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Neapolitan Postcards

The Canzone Napoletana as Transnational Subject

Edited by Goffredo Plastino and Joseph Sciorra

Neapolitan Postcards gathers a diverse group of international scholars to investigate unexplored transnational aspects of the intimate yet globally popular canzone napoletana. Performed and beloved worldwide in almost every language, the style had hits such as “Funiculì funiculà” (1880) and “’O sole mio” (1898) which sold millions of copies. These hits fueled the tradition’s spread across the world over the course of the twentieth century with the eventual popularity of covers by singers and musicians of all music genres and styles, from popular music to opera and jazz.

This book is the first scholarly work that considers the specific complexities of the international Neapolitan Song scenes through case studies from Argentina, England, Greece, and the United States, employing analyses of compositions, iconographical sources, international films, mechanical musical instruments, performances, and recordings devoted to the canzone napoletana.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 266Size: 6 x 9
978-0-8108-8159-4 • Hardback • June 2016 • $95.00 • (£65.00)
978-0-8108-8160-0 • eBook • June 2016 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
Goffredo Plastino is reader in ethnomusicology at the International Centre for Music Studies, Newcastle University, UK. He has published widely on folk and popular music, field recordings, and jazz.

Joseph Sciorra is director for academic and cultural programs at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College (City University of New York). As a folklorist, he has published on religious practices, material culture, and popular music, among other topics.
Foreword: Neapolitan Postcards
Martin Stokes
Chapter 1: Echoes of Naples
Goffredo Plastino
Chapter 2: A Mediterranean Triangle: Naples, Smyrna, Athens
Franco Fabbri
Chapter 3: The Neapolitan Sound Goes Around: Mechanical Music Instruments, Talking Machines, and Neapolitan Song (1850–1925)
Anita Pesce
Chapter 4: The Folk Within: On Some Neapolitan Productions in Early Twentieth-Century
Italian-American Records
Giuliana Fugazzotto
Chapter 5: New York City Neapolitan Music from the Calandra Institute’s Mark Pezzano Collection
Rosangela Briscese and Joseph Sciorra
Chapter 6: You Can Go Home Again, and Again: Santa Lucia Luntana, the Film
Giorgio Bertellini
Chapter 7: Diasporic Musings on Veracity and Uncertainties of “Core ’ngrato”
Joseph Sciorra
Chapter 8: Napoli in Buenos Aires: From Canzonetta to Tango Canción
Ana Cara
Chapter 9: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Transatlantic Stereotypes 1880s–1950s
Paolo Prato
Chapter 10: Blues in the Bay: The Bluesology of James Senese and Raiz
Alessandro Buffa and Iain Chambers
Afterword:Neapolitan Postcards and Metaphorical Materiality: Ontologies of Intimacy
Philip V. Bohlman
Repertoires are traditionally studied in relation to their native habitat. Much as that is needed, it does not tell us the whole story. That's because many of them, in time, develop transnational dimensions. An understanding of how, when, and why that happens yields extraordinary insights into the nature of the music itself, and that of the people who, for any number of reasons, choose to establish a relationship with a repertoire which should in principle be foreign to them. This book, devoted to the Neapolitan song tradition, is a brilliant example of this new approach, one that will hopefully set both a standard and a trend.
Marcello Sorce Keller, Institut für Musikwissenschaft, Universität Bern

Neapolitan Postcards announces a paradigm shift just as important as the one initiated by Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic two decades ago. These sophisticated essays—themselves trans-Atlantic in origin—tell of a diasporic intimacy centered on Neapolitan music’s Mediterranean, African, Arab, and circum-Atlantic creolized sound. I cannot recommend this book too highly.
John Gennari, associate professor, University of Vermont, author of Flavor and Soul and Blowin’ Hot and Cool