The 41st season of the Woods Hole Folk Music Society will continue on Sunday, October 21 with a performance by AcquAria, a Sicilian vocal and percussion duo featuring Michela Musolino and Vincenzo Castellana. The concert takes place at 7:30 PM in Community Hall, 68 Water Street in Woods Hole.
The rich musical tradition of Sicily includes many songs that speak of the sea, sing its praises or tell of work and adventure on the water. Ms. Musolino, a vocalist known for her performances of Sicilian Roots Music, and Mr. Castellana, a noted percussionist in the Sicilian tradition, have created a vibrant repertoire of song, percussion, movement and recitations which illustrate the intimate connection of Sicilian history and culture to the sea that surrounds it. Both performers sing, dance and play traditional drums; Mr. Castellana also plays unusual Sicilian instruments such as friscalettu (pennywhistle) and marranzanu (jaw harp), as well as evoking sounds of the sea by blowing on shells or swirling rice grains inside a tambourine.
Before beginning each song the duo will explain its meaning or storyline. Many tell compelling and evocative tales of Sicilian legends. Perhaps the most well-known is "Colapisci," the legend of a Sicilian boy who loves swimming so much that he turns into a fish. A similar theme is explored in "U Pisci Spada," in which ill-fated lovers are immortalized as swordfish. Historic events, such as the deadly earthquake and tsunami which shattered Messina and Reggio Calabria in 1908, are also commemorated in song. These sad tales are balanced with music of celebration such the tarantella, a lively traditional dance in which Ms. Musolino and Mr. Castellana move while playing tambourine, beating castanets and shaking leg bells.
PEN America prizewinning poet Peter Covino says of the female vocalist: "Can you imagine the wild soulfulness of Tina Turner and the earthy yet ethereal voice of Neapolitan songstress Teresa De Sio combined? Well imagine that; then think even more vibrancy, more urbanity, in songs that somehow also feel impossibly intimate... No wonder Michela Musolino has such a devoted underground following; full diva hood seems scarily within reach."
The next WHFMS performances will be November 4 with The Reunion Bluegrass Band.