Showing posts with label Cava de' Tirreni. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cava de' Tirreni. Show all posts

4 January 2020

Pino Daniele - guitarist and songwriter

Naples mourned star with flags at half-mast

Pino Daniele on stage in 1982 in the early part of his career, when he was already becoming a star
Pino Daniele on stage in 1982 in the early part of his
career, when he was already becoming a star
The Neapolitan singer-songwriter and guitarist Pino Daniele died on this day in 2015 in hospital in Rome.

Daniele, whose gift was to fuse his city’s traditional music with blues and jazz, suffered a heart attack after being admitted with breathing difficulties. Because of a history of heart problems, he had been taken to a specialist hospital in Rome after falling ill at his holiday home in Tuscany.

On learning of his death at only 59, the Naples mayor Luigi de Magistris ordered that flags on municipal buildings in the city be flown at half-mast.

Born in 1955, Daniele grew up in a working class family in the Sanità neighborhood of Naples, once a notorious hotbed of crime. His father worked at the docks.

As a musician, he was self-taught, mastering the guitar with no formal lessons and developing a unique voice, alternately soaring and soft, and gravelly to the point of sounding almost hoarse.  He named the great American jazz musicians Louis Armstrong and George Benson as his major influences but also drew deeply on the life, culture and traditions of his home city, which he loved.

Daniele taught himself how to play  the guitar
Daniele taught himself how to play
the guitar
His songs sometimes combined Italian, English and Naples dialect.  One of his best known songs was Napule E, which he wrote as a tribute to the city and its contradictions.

Daniele coined the term "tarumbò" to define his music, which he described as a blend of tarantella, blues and rumba. His lyrics often railed against what he perceived as the social injustices of Naples and broader Italian society.

He released his first album, Terra mia - "My Land" - in 1977 and his popularity grew quickly.  Only four years later, he staged an outdoor concert in Naples that attracted 200,000 fans.  His reputation was further enhanced when he was asked to be the opening act at a Bob Marley concert in Milan.

Terra mia was the first of 24 studio albums, one of the most successful of which was the 1980 release Nero a metà - "Half-black". He also recorded seven live albums and 23 singles. His last recording - Nero a metà Live - captured his performance on stage in Milan only a couple of weeks before he died. It was released after his death.

Daniele’s total record sales have been conservatively estimated at in excess of five million. He was at his peak in the mid-1990s. His 1995 album Non calpestare i fiori nel deserto - “Don’t Step on the Flowers in the Desert” - sold more than 800,000 copies, while Dimmi cosa succede sulla Terra - “Tell me What Happens on Earth” (1997) - topped one million.

He also wrote the lyrics and music, including the hit Quando - "When", for three films directed by his fellow-Neapolitan, the actor-director and comic Massimo Troisi.

Daniele in 2010, at around the time he was performing in concerts with the legendary Eric Clapton
Daniele in 2010, at around the time he was performing
in concerts with the legendary Eric Clapton
In 2010, Daniele was invited by his friend Eric Clapton to play at the Crossroads Guitar Festival at Toyota Park in Chicago, and the following year reciprocated by performing in a concert with former Cream lead guitarist Clapton at Cava de' Tirreni stadium.

Daniele was hailed by the great and good after his death. As well as receiving countless tributes from fellow musicians, including his close friend Eros Ramazzotti, the then-prime minister Matteo Renzi spoke of “an incredible voice...precious guitar-playing…” and “a rare sensitivity that was tinged with passion and melancholy that will continue to tell the story of our country to the whole world."

A service for Daniele took place at Rome's Sanctuary of Our Lady of Divine Love before his remains were taken back to Naples, where the funeral had to be moved from the Basilica di San Francesco Di Paola to the Piazza del Plebiscito to accommodate tens of thousands of fans.

Daniele grew up in the working class  neighbourhood of Rione Sanità, at the foot of Capodimonte hill
Daniele grew up in the working class neighbourhood of
Rione Sanità, at the foot of Capodimonte hill
Travel tip:

The Rione Sanità district of Naples, where Daniele was born and grew up, is situated at the foot of the Capodimonte hill and was once home to some of the richest families in Naples, as the presence of some fine palaces is a reminder. It then fell into disrepair, becoming a notorious slum area, with high unemployment and a dominant Camorra presence.  However, its air of faded grandeur attracted a number of writers and film directors to use it as a backdrop and it has seen something of a revival in recent years, with shops, artistic studios and workshops springing up, and a growing number of bars and restaurants turning into a popular area after dark. Sanità was also the birthplace of the brilliant comic actor Totò.

