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Music and Genocides

September 10, 2019

As part of an event organized by the association Nomus, Nicola Scaldaferri will held a conference on the relationship between music and genocides in the Ottoman Empire area. The conference will delve into some lesser-known (or completely unknown) cases, in which tragical historical events affected entire populations, discriminated against religious or ethnic basis. Musical practices bear traces of those stories, still echoing over the centuries in diasporic contexts. Visual and audio documentation – partly from the LEAV archives –  will help contextualising those cultural phenomena.
During the conference, an excerpt of Radio Genocide by Yuval Avital will be presented for the first time. In this work, the composer reworked archival sound and visual materials and propaganda broadcastings related to cases of genocide.

The event will take place in the Sala Conferenze of the Museo del Novecento at 5pm. A concert of rebetiko music will follow, featuring Emanuele Skoufas (tsouras, voice), Laura Pronestì (guitar), and Matteo Concina (percussions).

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Artistic Paths around Enzo Schillizzi

August 7, 2019

As part of Matera European Capital of Culture 2019, the Arbërësh village of San Costantino Albanese (PZ) becomes “Capital for a day” with a special event dedicated to its local artworks. In addition to street art events and exhibits, private houses and public spaces with works by Enzo Schillizzi and Carlo Levi open their doors to visitors. The event will culminate in the meeting “San Costantino Albanese as a spread art museum”. An official welcome by the authorities will be followed by two talks by Carlotta Ghiretti (LEAV, University of Milan) and Lorenzo Ferrarini (University of Manchester). A discussion with testimonials on Levi’s and Schillizzi’s activity in San Costantino  will be coordinated by Nicola Scaldaferri.

The event will start at the Casa Parco at 6pm. Free visits to public and private spaces will last from August 6th to 8th, each day from 10am to 7pm. More here.

More (Official website)

 

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The Craft of an Affective Space

March 19, 2019

As part of the course in Anthropology of Music, Giulia Accornero (Harvard University) will hold a lecture on the effects of certain audio-visual stimuli as perceived and shaped both by the web community and by the academic discourse. The lecture will take place at the Department of Cultural Heritage and Environment, University of Milan (via Noto 8, aula K32), at 16:30.

Abstract

Search for “ASMR” on Google Videos right now and you will get an astonishing forty million results; check again a minute from now, and you may get even more. ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, labels the effect that a certain category of audio-visual stimuli produces on their listeners: a “pleasurable, tingly sensation that begins in the head and scalp and moves throughout the limbs of the body, causing them to relax” (Young, 2015.)
An international, internet-based community meets and grows mainly around You Tube videos whose audio-visual content is designed to trigger the ASMR. But Wikipedia pages, websites, blogs, Facebook groups, podcasts, and iPhone applications also proliferate, sustaining a community that is not only ‘consuming’ but also inquiring, giving feedback, learning, and promoting. They provide us with what I would call a ‘vernacular theory’ of its peculiar sounds.
At the same time, the ASMR community has triggered an academic response, particularly in neuropsychology. The focus of this field on the mind-body effects that audio-visual stimuli can elicit ultimately narrows down a complex phenomenon to an automatic bodily response.
In this paper I focus primarily on the community and the academic response, concentrating on their agency in shaping this phenomenon. I ask: is ASMR a truly new feeling? How can the discourse and vocabulary around a certain sensation determines it? How has the online content given rise to a particular ASMR aesthetic that is now characteristic of a certain sonic quality? How do the visual and auditory components work together to determine how we hear?
I argue that we cannot fully account for the affective space crafted around the ASMR, as both a bodily sensation and sonic quality—and how the two might interact, unless we reconsider how the community “vernacular theories” work with academic discourse to inform the ways in which we hear and feel sound.

 

Born in 1987, Giulia Accornero graduated in Economics (BA, Università “L. Bocconi”, Milano, 2010),  Musicology (BA, Conservatorio “G. Verdi”, Milano, 2013), and Discipline Storiche Critiche e Analitiche della Musica (MA, Conservatorio “G. Verdi”, Milano 2016). She is a doctoral candidate in Music Theory at Harvard University. Her dissertation situates the developments in measured music witnessed in Italy and France in the late Middle Ages within the broader history of mathematics. Her secondary research area focuses on the technology and aesthetics of sound amplification in ASMR and Contemporary Music. Her articles are published by Pisa University Press (forthcoming), Edizioni ETS and Edizioni del Teatro alla Scala. In 2014 she founded Sound of Wander, a contemporary music season in Milan. In 2018 she founded the GEM Lab, a workshop in which Harvard GSAS students meet regularly to sing and study early musical notations.

