim of “collecting, preserving and promoting the knowledge, free, of
all that concerns the folk culture” besides researching, to safeguard it, what
still living in the area (songs, tales, stories of life, saving of ancient arts and
— a workshop where Mario makes timbrels and—
from some time—also beating
— a centre of interest in natural sciences;
— an important collection of audio-video records concerning the main traditional
and musical events of Molise and neighbouring regions.
As for the musical interests, the aim of the couple with the duo “The Musicians
of the Memory” is simply to put back into circulation traditional songs of Molise
in the way that Mariella practised and remembers or how people remember and
sing them still today. It is not a “re-proposal” or a “copy”. The idea is different. It
is to point out the musical “what and how” in its actuality and contemporaneity,
the manner in which some musical expressions are still practised by some section
of population, mainly the elderly one.
Finally, in the chapter “The rediscovered guitar” the author points out that it
should be enough clear why the instrument, after years, decided to be found by two
persons like Mariella and Mario, thanks them for the reopening of a cultural matter
that was waiting to be investigate and gives some information about the cultural,
social, economic and administrative relations between Molise and Puglia.

A precious finding, by S. Villani, p. 91
The third article concerning the beating guitar, called also chitarrino (lit. small
guitar), is by the ethnomusicologist and scholar of this kind of instruments, called
by Mariella and Mario for the organological study of the musical find. In the
first part of his contribution the author refers that after 30 years of researches in
the areas of Gargano and Centre-Southern Adriatic, of the vast production of guitars
by the Borraccino family that found in Macchia Valfortore is at the moment
the second one. Then, he tells about the mentioned family who has been active in
Cerignola (Province of Foggia) since the early 19th century and whose last descendant
qualified as chitarraro (guitar maker) died in 1973 at age 67.
Even if the researches didn’t give any information about when in Cerignola the
making of musical instruments stopped, according to oral testimonies the production
of the beating guitars disappeared in the early thirties of the 20th century.
From the commercial point of view, besides in Cerignola the guitars were marketed
in places of pilgrimage like Monte Sant’Angelo and San Giovanni Rotondo.
The instruments also appear in a catalogue, dateless but probably dating from the
early thirties, of the accordion company “Paolo Soprani” from Castelfidardo.
The last part of the article is dedicated to the organological description of the
instrument of which the author provides classification, characteristics, tuning
and measures.

Sylloge of the sources concerning the Carnivals of Scapoli and Castelnuovo al
Volturno. With morphological synopsis, by A. Testa, p. 101
The author has dedicated to the carnival zoomorphic mask of the contiguous
villages of Scapoli and Castelnuovo al Volturno—called The Dear or The Wilde
Beast—a well documented and very ample study in the book Il Carnevale dell’uomo-
animale. Le dimensioni storiche e socio culturali di una festa appenninica (The
Carnival of the man-animal. The historical and social cultural significance of an
Apennines feast, shortly presented at page 125).
In this sylloge he collects all the sources available at the moment about this carnival
and that, directly or indirectly, come from field researches made by experts
or generally by scholars and already appeared in various publications. The selection
methods of the sources have been thought on the basis of the present state of
the available documents.
As regards Scapoli the mentions are very few. In this village since many years
they don’t act any more folk drama, “rites” or any other kind of feasts so called
“traditional” or recovered from the past; apart from the try made in the nineties
by the Circolo della Zampogna with the promotion of carnival gastronomic specialties
(that is to say has been successful) and with the revival (not successful) of
the mask of “The Wilde Beast”. With reference to that in the absence of starting
points concerning the present situation the interest of scholars and other people
who could collect testimonies has been rather low. On the contrary, in Castelnuovo
al Volturno after years of interruption since 1985 the carnival of the “mananimal”
has been revived thanks to the action of a cultural association devoted
to it and today is a well known event even if with considerable changes because
of directing-choreographic needs (or foolish ambitions) or again, in any case, to
answer purely spectacular purposes.

This entry was posted in Circolo. Bookmark the permalink.