Porticoes line the historic main street through the centre of Cava
Porticoes line the historic main
street through the centre of Cava
Travel tip:

Cava de’ Tirreni is a fascinating historical town just a few kilometres inland from Vietri sul Mare, the seaside resort at the southern end of the famed Amalfi Coast, occupying the valley between the cities of Salerno and Nocera Inferiore.  It takes its name from its first inhabitants, the Tyrrhenians, who were descendant from the Etruscans. The focal point of the town is the long, porticoed Corso Umberto, which runs from one end of the centre to the other, eventually turning into the narrow, winding Borgo Scacciaventi, which was Cava’s 15th century shopping centre. With its nearby Benedictine Abbey, the Abbazia della Santissima Trinità, Cava de' Tirreni has been an important destination for travellers since the 17th century and was popular with poets and Grand Tourists in the 19th century.

Also on this day:

1710: The birth of ‘opera buffa’ composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi

1881: The birth of Gaetano Merola, founder of the San Francisco Opera

1952: The birth of Mafia executioner Giuseppe ‘Pino’ Greco

1975: The death of Carlo Levi, author of Christ Stopped at Eboli


5 May 2016

Mudslides in Campania

Towns and villages destroyed in natural disaster

Dramatic picture shows mud cascading down mountainside

Italy was in shock on this day in 1998 as a series of mudslides brought devastation in Campania, destroying or badly damaging more than 600 homes and killing 161 people. Almost 2,000 people were left with nowhere to live.

The mudslides were set off by several days of torrential rain and blamed on the increasingly unstable landscape caused by the deforestation and unregulated construction of roads and buildings.

Torrents of mud coursed down mountainsides in several areas between Avellino and Salerno to the east of Naples.  The town of Sarno bore the brunt of the damage but the villages of Quindici, Siano and Bracigliano were also badly hit.

The accumulation of large quantities of volcanic ash deposited by historic eruptions of the nearby Mount Vesuvius is thought to have made the mudslides particularly fast moving and the affected communities were quickly overwhelmed.

Scenes in the Sarno suburb of Episcopio was said to be reminiscent of nearby Pompeii, the city destroyed in the Vesuvius eruption of 79AD, with some streets completely buried in mud up to four metres deep.

Hospitals and schools were destroyed and volunteers joined rescue workers in digging for survivors over several days. It is believed that the bodies of some victims were never found, particularly among a significant number of illegal immigrants in the area.

Residents wade through mud in Sarno
Nearly 4,000 firefighters, troops, forest rangers and medical workers, including 80 United States marines based in Naples, helped with the rescue operation.

One factor thought to have contributed to the unstable mountainsides was the replacement of chestnut trees, which have large root systems that help hold the ground together, with hazelnut trees, which are more profitable but have much smaller root systems.

Environmentalists also pointed to the burning of trees and brush to plant commercial crops and the uncontrolled expansion of towns and villages, with parts of streams and river beds disappearing under concrete and asphalt and drainage channels often clogged with rubbish and building waste.

Many houses, apartment blocks and industrial buildings were said to be shoddily built with inadequate foundations, which meant they quickly collapsed when the mudslides hit.

The catastrophe prompted the Italian Ministry of the Environment to introduce legislative measures for environmental protection which have come to be known as Legge Sarno (Sarno Laws).

But the government was accused of responding too slowly as the disaster was unfolding, failing to issue evacuation instructions even after the Mayor of Sarno telephoned the Civil Protection Department to warn that a torrent of mud, rocks and broken trees was heading for the town.  Rescuers did not arrive until after nightfall, which meant valuable time was lost in which helicopters and other equipment could not be used.

Campania has been plagued by mudslides.  There have been almost 650 since 1918, the highest for any region in Italy.  In fact, it is the most dangerous part of Italy for natural disasters, with almost one-third of all the country's floods, landslides and earthquakes over the past 70 years taking place within its borders.

Travel tip:

Sarno is situated in an area of 500 square kilometres known as the Sarno basin, in which some 750,000 people live.  It is made up of largely industrial towns but also contains the ruins of Pompeii, some 20 kilometres to the west. Parts of the Roman city buried by the 79AD eruption of Vesuvius were unearthed in 1599 during work to alter the course of the River Sarno, although serious excavation did not begin until 1748.

Photo of Cava de' Tirreni
Porticoes line the historic main
street in Cava de' Tirreni
Travel tip:

A diocese of the Roman Catholic church from around 1,000AD, Sarno had religious ties for many years with Cava de' Terreni, a town a few kilometres from Salerno notable for a Benedictine abbey and a beautiful porticoed main street in the commercial district of what was once the most prosperous town in the area.