La Ballata della Vucchiara

ovvero Tutto il miele è finito! 

 

by Raffaele Giura Longo

 
concavoeconvesso

The aim of the competition is to celebrate, commemorate and spread awareness of one of the lesser known rare poetic, ironic and satirical writings by Raffaele Giura Longo.

In recent years there have been many different public and editorial initiatives that document and spread the research and study work of Giura Longo.  His political thought and relevant activity as a historian made him one of the most illustrious and well-known personalities of the city of Matera and Basilicata in Southern Italy.

All those who knew him will remember his witty and subtle irony, which only rarely appeared on paper in poetic form, as in the collection of Matera stretta, Saturday night epigrams (with drawings by N. Filazzola, Arti Grafiche Matera Stretta, 1983), and in the (unpublished) text from 2000 of an improvised theatre and music performance entitled Concavo & Convesso. This text, part prose and part verse, tells the story of the ancient district of the Sassi di Matera from its origins to the present day in a semi-serious satirical way.

Part of this text, La Ballata della vucchiara ovvero tutto il miele è finito!, is proposed as a text which may either be set to music or used as inspiration for the Concavo & Convesso competition. The Ballad, in metred verse, is full of references to the recent history of The Sassi di Matera, describing real people, and stories of the saints after whom churches and places in the city have been named, stories ranging from the mundane to the extraordinary.  

part of installation by Marisa Saponaro

 La Ballata della Vucchiara

Matera 2001

(detail)

La ballata della vucchiara

ovvero tutto il miele è finito! [1]

 

 

(extracts)

 

 

 

Concavo è il favo                                    Concave is the honeycomb

ma è spesso convesso.                         but it's often convex.             

E se il miele è dentro                            And if the honey is inside

io c’entro, io c’entro!                              I go in! I go in!

T’inguacchi le mani                               You're gonna get your hands dirty

ma dentro rimani.                                  but inside you stay.

Se spingi la faccia                                   If you push the face

nessuno ti scaccia                                  nobody's chasing you away

com’un cane vecchio.                           like an old dog.


……………………………………………                                  ……………………………………………


Tutti quei massi                                     All those boulders

mi sembrano i Sassi                              they look like the Sassi

mi sembrano messi                              seem to me

per esser concessi:                                to be granted  [2] :

non sono caverne,                                 they're not caves,

è facile averne                                        it's easy to get

e quelle grotte                                       and those caves

son tutte rotte.                                       are all broken.

 

……………………………………………                                  ……………………………………………

 

Ma san Pietro Barisano                       But Saint Peter Barisano [3] 

ci è sfuggito dalla mano                     slipped out of our hands.

e San Pietro Caveoso                           and San Pietro Caveoso

è piuttosto rumoroso;                          it's pretty loud;

la Madonna della Bruna                     the Madonna della Bruna  [4] 

qui si assonna fino all’una;                 here he sleeps until one o'clock;

San Giovanni lava i panni                   St. John washes clothes

e li asciuga con l’acciuga.                  and dry them with anchovies  [5].

 

……………………………………………                                ……………………………..………………

 

 

 


 

[1] The Ballad of Vucchiara (honeycomb in Matera dialect) or All the honey is finished! the author refers to Tutto il miele è finito by Carlo Levi (italian writer, painter and political), a travel story in Sardinia and not in Basilicata like the famous novel Cristo si è fermato a Eboli, where he tells about his exil ordered by the fascist gouvernament in Aliano, near Matera, in 1935 and 1936.

 

[2] here the reference is to the concessions for the restoration for housing purposes of the Sassi houses, ancient quarters of the city of Matera, abandoned in the 50s and then returned to the centre of the debate on the city with an international competition for urban and environmental restoration in 1975.

 

[3] San Pietro Barisano is a church in the Sassi of Matera. All the names of the saints mentioned are names of churches or places in the city; sometimes they are here personified in an ironic key and represented as characters who wander around the city and adopt its customs. Or - as in the case of San Pietro Caveoso rather noisy and more ahead of the scourged Christ consoling himself with ice cream - the author wants to sarcastically criticize the 'modern' use of the ancient quarters, reduced to a mere commercial background for bars, pubs and restaurants, that have made the Sassi hostage of mass tourism at the expense of their historical and cultural value.

 

[4] Our Lady Bruna patroness of the city

 

[5] the author refers to the popular tradition of the procession of St. John: in particularly dry years, a salted anchovy was put in the mouth of the statue of the saint, in the vain hope of provoking a great thirst and thus encouraging the arrival of rain.

105
Create a FREE Website