In a technologically advanced world, there is a tradition of the past that survives, in fact revived! The Cantastorie (The Storyteller). l’Unione Cantastorie was born, a project promoted by the Sicilian and Calabrian participants, following a meeting held in Paternò in March, with the aim of creating a reference point for the South for all of those throughout the world involved in keeping this tradition alive.
“It all happened spontaneously. We welcomed the invitation to go to Paternò extended by Franco Occhipinti, President of the Ragusana Association Gli Ultimi Cantastorie and Cettina Busacca, niece of the famous Ciccio Busacca, a recognized artist who also collaborated with Dario Fo. Sicily, which boasts a centuries-old tradition of storytelling through music, has been promoted for candidacy into UNESCO World Heritage. The way to achieve this recognition is long and complex. Among the requirements, it is necessary to document the history of the art of storytelling through song and the daily of this figure. Not easy! From here we have decided to create another project: to gather the world’s singer/storytellers in a single entity, namely the l’Unione Cantastorie.”
What is your ultimate goal?
“We have more than one goal: to bring this figure back to life with the advent of the new technologies and become the point of reference for the songwriters in the international scene, while also helping to gather the necessary documentation for presenting the application to Unesco. Not only that, ours is also a cultural contribution to this land.”
What do you mean?
“The storyteller has always existed. In tribal civilizations he was the holder of memories: through these stories, he passed down the customs and traditions of ancestors to younger generations. Even today, we represent the link between past and present, between historical memory and contemporaneity. Only we have evolved: we use modern languages and technologies to revive popular traditions. We are all the result of the effect of storytellers.”
The home of storytellers is located in the south between Calabria and Sicily. Why is that?
“The region of Sicily recognizes the value of this figure as an non-material part of its heritage. While it boasts a long tradition, also Calabria has had its prominent exponents in the past. Geographically, Calabria and Sicily are at the center of a millennial history. We have the ambition to bring it to the center of the international context and to network with other popular cultures around the world.”
A pretty ambitious project …
“Yes, but we are convinced of representing a novelty in the contemporary art scene. We will support the candidacy with Unesco with live performances. It is already taking place in a dozen festivals. We will bring small samples of tradition. A peculiarity of our art is that it does not need a mega structure. In addition, our performances last up to 15 minutes.”
Can you tell us more about the program?
“We are working … I should say Calabriasona, the circuit supporting artists of popular Calabrian music, is working towards becoming the introductory festival of this new network.”
Who can join the Cantastorie Union?
“Anyone who wants to support the project! You don’t have to be artists.”
We’ll just have to wait to see how this story evolves ….
If you are interested in entering the network, you can contact the Cantastorie Union by writing to email@example.com