Laura Biagi

Feb 19 2002

A performance of Italian Folk Songs
gathered and rearranged by Laura Biagidiscussion to follow
Presented in association with PJ Novelli and the Tuesday Night Forum Series with:

Laura Biagi: voice and percussion
Ilya Temkin: guitar, gudok, mouth harp

Biagi will perform songs from the Italian folk repertoire in the original dialects. The songs come from different regions of Italy and will be grouped into different themes: love songs, prayers, lullabies, emigration songs, etc. The performance will be followed by a discussion on the history of the Italian folk revival during the late 1950’s and 1960’s and Biagi’s position as a contemporary artist working with traditional material.

“My work is the work of an interpreter. I learned the songs both orally from the people and graphically, from scores and partitions that other scholars and musicians had previously transcribed. From the beginning, the work or revival raised two main questions: one about the functionality of the songs and, one about the concept of an originality. Both questions are still very relevant for those musicians who are interested in traditional material. The songs of the folk repertoire were associated with specific functions: there are work songs, love songs, lullabies, prayers, songs for the dead, etc. Once the songs leave their “original” contexts, how is the revivalist to behave in relation to the “original” function? In the context of oral culture, what does it mean to talk about an original performance? In sharing the songs with the audience I share the history of my country; in sharing the history I contextualize my place in it.” – Laura Biagi

Laura Biagi was born in Siena, Italy. PhD candidate New York University Tisch School of the Arts, Performance Studies. Areas of specialization: Southern Italian tarantismo,Il Nuovo Canzoniere Italiano and the Italian folk revival during the 1960’s, performance theory, medical anthropology, and music. Adjunct Professor, Italian Department (Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò) NYU.

Ilya Temkin is a performer and a researcher of Russian folk music. Areas of specialization: epic songs, minstrelsy, and instrumental traditions. Ilya plays various instruments including gusli (ancient psaltery) and lira (hurdy-gurdy), and built several reproductions of medieval archaeological finds