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Le vie armoniche (sounds from the streets)

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maugein96

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Im going to post a link to a documentary which I think may be of interest to anybody who is into the popular and folk music of Italy.

For years I have appreciated Italian traditional type accordion music without really understanding much about it. The typical image of Italian players depicts them with large PAs across their chests, although the music they actually play can be a bit of a lottery to those of us with limited knowledge of the country and its music.

About 20 years ago an old friend and fellow CBA player pointed me in the direction of the accordionists from the Emilia Romagna area around Bologna. What interested me was the fact that the CBA is very popular in that area, and from what I can deduce is more popular than PA. I spent a lot of time trying to find out more about the music and the accordions, but wasnt able to get very far, on account of the fact that I dont speak Italian.

Through time the various genres of popular Italian accordion styles began to become familiar, particularly the Ballo Liscio styles of northern Italy, but their history was difficult to research, and I gave up on the matter. Then, after I joined the forum, somebody made me aware of the Filuzzi or smooth dancing style introduced in Bologna, which got me interested again. The accordion tunes involved were pleasant on the ear, and I spent hours on You Tube listening to anything Italian I could find. However, I was often still at a loss as to what tunes fitted where. I also found some of the Italian accordion styles a bit difficult to follow, as they were often pretty formal, with different techniques to what I had been used to playing.

A few days ago I found a crazy looking video of a guy playing CBA with a piece of red linen tied across the treble keyboard. I had to investigate further, and it seems to have been the case that he used it merely as a stage prop so that he gained some popularity as a player in his home area around the mountain village of Monghidoro in the Savena Valley, up in the Appenines to the south of Bologna.

The documentary is a tribute to two CBA accordionists, Lino Giovannardi (aka Il Galinino, who plays with the red linen on the keyboard) and Primo Panzacchi. It also gives a history of the area from WW2 onwards, and includes the arrival of the US Army, and the migration of residents to work in the coal mines in Belgium. Definitely not accordion related I know, but its easy to skip bits which are not of musical interest.

The music is a quaint mixture of almost everything Italian, but obviously concentrates on the style of the area. Apparently the people have their own version of Liscio dances which feature skipping rather than sliding, but Im afraid the world of dancing of any kind is not really my bag. The players are very competent, but the music has that bit of a rough mountain edge to it which appeals to country hicks like me. There are fiddles, brass instruments, clarinets and other wind instruments, but almost always there is an accordion in there somewhere. Most of the tunes can be learned by ear and Ive a feeling the old Marinucci CBA is going to get a hammering over the next few weeks.

Id better not keep waxing on, as I appreciate this post will only interest a few members, if any. However, I enjoyed the documentary even although I couldnt understand much of what was being said. The music compensated for that. Its a long show running to about an hour and a half, but retired folks like me have plenty of time to watch such things.

There is actually a double CD available with the same title as the post heading. It has about 57 tracks on it, most of which feature accordion. Its already on my Xmas list.

 

Matt Butcher

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Aaazing. The things you manage with a search engine and some peraiatence. I know I'm going to love this.
 

donn

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I found one of the tunes here appealing, easy enough to work out and have been enjoying playing it over the last couple days. Supposedly, Barabén, performed by the largish group with a couple fiddlers, an older guy on drum kit and a young accordion player. Other renditions by that name I dug up are only vaguely similar, but I guess that's how it is. Anyway ... if there's more where that excellent little ditty came from, I'd be kind of interested.
 
M

maugein96

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Donn,

From what I can tell baraben, a word which seems peculiar to Emilia Romagna, refers to a sort of ritual dance, probably with local variations in the same area.

The band you mention are called I suonatori della valle del savena , and here is a link to their main You Tube renderings :- . There are about 24 tracks on there. Mazurka Elegante is quite a nice one (Track 2 on the list).

I must admit I had never heard the violin being used much at all in Italian folk music until I saw this documentary. Its a shame most of the music occurs in the final third.

