Tuesday, August 30, 2016

"Old Country" customs.


I grew up as part of our local "Italian" community made up of immigrant families and their offspring. Like all immigrant communities (regardless of ethnic origin) the common values of ours included a strong work ethic, hope for a better family future, and grateful loyalty to Canada while holding onto traditional "Old Country" customs.

In the Italian community we were part of, traditional Italian music that was an integral part of holding onto Old-Country connections. Community get-togethers (festa's) invariably featured a Dance (Ballo), which served the dual purpose of allowing young prople to mingle prior to serious courtship and, equally important to a community of limited financial means. The Music provided affordable entertainment for the whole family.

As far back as I can remember, our family attended events put on by "Societa Ciociara" as well as other local Italian groups, each of which made up the social fabric of the immigrant community. These events and weddings always included dances, which everyone participated in - children, teenagers, couples, and grandparents (Nonni). It was not unusual to see young boys making their first awkwardcircuits of the floor with Mothers/Aunts/Sisters; and vice-versa for young girls.

The style of music reflected all regions of Italy, with an emphasis on those regions from which members had emigrated. Whether soulful Southern Italian love songs, or lively ballads of Northern Italy, "La Musica Tradizionale" was always a feature of these "Italian" community events.

There was always one or more accordions, accompanied by two or three other instruments, and the music cost was relatively inexpensive. 

I still remember the words to this song:

Quel mazzolin di fiori ........ (che vien dalla montagna)
...quel mazzolin di fiori ...... (che vien dalla montagna)
e bada ben che non si bagna, che lo voglio regalar
....e bada ben che non si bagna, che lo voglio regalar
lo voglio regalare ............. (perche' l'e' un bel mazzetto)
...lo voglio regalare .......... (perche' l'e' un bel mazzetto)
lo voglio dare al mio moretto, questa sera quando vien
...lo voglio dare al mio moretto, questa sera quando vien
stasera quando viene ..... (sara' una brutta sera)
....stasera quando viene ....... (sara' una brutta sera)
e perche' sabato di sera, lu nun e' venu' da me
...e perche' sabato di sera, lu nun e' venu' da me
non e' venu' da me ............. (l'e' anda' dalla rosina)
....non e' venu' da me ......... (l'e' anda' dalla rosina)
e perche' mi son poverina, mi fa pianger sospirar
...e perche' mi son poverina, mi fa pianger sospirar