Italian Folk Dances from the Viggiano Tradition for Harp
  • Italian Folk Dances from the Viggiano Tradition for Harp

Italian Folk Dances from the Viggiano Tradition for Harp

Sara Simari
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The history of the Viggianesi, strolling musicians, winds over a period of about four centuries and esprimeun ‘unicum' musically and anthropologically. Heirs of a travelling musical tradition that from the late Middle Ages inhabited more than just the streets of the Kingdom of Sicily and Naples, the harpists of this extraordinary story made their first appearances as early as the end of the 1600s engaged in musical practices at shrines. Armed with an urgent need to make a living together with a strong musical inclination, adaptability and versatility, the groups of musicians, almost always belonging to the same family circle, became the promoters of the great Italian musical tradition (Southern in particular), and with their harps on their shoulders they became the identification symbol of a well-defined and limited area of Italy: the Agri Valley, in Basilicata. From the many documents examined, a very wide and varied musical repertoire emerges mixing the pastoral tradition with classical tradition (mainly opera, devotional music with songs from the cities (from the Neapolitan tradition to international production). The pastoral repertoire, the subject of this publication, consists of a strongly characterized native repertoire which the Viggianesi had consolidated in both public and private ritual occasions in their native land, even if performing in distant lands.

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