I would have to say that after I posted the link and watched the video right through, I found some of the music was a bit repetitive, although I enjoyed the documentary nevertheless.

Hope you find one or two more tunes to add to what you already have.
 
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morenito

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These pieces represent an Italy that now is disappearing gradually to the point that they become characteristic such as pizza and pasta. Were still index simpler lifestyle and genuineness' now rare
 

donn

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Sweet, it looks like I have enough to keep me busy here. It's a bit hard to listen to, though.

The one vocal tune so far, La Cionfa, reminds me of some of the stuff Ginevra di Marco does that I suppose is traditional, but the instrumental tracks often slip in and out of something I hear as an Eastern or Moorish influence ... indigenous? Or maybe this represents a musical tradition that came with or was influenced by traveling musicians from farther east. It just surprises me a little to hear it here in the north of Italy (and later in the set not so much of it anyway, or maybe my ears died.)
 
M

maugein96

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The violinists in particular have a style that appears to be influenced by Balkan or possibly even middle eastern music. They occasionally throw in a few notes which are normally only found in Turkish type music. I don't know enough about Italian folk music to be sure where that influence comes from, but Emilia Romagna is on the eastern side of Italy, just across the Adriatic from Croatia, and Croatian accordion tends to have an Italian influence. It's possible that the two countries share some musical background, but it's really only once you get into the Turkish influenced parts of the former Yugoslavia, like Bosnia and Serbia, where you start to pick up those oriental scales in the folk music. Bosnian and Serbian accordionists make a lot of use of oriental scales on PA and CBA respectively.

To be honest, I'd never previously heard any Italian folk music that sounds anything like that in the documentary. I would have expected Sicilian and Calabrian music to possibly have an oriental flavour, but not music in the north of Italy. The Turkish musical scales are also present in Greek music, and I can assure you that they are not very easy for those of us with "western" ears to follow. To cap it all the Turks are fond of those half pitched notes I mentioned above. They fall in between the notes of our chromatic scale and cannot really be replicated on anything other than stringed instruments.
 
M

maugein96

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Rather than put on another post that will not generate much interest, I thought Id resurrect this one and make a link to another documentary on the style and technique of Primo Panzacchi, one of the accordionists from Monghidoro who featured in the other documentary. Not sure if Primo is still on the go, but I get the impression that he is perhaps not.

He was apparently one of the main players when the Filuzzi style was developed, and taught CBA in his home area. Unfortunately I cannot translate what the CBA player who is analysing his style is saying, although it would appear to relate to the old fashioned tempo that Primo used.

Once again it is a long drag lasting over an hour and I appreciate that only one or two members will have much interest. One thing which was of interest was the appearance of Dino Lucchi (small older guy with long hair and specs playing small 4 row white Lucchini.) He is the father of Barbara Lucchi, who is more famous than he is. She plays CBA along with the PA player Massimo Venturi as a duo. Barbara was taught to play by her father, and later brought on by Carlo Venturi, when she featured in his band. She became famous in the accordion world sense, although I understand that given the type of music she plays, few members will have heard of her.

Here is the link to the other documentary, which will hopefully be of interest to one or two.

 

hais1273

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Nice links. Italian trad music is great fun, inclusive and enjoyable.

Try I musetta on for size.


The squacky oboes things are piferros. Love em
 

TomBR

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hais1273 said:
Nice links. Italian trad music is great fun, inclusive and enjoyable.

Try I musetta on for size.


The squacky oboes things are piferros. Love em
I quite agree.
I like the word squacky, is that Sussex dialect or your own, err, invention? :D
Tom
 
M

maugein96

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Loved the oboes. Seems that just about every country in mainland Europe has their own version of them.

Italian folk music appears to be quite diverse, and as far as accordions go I am finding out more all the time. Perhaps the first ever accordionist I started listening to was the one in this clip. He played Liscio style, which is perhaps some way between folk and popular, but is regarded as traditional Italian music, nevertheless.

