Enzo Fina and Roberto Catalano performed songs about Italian tradition and culture using exotic instruments to an intimate crowd Saturday in Morgan Auditorium.
The Mediterranean sounds were part of the duo’s “Musicantinca: Music and Culture from Mediterranean Italy” concert.
Some of the instruments they used were guitar, mandolin, jaw’s harp, bells, shakers and tambourine.
Fina and Catalano came into the auditorium playing clarinet and an animal horn clarinet, respectively, because they thought they would be able to attract people outside the auditorium to come see them perform.
The first song was “Mediterranea (San Giuanni and Sant’Ancilu)” a song about asking two patron saints not to ruin the harvest, in which they used a pair of small cymbals, wind chimes and jingle bells to create a sound similar to water. While playing the instruments, the duo chanted in two different Italian dialects “Keep nasty weather at bay, save our crops.”
Afterward, they went straight into playing “Mara L’Acqua- Maronna De La Grazzia, a song about the hardships in life and a prayer to the Virgin Mary. “Bendulzania (Albert Ayler Took a Hike on Mount Etna)” using mandolin and tambourine.
Fina said that the songs they performed had been passed down through generations ever since their ancestors were back in Italy.
“As immigrants, we keep the music alive,” Fina said.
They performed a song from the 19th century called “Acqua E Sali” that was used against evil energies by their ancestors.
The song had a personal connection to the duo because they dedicated the song to former United States President George W. Bush and former Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi.
“It’s like a formula against the evil eye,” Fina said. “Once we started singing this song, Bush and Berlusconi were in the government. We consider them bad souls.”
“Trance-A- Minasi” was the second part of “Acqua E Sali” and in contrary to the mellow sounds of “Acqua,” “Trance” was what they self-described as, “a hot mix of steroids and ecstasy pills.”
The duo had decided when they performed “Bena Cupa (The Lullaby of the Cyclops)” at the Getty Villa that the song was going to be completely improvised.
Fina and Catalano dedicated the song to the mythological creatures such as the Cyclops, who was found sleeping. The sound of the “Bena” had a relaxing tone similar to a lullaby.
“It was really soothing,” Natalie Lawrence, senior at Rancho Cucamonga High School, said. “It imitated snoring.”
The last two songs were “Pizzicarella” and “Pizzica Sthreusa.” Both songs were acoustic and they sang together.
The “Pizzica” was inspired by the drumming styles of North Africa, which has cultural ties to Mediterranean Italy.
“It reminded me of traditional Italian music,” Kelly Lawrence, freshman at Cal Poly Pomona, said. “It was what I was expecting when I came in.”
For more information visit musicantica.org.
Clo Hidalgo can be reached at email@example.com.