Rachele Andrioli & Rocco Nigro • Mimmo Epifani & The Barbers
The La notte della taranda (‘Night of the Tarantella’) festival has been held in Salento each year since 1998, with top tarantella and pizzica bands participating. As tradition has it, there is only one way for mortals to get rid of the poison of a tarantula bite: by dancing it out of themselves with breakneck whirling. This is how the name ‘tarantella’ was given to the fiery southern Italian dances in which the dancers lose themselves in passionate movements, as if they had been bitten by a tarantula.
While there is is fortunately no threat from the big spiders at Müpa Budapest, the institution will nonetheless be hosting Italy’s finest pizzica groups as part of the Bridging Europe festival. Tambourinist/singer Rachele Andrioli and accordionist Rocco Nigro previously played with some of the finest groups in the genre – including Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino and Antonio Castignano – and have now recorded three albums as a duo. The most recent one, Maletiempu, came out in 2018. What they provide at their concerts is more than simply pizzica, and extends from southern Italian dance music to Portuguese fado and Mexican ranchera. This is why Rachele is often compared to Amalia Rodriguez and Chavela Vargas.
The mandolin player/singer Mimmo Epifani received his first mandolin lessons from the musician and barber Constantino Vito – and it was out of respect for his teacher that he named the band he formed in 2004 the ‘Epifani Barbers’. Later on, at the conservatory in Padua, he would expand his understanding to embrace other genres and the music of other peoples. Over the past 15 years, he has produced four albums – the most recent one titled Putiferio – that have made him a living legend in the pizzica genre. There apparently is no other mandolinist in the world who can give a shave with equal virtuosity…