Welcome Everyone.

Welcome to News From Italy, my blog about our Italian Adventure. Although this blog has now ceased publication I will be continuing to blog and I am sincerely hoping that my many followers here will move with me to Travel Tales blog to follow my next adventures wherever they may take me. The links to my other blogs are:-

I look forward to keeping in touch with you via them, thanks once again for all the support you have given 'News From Italy' over the years.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Musical Moment - Momento Musicale - Friar Alessandro - The Voice of Assisi

I mainly share the written word and photos on News From Italy but three years ago in February 2010 I started sharing music with a Sunday Song post which appeared on a regular and then gradually a more irregular basis.  It has been surprisingly successful and I was recently asked why it has only appeared three times over the last year.

In response I am again reviving the posting of Italian Music, as the majority of readers seem keen on me doing so, (with apologies to S who always skips the music posts and to D whose internet connection is not good enough for her to listen to them).  Musical Moment - Momento Musicale will therefore appear from time to time throughout the year, probably when I come across an artist I particularly like, or is popular in Italy.

Once such artist that I heard on the radio in Italy for the first time last Spring singing Panicus Angelicus is Friar Alessandro who has the most amazing voice. I hope you will enjoy his singing as much as I do. 

Friar Alessandro, is a Franciscan friar and a tenor singer of religious music and the first religious brother to gain an exclusive record contract with a major record label. He was born Alessandro Brustenghi in Assisi, Italy in 1978.  Alessandro started in playing music when he was just 9 wanting to becoming a percussionist. At 14 he started learning piano and organ. He also sung in choirs, but never as a lead singer. At 21, he joined the Franciscan order and sang in the order at the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli at Assisi, Italy where he worked as a joiner-carpenter. 
The friars first noticed his beautiful tenor voice, when he had to pass a vocal exam to enter the ministry. Some of his recordings were introduced to Mike Hedges (producer to U2, Dido, The Cure, Manic Street Preachers amongst others) who after hearing his voice offered to produce his album in the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London, that would include sacred music, both traditional and contemporary.
To record the album he had to take a plane to London, the first time ever that he had travelled by air. Also true to his pledge of poverty, Alessandro refused to receive any monetary compensation for the sale of the album, proceeds go to the Order of Friars Minor as a registered charity to assist Franciscan charity activities in different parts of the world. 

His debut album is called Voice from Assisi and was was released on 15 October 2012.  Relax and enjoy the tracks I have shared. 

Friar Alessandro - Panis Angelicus - The Voice from Assisi

Friar Alessandro - Fratello Sole, Sorella Luna (Brother Sun, Sister Moon)
                                        Friar Alessandro - Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace

With thanks to the following sites for Biographical details and videos.

I hope you enjoyed the first Momento Musicale of 2012, do let me know.  Have a lovely weekend everyone where ever you may be and however you are spending it. Thankyou for all the messages of support, David and I are both doing fine, just so pleased to be together again after thirty days apart! David has a long road to recovery ahead, but slowly and surely he is determined to get there. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Costa Concordia Disaster One Year Later - Costa Concordia Disastro Un Anno Dopo

I am today reposting a beautiful song that was released last March in the wake of the Costa Concordia disaster. Costa Concordia Tribute The Costa Concordia partially sank after hitting rocks, then running aground off the coast of the small Italian island, Isola del Giglio, not far from the mainland. Over four thousand people had to be evacuated and sadly there were inevitably deaths and injuries. 
Justine Pelmelay a singer from the Netherlands and Antonella Tonna an Italian pianist got together after both surviving the tragedy. The pianist Antonella was working on board the cruise liner and the singer Justine was with her partner on a vacation. The song recalls those moments when it felt like ‘Time Stood Still’ and I think it is a moving tribute. It was decided that all proceeds from the song went to the residents of the Isola del Giglio who went out of their way that night to offer shelter to the survivors of the disaster.

