Sidmouth FolkWeek – sun, rain, sea and song

Sidmouth, Devon, England

Sidmouth, Devon, England

Happiness … a folk festival set in a patchwork bowl beside the sea.

Early August means FolkWeek when Sidmouth, in Devon, ties bells below her knees, plumps her seafront with craft stalls, and flies a few tunes up her hillsides.

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The music wrapped around the roots of Naples, Italy

I wrote this piece in April 2016 about the richness of the music in Naples. This is an updated version – improved I hope – with a range of YouTube links at the end.

The Phraser

A busker in Naples, Italy A busker in Naples, Italy

History makes music … it carves out life’s edges for the musicians to find.

Little wonder then that Naples, full of passion and secrets, is carpeted with song, with great singers and orchestras, and with the drift of the mandolin, of the saxophone and of jazz.

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Naples loves music

A look back (first published 10 February 2015)

The Phraser

Buskers in Naples Buskers in Naples

Naples loves to have music – classical music, world music, new music, Neapolitan songs – music from palazzo to piazza, music that breaks your heart and throws you up to the sky all at once.

Take a stroll down Via Toledo any day of the week and the chances are that somebody somewhere will play you a tune and they’ll play it well.

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Naples in 10

A look back (first published 2 December 2014): an attempt to catch in a handful some of the history that has shaped Naples, Italy – a city whose music and tailoring still fashion many of us … often without us even knowing.

The Phraser

Pulcinella on the lungomare in Naples Pulcinella on the Lungomare in Naples

Punch-drunk but still standing Naples has borne the attentions and abuses of history with steely grace.  Today she is like the coffee she serves – undiluted and unapologetic.

Here’s an attempt at a ten point profile of the city.

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The music wrapped around the roots of Naples, Italy

A busker in Naples, Italy

A busker in Naples, Italy

History makes music … it carves out life’s edges for the musicians to find.

Little wonder then that Naples, full of passion and secrets, is carpeted with song, with great singers and orchestras, and with the drift of the mandolin, of the saxophone and of jazz.

Continue reading

Naples, Italy: the loss of Pino Daniele

Pino Daniele - singer, adored by Naples, died suddenly January 2015

Pino Daniele

Waves of emotion can hit you from any distance – one washed right over me this time two years ago. I was thousands of miles away from the event that caused the outpouring of emotion … but I knew that it mattered.

The ‘event’ was the sudden death of the singer Pino Daniele on January 4th 2015, and the city whose heart split open was Napoli. Facebook wept with tributes. I could feel the pain from wherever I sat.

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Naples, Italy: on its way to the New Year

Image from a t-shirt design by 'Officina Flegrea'

Image from a t-shirt design by ‘Officina Flegrea’ – off.flegrea@gmail.com

In the summer of 2014 we arrived in our new home on the outskirts of Naples.  We left this autumn.  Two years in total, two years in which we were privileged to see places many Neapolitans themselves never get the chance to visit.  Some of the sights we saw were outside the city but many were squeezed into its narrow streets.

This post, mainly of photographs, is a glance at the context, at some of the neighbourhoods and corners, that frame a few of those places that were in Naples itself.

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