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The recovered storyteller

She is known as Giannina, she’s all black, her eyes are dark with deep blue shades, she is a storyteller. When she sings she seems transforming into another creature and the drama of her voice comes straight inside and moves the soul.
Giannina is perhaps the last survived among a group of wandering musicians who, years ago, traveled to the houses in the province of Teramo and Ascoli to sing stories. They were stories especially about Saints, Sant Antonio, Sant Gabriele and Saint Lucia, drawn from the holy cards, images sold in the markets of her area, then diesille (prayers for dead beloved) and "party" songs drawn from the traditional national folk repertoire. She was not alone, she travelled and sang with her husband who, before the marriage, was a storyteller with a friend. Then the choice to follow him and to start a life as storyteller. They were five hundred people moving, by bus or by bicycle, and they have been doing this job for over 40 years, alternating it with occasional works but keeping it as a main activity or at least as the primary preference.
I can get in touch with this treasure of a woman thanks to Gianfranco Spitilli (www.bambun.webnode.com), an anthropologist of Teramo that during my stay in Abruzzo provided valuable and interesting meetings. Since a while Giannina is among his favorite area of “study”. This term may be considered cool, but for this kind of jobs it is necessary to have much love for the" subjects of study. " When Giannina sings Gianfranco  always closes his eyes and moves.
We stay with Giannina a whole morning in the house of her family in Garrufo di Campli: it rains and her stories cool and warm the heart in a rapid alternation. Her husband's death, which occurred a few years ago, seems to have discouraged a lot Giannina, and her attitude towards life has certainly changed.
"If my husband was still alive we would have been certainly still around singing," she says without hesitation, but then everything ends ...
She claims a better past, made of simple things that no longer exist, she especially speaks about welcome that once was more hearty, she tells about when she went singing in the houses: "The fact of being a woman provided me more attention" she says, and so also for her husband who used to travel always with men, thanks to her everything became easier.
When I explain to her the reason of my visit and what I'm doing, somehow she feels close to me because I tell travel stories and it comforts her the fact that, unlike her, I have a house with wheels that allows me to be independent from people hospitality, while she had to obtain accommodation in other people houses. My natural reaction was comforting her telling that it seems the times haven’t changed so much at least under this aspect because I have found a lot of hospitality but, maybe, it is a different kind of hospitality, or just times are different.
Even though she was a woman with a great energy, her attitude is pessimistic and nostalgic. When she tells about her past she makes long silent pauses and with her hands she takes his head as a sign of desolation. But at her side there is Francesco, her adored nephew who, not by chance, plays the accordion, knows the repertoire of storyteller, sings like his grandfather and even has an old Fiat 500 ... when Giannina looks at him, the face changes expression and a wriggle of madness and love makes her dreaming a story, and so she continues to sing.
Thanks to: Giannina Malaspina and her family, Francesco Di Carlo, nephew of Giannina (the CD of his group "A'SSALTARELLA" there are two tracks dedicated to grandparents); Gianfranco Spitilli who, thanks to Francesco, "discovered" Giannina, and now I could “discover” her also.
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