|di Pamela Thomason|
La Notte della Taranta – Italy’s best know music festival is approaching is closing night
What do you do if you get bitten by a big spider? The answer for Italians living in the southern regions of the country is obvious – you dance frantically until all the poison is expelled from your body. This is how “Tarantella”, Italy’s most famous dance was born.
To celebrate this folk dance – and music – a festival takes place every year in the beautiful Salento area (Apulia), which is home to the “Pizzica”, a famous regional variation of Tarantella.
Started in 1998, the Notte della Taranta was originally a series of concerts taking place simultaneously in different locations throughout Salento. In 2000 it became an actual festival, with 11 events happening at different dates in different locations and culminating in a big final concert in the town of Melpignano, where it all started.
The event, which mixes Salento folk music with other rhythms – from world music to rock, jazz and classical – has grown steadily over the years and now attracts more than one-hundred thousand visitors from across the world, making it Italy’s biggest folk music festival and one of the most important in Europe.
Its 18th edition is currently under way and the final night will be on the 22nd of August. If you are not lucky enough to attend it you can catch it on Italian TV channel Rai 5. Be warned, you get a bit wild when you get bitten by those spiders so expect some crazy stuff.
For more info visit the official website: http://www.lanottedellataranta.it/en/
"La Notte della Taranta" is Italy's biggest music festival and one of Europe's most important events dedicated to traditional culture. It takes place in Salento and is dedicated to the re-discovery and valorisation of Salento's folk music and its fusion with other types of music – from world music to rock, from jazz to classical music.
Born in 1998 by initiative of the "Unione dei Comuni della Grecìa Salentina" and the "Diego Carpitella" Institute, in fifteen years the festival has enjoyed tremendous growth in size, audience and international prestige. There have been several key milestones in its development: in 2000 the "Festival Itinerante" was started, a collective of the most representative groups of the "pizzica salentina" scene which today covers fifteen towns (those belonging to the "Unione dei Comuni della Grecìa Salentina" plus Lecce, Galatine, Alessano and Cursi), attracts nearly one-hundred thousand spectators and prepares the "Concertone", the highlight of the Festival; in 2004 the "La Notte della Taranta" Popular Orchestra was created thanks to Ambrogio Sparagna, an eclectic cultural (folk) band active throughout the year in Italy and abroad; and from 2010 onwards, the "La Notte della Taranta" Foundation became responsible for the organisation of the Festival.
The Festival's formula, which culminates in the "Final Concertone di Melpignano" (Lecce), is made unique by inviting a "Maestro Concertatore" to arrange and interpret classics from the local musical tradition, directing a group of nearly thirty musicians from Salento together with exceptional guests from Italy and abroad. The "Concertone" alone attracts around one-hundred and fifty thousand spectators, while tens of thousands follow the final rehearsals the day before.
The following "Maestri Concertatori" have contributed to the impressive growth of the "La Notte della Taranta" in the first fifteen years of the Festival, often continuing their collaboration with the Popular Orchestra in special occasions in Italy and abroad: Daniele Sepe (1998), Piero Milesi (1999 e 2001), Joe Zawinul (2000),Vittorio Cosma (2002), Stewart Copeland (2003), Ambrogio Sparagna (2004, 2005, 2006), Mauro Pagani (2007, 2008, 2009), Ludovico Einaudi (2010, 2011), Goran Bregovic (2012), and Giovanni Sollima (2013-2014), Phil Manzanera (2015).
This year, La Notte della Taranta is dedicated to Sergio Torsello, former artistic director of La Notte della Taranta who passed away last March.
by Pamela Thomason
(C) ITALIANS OF LONDON 2015