Sefardi Music Comes Back Home
Jue Jun 28 2012 (8 Tammuz, 5772)
Yael Amato with her colleagues Gennaro Vanacore, Roberta Paturzo and the Ensamble Musicale Giovanile in the old Napoli Jewish Quarter.
At the San Gennaro All'Olmo-Fondazione G. Battista Vico and Santa Maria delle Anime del Purgatorio-Fondazione Opere Pie-Napoli-Italy
It existed a flourished Jewish Community in the old Napoli town in Italy, we are in the south of the boot and over 500 years ago' a flourished Sefardi Community was an important part of the town population. The "Giudecca" was formed from an older and a newer area from Forcella to Quertiere San Lorenzo, from Via Limoncello to Spogliamorti passing from San Marcellino, it all was once a Jewish Quarter which finally was put to an end during Inquisition time, when most of these Jews who came mainly from Spain, were again expelled also from the Kingdom of South Italy, and Naples was its Capital at the time. The Sefardim had high education and many of the families had Rabbinical and Kabalistic traditions which from Israel brought to Spain and to Italy. They were called also Spaniards-Spagnoli in Italian. We would be surprised to know how much of these Sefardi traditions is still alive nowdays and the Naples' Old Giudecca is full of these examples, as well as all South Italy, but often it is not known from where these traditions came from and is called "Folklore" instead. This Folklore however was the remaining of once a very observant Community who was forced to abandon the religion but did all efforts to hide the meaning of the religious observance by keeping them into family traditions, where often when shared within the Community ( still remaining as Conversos ) where looked as simple Folklore and not pointed as Jewish Traditions or Observance. Many Conversos Communities are still alive in the surrounding of Naples, where Jews who could not flee in other Countries, often not wealthy enough to chose this option, went to Rode, Salonikka, Izmir and the Americas, or North Europe, and therefore had the possibility to remain openly Jewish. To assume that Conversos are not Jewish is rather common, but a group of these the Anusim, who had intentionally kept all the most important Rabbinical Traditions did this intentionally as they knew that this way the door would be opened, they were conscious to remain Jews however forced to be no-longer part of the Jewish Nation. Many of these were also Spanish-Portuguese, the Sefardi which from Spain went to Portugal and later emigrated to Italy.
Miracles still come live now days as in the Giudecca, Napoli centre, in occasion of the Festa Europea della Musica and Musequality World Busk 2012 june 21-27, the Ensemble Musicale Giovanile, lead by violinist Angela Yael Amato and her colleagues Gennaro Vanacore flute and Roberta Paturzo guitar, were engaged in a series of concerts for the first time after over 500 years where the Sefardi Music was brought back to the old Jewish Area. The two main locations where S. Gennaro all'Olmo, in Via S. Gregorio Armeno and Santa Maria del Purgatorio ad Arco in Via Tribunali. The first venue has all the aspect of a former small Synagogue which likewise many others became Churches. We should not forget that the Jewish presence in the area started much earlier than the Inquisition times and that from Nocera to Napoli several Communities had a flourished period where they remained until the Christian enforcement, obliged them ether to leave or to hide.