The fire glowed against the soot covered walls, blackened from years of work. I watched Ignazio’s hands deftly manipulate a piece of metal as streams of sparks flew illuminating his weathered face. The sound of the hammer echoed throughout the dark room, flattening the piece of iron, giving rythm to this ritual: the birth of the Marranzanu. As if by magic, an inanimate object becomes a musical instrument, ready to provide solid accompaniment to a friend’s song, ring out over the crowds of summer festivals and come to life in the mouth of its owner.
I met Davide by chance, two years ago. I had just arrived in Australia and was trying to find musicians for the collaboration that would become ‘Santa Taranta’, the band that brought the Italian folk revival to Australia.
I have known Mauro for years. Our mothers were work colleagues, and we often hung out together as teenagers, playing at being musicians. He played several instruments, including the accordion and the guitar. We both had long hair (yes, I once had long hair!) and we performed together in local rock bands.