Il Tempo Si é Fermato - Justine Pelmelay with Antonello Tonna ( Costa Concordia )

Ma-ni strette dentro una speranza
Mani che sussurrano, una preghiera nella danza
La Luna che
illuminava i nostri "perchè"
Ma-ni, tese dentro un abbraccio
Mani che rimangono ferme ad aspettare un cenno
Il mare che
abbracciava i nostri "perchè"......."perchè"
Il tempo che scivolava via...
trascinandosi i sogni e le bugie.
Un segnale, fra pace e guerra,
fra chi scelte più non ha, fra chi le mani nell'acqua immergerà....
Con il mare stretto in un abbraccio,
dietro quel gigante che
ignorava ogni coraggio..
La vita in ogni cosa così si rispecchierà..
Il tempo che scivolava via...
trascinandosi i sogni e le bugie.
Un segnale, fra pace e guerra,
fra chi scelte più non ha, fra chi le mani nell'acqua immergerà....
Ma-ni che raccolgono un abbraccio
Ma-ni stanche e fredde per raccontare un naufragio
Il mare che per sempre ci parlerà non lo scorderà

Songwriters: Justine Pelmelay, Ronald van Driel, Marcel Schimscheimer
Italian Lyrics: Antonello Tonna
Studio: Highland studios Loosdrecht
Mix music: Hans Bedeker
Video and Voices: HD Soundstudio Jody Koewé

I have not included a translation, it is always difficult to translate songs and I think it sometimes spoils it. There are plenty of online translators available, if you have the desire to have the English words, but sadly they are also not always very accurate. My advice is just listen and imagine as ‘Time Stood Still’

On Sunday as the Anniversary of the Costa Concordia disaster approached, time stood still all over Italy. On the island of Giglio and the nearby mainland sirens were sounded and lanterns were released into the sky in memory of the thirty two people that lost their lives in the disaster.  As dawn broke the massive rock that tore the 70 metre/230 foot hole in in the ship and became embedded in the hull, was lowered back onto the reef with a memorial plaque attached to it. Relatives of those that died in the disaster were there to take part in the ceremony.

The 32 people, included two whose bodies were never found included 12 Germans, seven Italians, six French nationals, two Americans, two Peruvian crew members, one Hungarian, one Spaniard and an Indian. 
The Concordia remains on its side,  off the island of Giglio. Officials now say it may take until September to prepare the ship to be rolled upright and towed from the rocks to a port to be dismantled, an operation on this scale has never before been attempted. The cost is expected to now exceed 400 million euros. 

 Courtesy of euronewsit
For those interested the full story is well documented in the press and I have included a few links below.

Please see my explanation in the sidebar as to why it is quiet here on  News From Italy at the moment as regards posting.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Festa della Befana in Italia, Epifania 2013 - Festival of Befana and Epiphany in Italy

 La Befana vien di notte
                              con le scarpe tutte rotte
                               con le toppe alla sottana
                                  Viva, Viva La Befana! 
                          "  The Befana comes by night  
                            with broken shoes
                            with patches on the skirt 
                            Viva, Viva La Befana!  "
According to Italian tradition 'La Befana' is an old witch woman that flies in on her broom to visit children on the night between 5 and 6 January, before Epiphany, to fill the socks that are left hanging near a chimney or window. It is traditional also to leave this kind-hearted witch some refreshments, such as a tangerine, an anchovy, smoked herring or a pickled onion and of course a glass of red wine. If the children have been good they will find their stockings filled with tangerines, dried fruit, nuts, sweets and other small gifts. Naughty children will just receive a stocking full of coal!
The origins of  'La Befana' are thought to be related to old agricultural pagan traditions when the twelfth night after the winter solstice, celebrated the death and rebirth of nature, through the pagan figure of Mother Nature . The Romans believed that in these twelve nights, female figures were flying over the fields to bless future harvests. To guide them according to some was Diana , goddess of the moon related to the vegetation. The Church condemned  such beliefs, saying they were the result of satanic influence. These  stories have given rise to many stories which resulted in the Middle Ages in 'La Befana,'

According to a Christian version, one of many The Three Kings , directed to Bethlehem to bring gifts to baby Jesus, unable to find their way, ask directions of an elderly lady.  So somehow the leaving of sweets for children along the way in the hope that one of them was the Baby Jesus has linked these two events together.
I found this video on YouTube that tells the story for those of you that are able to watch, which I hope you will find interesting.
                                                    'La Befana's - Italian Christmas Story.
L' Epiphany, The Epiphany on January 6th, the twelfth day of Christmas is considered a solemn feast of obligation by the Catholic Church. The last day of the Christmas holidays and a public holiday in Italy to celebrate it will be back to school and work for everyone on January 7th.