La Notte della Taranta (Taranta Night) – Salento peninsula, Italy
This is the biggest festival of folk music in Italy. In the space of 20 days, the best groups from the Salento music tradition alternate on stage in 15 different rural villages in the so-called Greek Salento, an enclave of Greek (or Grika) speakers in the southern Italian region of Apulia, culminating in the last night of the festival after which the whole festival is named – an original production directed by some of the most important names on the international music scene, such as Daniele Sepe (first edition 1998), Piero Milesi (director of two editions, in 1999 and 2001), Joe Zawinul (2000), Vittorio Cosma (2002), Stewart Copeland (2003), and Ambrogio Sparagna (2004 & 2005).
The original idea was to keep the “pizzica” alive and to breathe new life into it by bringing it into contact with other musical genres, from world music and rock to jazz and classical symphonies. Pizzica is the music which once accompanied the ancient ritual for curing the imaginary bite of the tarantula, the poisonous spider. According to tradition, the pizzica was played obsessively on drums to free the victim from the trance she had fallen into.
The obsessive rhythm of the music and dancing have survived to this day, and among the most avid players of the pizzica are the Orchestra Popolare La Notte della Taranta (Taranta Night Folk Orchestra), around 60 of the best traditional musicians brought together by Ambrogio Sparagna, which remains the only orchestra of its kind anywhere in Italy.
Now one of the top events on the Italian summer music calendar, with over 100,000 visitors, the last night is broadcast live via satellite and is covered by many of the main national and international news programs.
date: 2005-08-12 - 2005-08-27