2. Exporting Southern Italian Festivals from South to North: The Post-1990s Tammurriata Revival
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chap ter 2 Exporting Southern Italian Festivals from South to North The Post-1990s Tammurriata Revival According to local musician, dancer, and cultural broker Giuseppe Dionisio, “attention,passion,andrespect”(attenzione,passione,erispetto)arethemain principles to bear in mind when it comes to folk traditions.1 Commenting on his thirty-year engagement with the revitalization of tammurriata festivals in his hometown of Scafati (in the Salerno province of the Campania region), Dionisio asserts that only by cherishing these values can we truly reclaim and promote our own local traditions. Because learning to appreciate and respect local cultures is a central concern to folklorists, following Dionisio’s exhortation this chapter will not only examine the renewed interest in tammurriata (both locally and nationally) in the late 2000s and early 2010s—as well as the changes brought by it to the festival scene—but also analyze the responses to thesechangesonthepartoftammurriataperformers,participants,andcultural brokers, responses that often echo Dionisio’s comment above. My goal in this chapter is to juxtapose these responses, which often reveal a concern over the ethical implications of popularizing and commercializing tammurriata, with a reflectiononthedynamicsofresignificationoftammurriata,astheycontribute torenewingtammurriataaccordingtochangingculturaltrends.Iwilltherefore explore this revitalization movement both in the Campania region and in the major northern city of Milan, while also mapping out the shifting meanings that different groups assign to tammurriata as it travels from rural to urban, fromlocaltonational,andfromsoutherntonorthernItalianmusicscenes.This 60  •  chap ter 2 transformationisevenmorestrikingifoneconsiderstammurriata’sstronglink totheruralandreligiouscultureoftheSouth(seetheIntroduction).Iarguethat rather than being simply lost, tammurriata’s rural and religious worldview is reemplacedwithinanurbanizedandglobalizedculturalcontextandaccordingly replaced by different cultural, celebratory, and aesthetic norms. At the same time, I also propose an analysis of this phenomenon that is both aware of the local tensions created by this process of transformation and attentive to, and respectful of, local voices and their worldview. Even as, like all traditions, tammurriata is constantly being redefined and re-created in the present (Bendix 1989,132),tofullyappreciatetammurriatatodayitisimportanttoknowwhere it comes from and how it got there. As local drummer Raffaele Inserra puts it in Neapolitan, “you have to know where you come from to understand where you’re going” (tu aje da sapé ’a ronne vieni e po’ saje addó vaje).2 Because festivals display the ways that a community “perceives itself and thewayitwishestopresentitselftooutsiders”(Magliocco2006,5),changesin thefestivalsettingsanddynamicshaveanimportantimpactonthegroupwho organizes the festivals, and the effects of these changes go beyond the festival time,reachingintothedailylivesofthevillageortown.Tothosewhoregularly attendthecalendricalfestivalsinCampania,itisevidentthatthetammurriata’s festival space is gradually shifting from a rural and rooted setting to an urban and global one. This growth has, on the one hand, allowed tammurriata to be knownoutsideofitsoriginallocationsandtocompetewiththepizzicafestivals for tourist revenues and European Union funds; on the other hand, the older festivalsitesarebecomingincreasinglycommercialized,andthishasoftenled to the negative reaction of the locals, who feel deprived of what Inserra calls “theessenceorsoulofthefeast”(‘ospiritod’’afesta).Differentperceptionsof whatatammurriatafeastshouldlooklikehaveinturngeneratedheateddebates among local performers and cultural brokers—debates that entail different ideas of how to best use the festival space. These politics of place ultimately illustrate not only how different views of tammurriata are being affirmed and exchanged,butalsothattheverynotionoflocalcultureanditsvalues,andthus of southern Italian local identity, is being debated. Therefore, changes in both thefestivalspaceandthefestivaldynamicsinCampania,aswellastheirexport to the northern Italian city of Milan, help us understand how different groups familiar with tammurriata performances and festivals—performers, cultural brokers, marketers, and visitors—perceive their own local culture (and their ownplace)andhowtheydecidetorepresentitwithinalargercontextofglobal consumerism and tourism. Exporting Southern Italian Festivals from South to North   • 61 Dynamics of Popularization in the Tammurriata Festival Space My initial study of the tammurriata festival space concentrated on the calendrical festivals occurring in the rural areas around the major cities of Naples andSalernointheCampaniaregion,particularlythefestivalsthatIamfamiliar with through direct participation in the late 1990s–early 2000s and fieldwork research during the period 2007–10.3 Figure 7 shows the calendrical and religiousfestivallocationsmentionedinthisbook ,suchasPagani,Scafati,Lettere, NoceraSuperiore,andMaiori.ThetownofGragnano,myhometown,iswhere several of my interviewees also reside, including drummer Raffaele Inserra. Table 1 shows the dates, names, and locations of these festivals. This list is by no means complete, since there are many religious events featuring tammurriata throughout the region. All the festivals reported above share several elements of a local festa (celebration ): they all follow the Catholic celebration calendar (from Christmas to Easter) and the Marian cycle, a series of seasonal celebrations devoted to the VirginMary,whilealsoreflectingtheagriculturalcycle,fromplantingtoharvest. Vesuvius NAPLES SALERNO Maiori Somma Vesuviana Pagani Gragnano 0 0 2 3 km 1 1 2 mi N Festival locations Mountainous areas Pompeii Scafati Agerola Lettere Nocera Superiore Figure 7. Calendrical and religious festival locations. 62  •  chap ter 2 Atthesametime,severalelementsindicatetheslowbutsteadytransformation ofthesefestivalsintoglobal-scaleevents,especiallyforthoseorganizedinmore urbanized areas. Both my...


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