Spettabili tutti, Saicomè, 2016.
Legacies of Ewan MacColl, Ashgate, Farnham, 2014. ISBN: 978-1409424307 (paperback edition 9781409424314).
I met Ewan MacColl in 1987 and again in 1988: I had discovered his extraordinary songs and those of Peggy Seeger mainly through the recordings of other artists, in years in which this kind of music did not circulate much in Italy. I wrote to him asking for an interview to include in my degree thesis in English Language and Literature dedicated to the British political song. I went to London and talked to him for a day. A year later, I wrote again saying I would like to see him again. Ewan and Peggy invited me and put me up in their house for a week where I recorded a second and longer interview. Then Ewan died, Peggy went back to the States and I started working on Neapolitan folk culture and music (although I occasionally kept in touch with Peggy), so my interviews ‘slept’ for 20 years in well protected tapes. Some years ago I met in Rome professor Sheila Whiteley who encouraged me to put out these materials (more than 8 hours of conversation) and try to publish them. We got in touch with Ashgate and involved Allan F. Moore (co-editor of the book). The book includes also critical essays and unpublished photos. Peggy Seeger has provided a foreword. The interview covers a vast range of subjects, from MacColl’s life to English history, from the theatre years to the folk revival, from the Radio Ballads to the techniques of field recordings, with a detailed and complete description and analysis of the folk music repertoires of the British Isles.
In the Italian ‘articoli’ section an article about Ewan MacColl.
Gli spazi della canzone, Lim, Lucca, 2013. ISBN: 88-7096-708-1
Neapolitan Song is a world famous repertoire of popular music: born, as other urban genres, between the end of XIX and the beginning of XX century it has seldom undergone critical scrutiny. The book which will appear in Italy by the end of the year, tries to investigate Neapolitan Song in relationship to the urban metamorphoses of the city after the unification of Italy (1860) and in the light of the ideology the song brought in itself. The basic idea is that Neapolitan Song was part of a big project of modernization of the city which involved culture as well as city planning: the two worked in fact together, the second setting the streets free of the local folk culture in order to transform Naples into a real capitalist environment and, the first, providing the new social scenario with a proper form of entertainment. The Song grew as an important part of the identity of the local emerging bourgeoisie but it was, at the same time, taken up and continuously revised by the lower classes. The book tells the whole story of Neapolitan Song so far, investigating its different sub-genres, discussing its protagonists and the cultural industry that launched them, analyzing the meaning of the lyrics and the peculiarities of the music. The book is in Italian.
Nel corpo della tradizione, squilibri, Roma, 2004. ISBN: 88-89009-047
This work is the result of fifteen years of research about the folk tradition of the southern Italy in their relationship with the process of modernisation. Using a complex theoretical approach which combines sociology, anthropology and psychoanalysis, a common thread is searched in order to show how a lot of peculiar traditions, belonging to the lowest sections of Italian society and steeped in paganism, are not just the survivals of a dim and distant past but the fabric of a whole vision of the world, common to the whole Mediterranean area: centred on the body of the faithful, which becomes a ‘linguistic machine’ before the community while involved in the religious trance during the ritual, folk culture turns out to be the real story of the body in the western world, of its masks and of its mutations, that is to say the reverse of civilization, a dream of a world free from labour, anger and need. The book is in Italian.
Il Vesuvio nel motore, manifestolibri, Roma, 1999. ISBN: 88-7285-1874
After World War II industrialization in Italy was still concentrated in the northern part of the country. It was in the ’60s and in the ’70s that politicians thought factories could help solve its social problems. In 1974 a branch of the Alfa Romeo car factory was located in Pomigliano D’Arco, near Naples, in a mainly agricultural area. The impact was traumatic: many people were not able to adapt themselves to working conditions and the peculiar Neapolitan folk culture provided a strong element of resistance. ‘E Zezi Workers Group was founded on this basis: recovering old songs and street-theatre performers, workers, students, artisans and unemployed gave an alternative to alienation and a voice to political protest. The book, written for ‘E Zezi 25th anniversary, reconstructs this long story analyzing in depth the historical process, the factory and the local folk culture, the Italian political situation of the time and, of course, the theatre, the lyrics and the music of this Neapolitan group. The book is in Italian.