The Legendary Epic of Kosovo and “The Song of the Wedding of Halil”

November 13, 2018

The Intercultural Institute of Comparative Music Studies of the Fondazione “Giorgio Cini” (Venice), promoted and hosted an international event dedicated to the tradition of epic singing in Kosovo, in collaboration with the LEAV, the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature (Harvard University) and the Institute of Albanian Studies (Priština). An introductory seminar has been followed by a concert featuring the greatest living performer of that tradition, the singer Isa Elezi Lekgjekaj (born 1947).

The seminar, led by Nicola Scaldaferri, has been attended by Ettore Cingano (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice), David F. Elmer (Harvard University), and Zymer Ujkan Neziri (Institute of Albanian Studies, Priština). The event also offered an occasion to present an editorial project by Nicola Scaldaferri, Wild Songs, Sweet Songs (Kânga t’egra, Kânga të buta). The Albanian Epic in the Collections of Milman Parry and Albert B. Lord.

The concert included a complete performance of The Song of the Wedding of Halil with Italian subtitles. The çiflteli player Hasan Hasani accompanied Isa Elezi Lekgjekaj, performing some instrumental pieces.

The event took place at the Fondazione “Giorgio Cini”, Island of San Giorgio Maggiore (Venice). The seminar started at 3:30 pm; the concert followed at 6:30 pm.

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Program

181031_Pieghevole_Kosovo

 

Poster

181026_Kosovo

 

Photographs by Nicola Scaldaferri, Simone Tarsitani, Gianfranco Tarsitani, and Costantino Vecchi.

“Sacred Mountains” in Viggiano

June 15, 2018

Screening and public discussion in the place of one of the pilgrimages of the film Sacred Mountains (2017).

Introduced by Vittorio Prinzi, former major of the town; with the participation of don Paolo D’Ambrosio, Rector of the Sanctuary of S. Maria del Sacro Monte.

The event will take place at the Auditorium “Giovanni Paolo II” in Viggiano (Potenza), at 6:30 pm.

Poster

The Song of the Wedding of Halil

May 30-31, 2018

Isa Elezi-Lekgjekaij (in civil records Isa Muriqi, born 1947) is nowadays the greatest epic singer in Rugova district. This area, at the border with Albania and Montenegro, is recognized as the most important repository for the living Albanian epic tradition accompanied with lahuta – the one stringed bowed instrument also known as gusle in the Slavic culture.

His repertoire includes legendary epics about the deeds of the brothers Muji and Halil, which covers several thousands of formulaic verses. The singing is based on a few rhythmic and melodic patterns, continuously supported by the instrument which revolves around a small range of pitches.

The two-days work with Isa, carried out by Nicola Scaldaferri and Giovanni Cestino, aside from video recordings of The Song of the Wedding of Halil, gave chance to conversations about some features of the performance: the relationship between voice and lahuta observed from the timbral side, and the importance of body rhythm in managing the performance and shaping the structure of the song. Prof. Zymer U. Neziri (Institute of Albanian Studies in Prishtina) provided an invaluable help in organizing the trip to Rugova, as well as in the study of the recorded material.

Moreover, this occasion was a preliminary step towards an event scheduled for November 13th, 2018, promoted by the Intercultural Institute of Comparative Music Studies, Foundation “Giorgio Cini” in Venice. In that case, Isa’s performance will be offered in a concert form, and framed by a seminar about the issues raised by proposing nowadays such kind of epic songs to a general public, the textualization of the “composing in performance” process, and a more general discussion about media documentation and living performance.

 

Photographs by Nicola Scaldaferri, Giovanni Cestino and Linda Muriqi

 


Our thanks go to Mikaela Minga, Vesel Nikçi and Zymer Syla for their help during our journey to and back from Koshutan, and to family Muriqi for their hospitality.