Wednesday, June 3, 2009

La Notte della Taranta Orchestra in Staten Island

This article also appears on our Italian Journal page.

On May 31, 2009, the orchestra of La Notte della Taranta played to an enthusiastic crowd in Snug Harbor, Staten Island. La Notte della Taranta is an annual festival in Puglia, Italy dedicated to the revival of the Tarantella Pizzica, a spinning healing trance dance to expel the poison of the mythical bite of the tarantula. The festival also features other musical genres, including world and rock.

But on May 31st, the orchestra featured the sounds of the Salento region, both ancient and recent compositions. The seven artists, under the direction of world renowned Maestro Mauro Pagani, presented the frenzied percussion, strings and evocative vocals that are the hallmarks of this tradition.

During several renditions of the Pizzica, many of the audience (myself included) couldn't resist the pull of the tarantate and poured into the aisles to dance. Each of us exorcised our personal ethereal poisons through our sweat and joy.

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