Luigi Stocchi (stage name Gigi Stok) was born in the rural part of Parma in 1920. He learned accordion from his father before WW2, and became a professional player in the 50s. In the clip (which I may have posted before in another thread) youll see him playing a C system 4 row Crucianelli with 7 row Modenese bass, which he uses to great effect in this particular track. The music is a bit old fashioned, but the style is style prevalent today.


Heres another one of his lesser known tracks:-

 

Matt Butcher

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I just wanted to repeat, I'm very grateful for these links - I am constantly amazed what you manage to find. I must admit I haven't watched yet - I tried on the train to work but very little would download. It's ok with my weekly Bymarco programme - I put the tablet on the shelf in the kitchen and glance at the screen from time to time while I'm cooking etc. These will need more attention but both are on excellent subjects and I'm amazed the second one exists. I just need an hour awake and uninterrupted, ha ha. Gigi Stok was quite a player too and you can't really go wrong with any footage of him. I've only scratched the surface of the surface with Italian music - only a few regions and styles - but it seems to be endless. Thanks again.
 
M

maugein96

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Hi Matt,

Glad you like it. There aren't all that many players left in Italy who still use the modenese bass system. If I were to be critical, Gigi Stok's stuff could become a bit repetitive with all those bass runs, and I tended to prefer the music of Carlo Venturi, who had a tendency to repeat himself on the treble side! Problem with all of the Liscio and Filuzzi tunes are those endless triplets, which even modern players tend to favour. It would be nice to see some players break away a bit from that, but I suppose it's all part of the musical tradition.

The same could be said of French musette, and that may be what attracted me to it. A basically simple genre where the players were allowed a certain amount of licence to diversify, provided they never upset the dancers. In Scottish accordion music the players are not afforded much scope, and very few players have the bottle to experiment with drier tunings, like their Irish neighbours.

You Tube is a fascinating thing, although I'm finding that most of my posts these days are centred around what I find on it. I'm now retired so have a bit more time. As a dyed in the wool French musette freak I surprised myself by drifting into the Italian music scene, and if I was honest, I think I prefer my "new find". French musette can be a bit "stuffy", especially the modern versions of it, whereas I find the Italian music is a lot more laid back (or so it would appear). I also appreciate accordion music from the various Balkan countries, not forgetting Brazil, where the accordion is still more popular than the guitar in the northeast of the country. Brazil is full of enthusiastic young players keen to learn the popular music of their area, where the accordion still plays a fairly major role.

The thing I like about Italian accordion is the way the players just seem to take to it without feeling the need to "make a statement" about playing it. It is there for the taking, definitely not as popular as in previous years, but it is "their" national instrument. Players in the UK, and in other countries, seem to pick the accordion because they want to be different, unless they play folk music which demands its use. We then spend years trying to do things "properly", trying to impress upon others that the instrument is worth listening to, which puts us years behind the Italians, who just get on with the business of entertaining people who want to hear it, especially in the places covered by the documentaries. I don't suppose the kids in Rome or Milan think the accordion is "cool", but at least it is still popular in some areas.

Long may it last!
 

Matt Butcher

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I just wanted to say, I've finally got to watching the first half of the second videos on this thread and it's an absolute treat (for me anyway, wouldn't be everybody's cup of tea). As usual with Italian I can understand the bits where it's obvious what they're saying anyway and I can't make out the most interesting stuff (and some of the older people, I have no idea what they're saying at all). Anyway the bit I saw shows a raw version of the style that went on to be polished and refined, it has a section on the transition from diatonics to CBAs in that region, including a 3 row mixte system with diatonic/bisonoric right hand and stradella basses, there's a section linking the musical style to violin technique, a bit linking "bellows pulse" to playing for dancing... There was a bit about the fascist government as well and what they thought of the music but I couldn't even tell if they were for or against. Superb (for me) - thanks very much again for searching it out.
 

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