Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mercoledi Musicale

I was introduced to the folk and street music of Napoli by Marco Beasley, Guido Morini and their group Accordone during the 2008 Whitsun Festival in Salzburg.  To my ears it is music that has all the passion and colour of that incredible city.  I was surprised last year when the winter season line-up for the Ottawa Chamber Music Society included a concert with a group called Vesuvius Ensemble based in Toronto (?).  They performed with the renowned Tafelmusik Ensemble* in a program that wedded Neapolitan music of the baroque with music of the streets.  It was a remarkable performance for its fluidity and originality.  Particularly effective was a call-and-response ballad between the two groups - again a wedding of the classical and the popular.

In their new album, to be released shortly, Vesuvius Ensemble celebrate another wedding: that of the Guarracino of Neapolitan nursery rhyme fame.  The Castagnola,  Guarracino in Neapolitan dialect, is a fish and the "hero" of an anonymous song from the 1700s that tells of his love for a sardine who is the ex-sweetheart of a particularly macho tuna.   The courtship leads to a feud which ends up involving all the inhabitants of the sea in the Bay of Napoli.  It ends rather inconclusively with the singer telling us of the thirst that the song has built up and how a few coins to wet his whistle would be appreciated.

A search suggests that O matrimonio do Guarracino is another episode in the song-story of this not particularly well-favoured chordata.

I don't normally advertise on here or shill for anyone however just a word that the first recording by Vesuvius Ensemble is available on iTunes and their new recording will be available shortly.

*This was to be  Jeanne Lamon's last concert after 33 years as leader of the ensemble.

September  17 - 1849: American abolitionist Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery.