"The jews-harp can make the world a better place" - The marranzano specialist Luca Recupero

DAN MOI Clemens Voigt & Sven Otto GbR
2015-04-10 00:00:00
"The jews-harp can make the world a better place" - The marranzano specialist Luca Recupero -

Luca Recupero - Jew

Luca Recupero works as a musician, concert organizer and workshop leader for Sicilian Marranzano jew's harps. As organiser of the Marranzano World Festivals in Catania he started a reflection process on the cultural heritage of the Marranzano in Sicily. In his role as musical ethnologist he began to search during the past 10 years for the roots of the Jew's harp music in Sicily. Today he is seen as central player in the network and an ambassador of the jew's harp tradition in Sicily.

"My musical roots lie in Rock and Blues and in the experimental music scene. I didn't learn to play the Sicilian Jew's harp, the Marranzano, in Sicily but rather did so in Amsterdam in 1996 during my Erasmus studies. I got to know the Swiss musician Antenna Tony Monorail and played a lot of music with him. It was strange, the further away from Sicily I went the more I discovered about the musical traditions of Sicily." Luca Recupero, a trained E bass player, learned little by little how to play a variety of musical instruments from a different cultures including, among others, Indian music, learned how to play the Tabla and immersed himself in the Gamelan music of Indonesia. In the year 2000 he did a Master in music ethnology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. "These musical excursions into other cultures raised a desire in me to return to Sicily and to search for the musical roots of the local Marranzano music. Today I am located between the worlds, between the traditional and the experimental elements in music." says the Sicilian, born in 1973.

"I believe the Marranzano is an instrument to connect worlds, planets, and galaxies with each other. The Jew's harp creates a resonance in your entire body. Along with the voice the Jew's harp is the only instrument, where the musician is the actual source of the vibration and the vibrating element." That is particular to the Jew's harp, that its sound can bring people in contact with themselves and with the universe. Luca confirms, "I think that the Jew's harp has the ability to make the world a better place."

For more than ten years, Luca Recupero has devoted his energies to making the population of Sicily again aware of the Marranzano and to re-establish this tradition as a valuable part of Sicilian culture. In Catania he organizes Marranzano workshops, concerts with Jew´s harp virtuosos like Leo Tadagawa and Tran Quang Hai, and the Marranzano World Festival (MWF). The MWF is completely dedicated to the Marrazano, the local and global styles of playing it. Since 2005 the festival takes place in Catania every two years and by now attracts Jew's harp fans from all over the world. "Through the Marranzano, people get to experience their own culture and at the same time also learn about different other cultures. The Jew's harp comes from the past but equally follows a course to the future, this is what makes the instrument fascinating in my view. It is almost a sacred intersection between worlds."

Besides, Luca Recupero remains an active musician, amongst others in the formation "Ipercussonici". The band was founded under his leadership in Catania in 2002 . From a musical point of view, the music of Fela Kuti and of Rosa Balisteri meet at Ipercussonici - Ipercussonici moves between completely different musical traditions, yet they always return to the music of Sicily and set out to develop a music of the future through this balancing act. Their style ranges from Blues, Reggae and Rock but is also influenced by modern music developments such as rap and electronic music. So far the group has published two albums: Tutti pari (2008) and Carapace (2013). Both albums may be considered as a manifesto against racism, for peace and for cultural diversity.

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