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Vesuvius Ensemble - Lu Guarracino, Madonna de le Grazie



About The Vesuvius Ensemble:
The Vesuvius Ensemble is dedicated to the musical and cultural heritage from Naples and other parts of southern Italy. The ensemble performs songs in dialect from the Italian countryside which have been passed on orally and in writing over centuries and finally researched and recorded in the twentieth century. The songs are accompanied by Baroque continuo instruments (Baroque guitars, chitarrone) in combination with rustic string, percussion, and wind instruments typical of the region (chitarrabattente, mandolin, colascione, tammorra, ciaramella). The ensemble is led by Francesco Pellegrino, the Italian tenor who performed at La Scala and now resides in Toronto, teaching Italian Art Song at the University of Toronto.  Though a classically trained singer, Pellegrino also possesses rare first-hand experience with the traditional folk music of southern Italy, and has formed Vesuvius Ensemble as a unique North American vehicle for its performance and preservation. His band mates are Marco Cera, oboist with Tafelmusik baroque orchestra and guitarist with Polaris Ensemble, as well as Lucas Harris, the prized lutenist from Toronto's early music scene. Adding to their talents for this performance will be the versatile percussionist Ben Grossman, well-known to fans of the Toronto Consort and many other ensembles.

I canti a Maria: Music for the Madonna


The Vesuvius Ensemble closes the 2011 season, with passionate traditional songs to the Madonna from some of the many sanctuaries in the region of Naples, which, as early as the 13th century, was called a “City of Mary.” The programme celebrates a rich folk heritage of rustic dances, rhythms, feasts, processions, and pilgrimages that recall an ancient world whose seasonal traditions are still alive today. The performers will include pizziche and tarantelle – virtuosic folk songs expertly sung in Neapolitan dialect by Francesco Pellegrino to the accompaniment of rustic string and percussion instruments – as well as tammurriate, or improvised songs to the beat of the tammorra frame drum.

Francesco Pellegrino (voice, tammorra, chitarrabattente), Marco Cera (Baroque guitar, ciaramella), Lucas Harris (Baroque guitar, chitarrone). With special guest: Ben Grossman (percussion and hurdy-gurdy).

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