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Filicudi facts fiction and fantasy: Music CD Tracks

1.     Photographs is also the theme music for my novel by the same name. There is a certain mystery and mystique to be found in old photographs. They will inevitably transport us to a different place in time, and they awaken a deep sense of wonder, and often nostalgia. In Francesca’s case, an old treasured photograph brought her full circle to unravelling the mystery that had surrounded the disappearance of her beloved Stefano.

2.     Arriva La Mafia (The Mafia is Arriving). Mafia bosses were sent to Filicudi in May 1971 to be kept there under house arrest. The locals however strongly resisted their presence until the Government was forced to take the Mafia elsewhere. At the time there were as many military and police on Filicudi as there were inhabitants on the island.

3.     Zuccu Ranni. That our people walked arduous tracks and climbed rocky slopes to sow and gather food, and indeed raised families high up on the mountainside where the remains of Zuccu Ranni still stand, now almost entirely abandoned and silent, is nothing short of a tribute to their hardiness. In its silence and distance from other parts of the islands, it nestles on the eastern slopes of Filicudi with spirits of its past. Zuccu Ranni has captured the imaginations of most if not all of us that have taken the old track to visit it.

4.     Silver Turtles on a Blue Sea. The grace and beauty of turtles that could once be seen floating on the waters surrounding our pebbly coastline, were both a food source and a thing of beauty to the locals who once enjoyed watching their shells glittering like silver discs on the surface of tranquil seas.

5.     Grotta del Bue Marino (The Grotto of the Marine Seal). Undertones of something menacing are overlayed with the magical tinkling of a glockenspiel. Was the menace more the seal or the fisherman? We know where the sympathies of our modern day hearts will lie, but one sound plays against the other, as one considers why a fisherman with a gun would take the life of this creature. Who has not felt a sense of awe, reverence and fascination when we have sailed into this grotto, turned off the motors of a boat and in a whisper or in total silence experienced the wonder of the world where that long-ago lone seal that met such a sad end, was said to have lived.

6.     Going Home after the Dance. This lyrical piece paints a picture of light-heartedness while straggling home on the old tracks with just a little oil lamp (or the moonlight) to help to illuminate the way, and still somewhat tipsy having drunk the local wine!

7.     Orange Moon is directly related to the chapter by the same name in the novel “Photographs”. The music is reminiscent of superstitions and beliefs of old in times when nature and humankind were closely linked. In this track the presence of the orange moon is both prophetic and threatening.

8.     The Bells Church bells clearly sound at the beginning and end of this track in a pattern of three long and two short rings to announce to all residents (as is still the tradition) that one of its inhabitants (or indeed even those who were born there but later migrated) has passed away. With a glimmer of hope, and certainly of peace, the music paints the return of a loved one’s spirit to the island of his birth. The final salute of a ship’s horn can be heard in the last four notes.

9.     White Widow’s Tango was inspired by Bonica Calandra’s musings on this topic. He states that between about 1935 and 1940, many men left Filicudi to migrate and for most it would be several years before their wives could join them. In some cases, husbands never returned. Some women known as “white widows” were left to fend for themselves and their children.

10.     Ship of Destiny presents moments of deep sadness during the voyage away from loved ones left in the old world of home, into the new world that immigration was to offer.

11.     Ode to the Aeolian Islands (Sung and narrated by Aliyah Santamaria – one of the fourth generation of people from the island of Filicudi). Aliyah was 12 years old at the time of this recording. This track is a clear statement by the fourth generation that they are aware of their Aeolian heritage.

12.     The Filicudi Rap (Words, music and narration by Pablo Mustienes). The wonderful fresh positivity of youth will have you clapping your hands and joining in the refrain. At the time of this recording, Pablo was just 15 years old. Perhaps the freshness , pluck and stamina of youth is what gave our people the energy and determination to not only survive on our island, but also to leave it (many of them doing so as young people much the same age as Pablo is now or little older).

13 & 14.  Filicudi Dance Parties and Zu Santu Narrations by Maria Santamaria, Sydney Australia, in the filicudaro dialect.