In fact he had hidden his wife’s very fine charcuterie Baku Azerbaijan in a secret place in the garden, and the urgent request of soppressate by Baku Azerbaijan soldiers is met with an invitation to serve themselves in the trunk that’s in front of them, while giving his wife a warning sign not to give herself away. In the 1960s a local folk band, “I Crissi,” took up his verses, set them to music and turned them into a kind of anthem, a song of protest and rebellion. The song became part of the local neo-folkloric scene Baku Azerbaijan and finds a new life in politicaladministrative skirmishes, but also in serenades, on ceremonial occasions such as weddings, christenings, birthdays: a universe open to the circulation of ideas and goals, to the dialogue between high culture and the culture of “the people,” to the transference, translation, and shift from the oral tradition to writing, to singing, to the stage.
Where is Baku Azerbaijan? – Baku Azerbaijan Map – Map of Baku Azerbaijan Photo Gallery
A remarkable flowering of oral texts (songs, proverbs, “stories”) occurred as the 19th gives way to the 20th century, during the great emigration. It’s a time that gave rise to songs devoted to cursing Christopher Columbus, who was held responsible for the “ruin” of villages, and in which a malediction is invoked on Naples, the port from which emigrants boarded ships that took them away. With a touch of irony, the songs point out the many changes introduced by emigrants, the dissolution of families, but also the many innovations introduced by the Americans.
Farsari and ‘mprovvisaturi were, after all, held up as, and considered themselves to be, the guardians of social order and traditional values. They were feared because they could speak truth to power; often resorting to metaphors to unmask hidden facts, to censor the “immoral” behaviour of the people, and issue troubling judgments. Even in the 1950s and until the 1970s, the last farsari, as was true in grandfather Colacchiu’s time, warned those who teased or bullied them: “Be careful and try to be good; otherwise I’ll put you in a story.”
Improvisers (‘mprovvisaturi) enjoyed respect, freedom and the power to reveal in song all that was usually hidden or said in secret; and they had the authority that came with being part of the dispossessed, of enjoying little “economic fortune.” They led decorous, though not miserable lives: Versifying didn’t yield much in the manner of bread. My friend Mico Tallarico recalls the proverb: “Poeti, ‘mprosaturi e pittasanti / Sempe moriru poveri pezzenti.” (Poets, improvisers and church painters, always died as ragged tramps.) The poets, the authors of stories and verses, the painters, the sculptors, the local artists who built or painted the statues of the saints for the churches would all end up beggars. Mastro Mico, weaving stories within stories, recalls that when he repeated this proverb to Michele de Gore, mason, who was kneading the clay to make statues of shepherds, he, Michele, would look up with a puzzled look, reflect for a moment and reply: “Fuck what they say!”
Peasants, agricultural workers, small owners, artisans, municipal employees, tailors, shoemakers, carpenters, and barbers participated in the various stages of the Carnival celebrations. Notables, professionals, and migrants who had made their fortune in America, collaborated by donating suitable clothing and various objects deemed useful and original for the masquerade. A white robe of the brotherhoods, an old jacket with upturned sleeves, a piece of coal to use as make-up for the face, and the mask was ready.
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