Squeezed between Via Casilina and Via Prenestina, Pigneto is a neighborhood where disorder creates harmony and confusion becomes inspiration. It is a triangle of streets between the Esquilino and the Prenestino, where seven-storey “palazzacci” alternate with two-storey houses that still have their gardens enclosed by railings, in line with the liberty architecture that was in vogue during the late nineteenth century. And between the latter and the former, abandoned sheds and factories alternate, testimony of a now abandoned industrial past. It is a neighborhood that surprises those who come to it by mistake, and seduces those who go looking for it.
Born around the depots of the city’s tram lines, it winds through a jumble of craft shops, warehouses and houses once inhabited by railroad workers, tram drivers and garbage collectors. Today, it is where students, artists and left-leaning activists choose to live, integrating with the historical inhabitants of the neighborhood who still populate the streets with the pride of those who know they live in a special place. Because Pigneto is not a neighborhood like many others. It is no coincidence that filmmakers like Roberto Rossellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Mario Monicelli, Dino Risi, Francesca Archibugi came to shoot here. It is a popular neighborhood, but at the bar tables there is hardly any talk of football, rather of philosophy or politics. It is a hybrid district, where cultures and identities meet, but it is also a cool neighborhood, full of murals, where trendsetters come to look for new musical and artistic trends. By day it is a mess of colors and voices with the local market in full bloom, at night it is a babel of live music venues and pubs where to hang out. And it is precisely among these places that we take you this week, to discover the music that sways among the streets of Pigneto.
Zazie nel Metro is an old neighborhood bar that retains its retro atmosphere. It is no coincidence that the legend which reads under its name is a whole program: “baretto de quartiere”, which loosely translates to “neighbourhood pub”, to reaffirm a Roman sense of identity that is still very much alive along with a simplicity that is entirely enclosed in that word, “baretto”. Here on Friday April 12th you can enjoy the enchanting theatrical and folk voice of Lucilla Galeazzi, the original interpreter of that popular Italian music of which our territory is a treasure chest and forge. Old tarantellas, distant lullabies, rhythmic Roman ballads, ancient myths sung on Mediterranean melodies will form the rich repertoire of this unusual artist who insinuates her singing between castanets and tambourines like a bewitching snake. Not only an interpreter, but also a refined singer-songwriter, loved in France and Northern Europe, where she alternates concerts and training seminars on popular singing.
And just a few hundred meters from Zazie nel Metro, at Club 55, we will make another unusual encounter, on Saturday, April 13th, with the quartet The Ship & The Swell, which will perform a concert with sounds that are not too distant from those of Lucilla Galeazzi. Here, too, boundaries are eroded, spilling over to meet ancient folk sounds inspired by the mountains and the sea. Four musicians perform with a banjo, a violin, a viola and a cello to fly over the Appalachian Mountains and the Balkans, Louisiana and the Caribbean. The intense and brilliant sound of the violin, warmed by the darker and more brooding tones of the viola, along with the cello, is lightened by the gaiety of the banjo, and is often accompanied by the voices of the musicians, whispered like a wind that hisses between the jamb and the door, or enounced as slow cantilenes evoking a distant New Orleans.
Friday, April 12th, Lucilla Galeazzi – Zazie nel Metro, baretto de quartiere, via Braccio da Montone 88 Rome.
Saturday, April 13th, The Ship & The Swell – Club 55, via Perugia 12 Rome.
Photo credits: Davide Costanzo. Info here.