Monday, December 11, 2006
Traditional Christmas music
The most common Italian Christmas sound is the bagpipes. A particular atmosphere is created by the Zampognari , the shepherds who play the bagpipes. During the nine days that precede this holiday, the shepherds from nearby mountain areas stroll around the streets filling them with carols. They always go in pairs; one plays the zampogna (goatskin bagpipe) and the other the ciaramella (a wooden flute). The melodies are adapted from old hill tunes. Modern Zampognari wear traditional outfits of sheepskin vests, leather breeches and a woollen cloak. Legend says that the shepherds entertained the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem. Today, the Zampognari stop before every shrine to the Madonna and every nativity scene.