05 April 2011
Posted in CULTURE AND TRADITIONS
"O sole mio" - you know it, don't you? And you think it is so Italian. Well... You're wrong, for this as well as many others well known songs are part of traditon of one of most wonderful cities in the world - Naples.
If you happen to visit Venice and have a gondola trip do not ask the gondolier to sing "O sole mio". Well, I know, for many people this song is a quintessence of being Italian and living in this wonderful country. Well, nothing more wrong. The ”O sole mio” is a part of the heritage of the southern Italy, the Naples exactly, exported all over the world thanks to the exstraordinary tenor Luciano Pavarotti who played the most famous version ever edited.
Strictly speaking the Neapolitan songs are not folk music, although there are some folkloristic motifs. The joy, fatalism, melancholy, passion and thousand emotions present in souls of Neapolitans over centuries left their sign and trace over the music, creating a famous, but by many ridiculed songs, such as “Tammuriata nera”, “Torna a Sorrento” “Tu vuo fà l’americano”.The origins of Neapolitan music and songs starts in 13th century, as a spontaneous expression of the beauty of nature and difficulty of life, which in this part of Italy were in total contradiction. But the Neapolitan ballads, the way we know them today started to appear in 18th century.
This musical composition was born thanks to the poet Salvatore Di Giacomo, whose principal poetic inspirations were love – this for women, for mother, for country and beauty but as well the misery and the art of living, charismatic personages or the history itself. He first created what is called “canzone d’autore”, the authors songs. In fact the world famous “O sole mio” is exactly this genre. Written by Eduardo di Capua is probably most characteristic example of popular songs of the city of Naples. With this two writers Naples give leisure to several hundreds of melodies created by host of brilliant and sensitive poets and musicians. One of really notorious song of this period is “Ti voglio bene assai” by Gaetano Donizzeti, who wrote the song for the Piedigrotta’s festival, which intended to be a religious feast in honor of Madonna di Piedigrotta, became a synonym of Neapolitan song.
The next hundred years were for the Neapolitan music a true Golden Age. In fact at the beginning of 20th century the Neapolitan music and artist were requested in all Italians theaters as well as in the world boards. The last success “Na sera è Maggio” by Gigi Pisano and Giuseppe Cioffi in 1938 closed the legend of over 7 hundred years old tradition. The Neapolitan music even had it own festival. Since 1952, one year after the first festival in Sanremo, singers, authors and groups were meeting in Naples to sing until 1971. After ten years, thanks to organizations and work of many people the festival came back, under new name – Festival di Napoli e Nuove Tendenze. The editions of the festival stopped in 2004.
Nowadays this wonderful, melodic music is being brought out again. Young people not only in Naples, but in Vesuvius zone are founding bands, which are resurrecting great, old traditions.
Hilton Sorrento Palace
When staying in wonderful Sorrento you may have occasion to hear some of the old, good Neapolitan songs. And from our amazing hotel Hilton Sorrento Palace you surely can make many interesting trips discovering the history, culture traditions and immense beauty of this incredible land.