Italian folk music

GGP1558 300x225 Taranta Night: the Biggest Folk Music Festival in EuropeLa Notte della Taranta Festival is one of the most popular summer events in Italy. It is dedicated to the Pizzica, a popular Italian folk dance that originated in the Salentine peninsula in Apulia. The traditions of this dance are centuries old, but the festival only started in the late ‘90s and consists of a entire night in which many famous musicians alternate their performances with orchestras while people dance to this obsessive, hounding sound.

Galatina in Apulia is the city where this tradition started; in fact the church of San Paolo was the place where people bitten by the spider went to drink holy water from a well situated behind the church. Every year on June 29th a Mass of exorcism is celebrated here.

The Meaning

What does Taranta mean? The dance’s name comes from the tarantula spider. According to the popular belief, is considered an hysterical phenomenon caused by the spiders’ bite with convulsions and a confused physiological condition; the dance was also meant to get rid of part of the spider’s poison.

The Festival Today

Nowadays many different orchestras and cultural associations recall the tarantati (bitten people’s) dance, even if it has a deeply different meaning than the original one. Tradition, mythology, ethnology, religion and psychiatry have interwoven and merged in this amazing festival that takes place at the end of August in Melpignano in Salentine Greece. The festival was first organized in 1998 by the Union of the Salentine Greek Cities and by the Institute founded by Diego Carpitella, an Italian professor of ethnomusicology at La Sapienza University in Rome who was considered to be one of the greatest scholars of Italian folk music.

With its 400.000 spectators each year, La Notte della Taranta is the biggest European festival dedicated to folk music and it’s well worth going if you’re in Apulia in August (this year’s dates are 11-27 August, 2012).

I'm from Naples and I love representing and sharing the Italian culture around the world. I worked as an intern for Select Italy, and it has been a wonderful experience
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by Cityrat

Go to the Lab- 16th and Capp, they always have interesting art things there. Good Guy, Bad Guy was fascinating. Go to Fort Funston, and watch the hang gliders. Go to Caffe Trieste on Saturdays and listen to Italian folk music. Go to and check out all the burning man related stuff in town. If you like robots, find the SRL people. You give us no info, yet you expect us to know what you want? You want something for nothing. If you want help, we should get some sort of sob story from you. That's the best way to get help. Your life story is probably as exciting as one of those 50 lbs bricks of salt pork

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People played Israeli folk music through loudspeakers, waved Israeli, Canadian and JDL flags and held signs bearing slogans such as “Hamas stop the child abuse,” “Pick a side: Hamas or peace and freedom” and “Hamas stop the aggression.”.

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Popular Q&A

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A collection of old recordings that inspired the second folk-music boom.

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