22 May

Music of Abruzzo – Part 2

I wrote in a previous post that I wanted to learn more about the folk songs, traditional songs and music for traditional dances in Abruzzo. My initial plan was to buy CDs online. That changed when I popped into a musical instrument shop Bruno Carota Strumenti Musicali in Pescara.

If I was in the market for a musical instrument or sheet music I think I’d have had no trouble finding what I wanted in Bruno Carota’s. But I wanted CDs of Abruzzo folk music and unfortunately, they didn’t have any.

The difficulty with trying to get music that isn’t mainstream is usually your only option is to buy online. But I was in Pescara and I wanted to walk around and interact with the locals so I asked if there was any shop nearby that might sell what I was looking for. The Italian for what I wanted is canzone popolare (folk song) or canti tradizionali (traditional songs). It turned out that right around the corner from Bruno Carota’s was a CD shop called Gong at Via Palermo, 109. I didn’t have far to walk at all, see for yourself.

Anyway, Gong is a treasure trove for people who like Jazz and other musical styles that wouldn’t be considered popular. I looked around, but couldn’t see what I wanted. But after a chat I discovered that they normally would have a bigger selection and that they had one CD that might fit the bill, this was Chilla Stilluccia Mia: Canti tradizionali in Abruzzo (Folk songs of Abruzzo). The conversation turned to Jazz and I also bought a CD by Larry Willis and Tony Pancella, Alter Ego, which I’m listening to as I type this post.

Tony Pancella is from Abruzzo, and I believe he has recently completed a UK tour as guest pianist with Magdelena Reising.

So now to the bottom line, what did I think of the music? Well as I said above, I’m typing and listening to the Tony Pancella album and I love it. I find it intricate and gentle, a very beautiful sound.

I can’t say the same for the folk songs though.  They were hard on my ear.  I’ve put the CD on four times now and today is the first time I’ve managed to play it all the way to the end.

The CD is published by Taranta who appear to publish a lot of traditional material from all around Italy. They have four other CDs of songs and music from Abruzzo. Have a look at their catalogue and search for “Abruzzo” and you’ll find them.

So, although this was not a complete success story, I still think I’ll try another CD and see how it goes. But I won’t buy it online, I’ll wait until I’m in Pescara again and see if Gong has got them in.  And while I’m there I’ll get another recommendation for a Jazz artist from Abruzzo, just in case!

a little bit about 

Noel is an IT Consultant, software development Project Manager, photographer, writer, and English teacher. These days he swaps his time between Abruzzo, Italy and Dublin, Ireland.

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Noel McCarthy Photography

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