Dances with Spiders: Crisis, Celebrity and Celebration in by Karen Lüdtke

By Karen Lüdtke

for hundreds of years, the ceremony of the tarantula was once the one remedy for these 'bitten' or 'possessed' via the mythic Apulian spider. Its sufferers needed to dance to the neighborhood tarantella or 'pizzica' for days on finish. at the present time, the pizzica has back to the limelight, bringing to the leading edge problems with functionality, gender, identification and overall healthiness. This booklet explores how and why the pizzica has boomed within the Salento and in other places and asks no matter if this present popu- larity has whatever to do with the historical ritual of tarantism or with the purpose of convalescing health and wellbeing. whereas own tales and reports could determine the latter, an essential shift has seemed within the Salento: from the disagreement of existence crises to the colourful advertising and get together of a neighborhood feel of identification and celebrity.

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Additional resources for Dances with Spiders: Crisis, Celebrity and Celebration in Southern Italy (Epistemologies of Healing)

Sample text

The pizzica, for example, draws its contemporary power from associations with historical tarantism, frequently seen to be rooted in Salentine territory. Attempts at deconstructing such links challenge music’s selling power, its mystic appeal and spiritual magnetism. Steven Feld (2000: 154) points to ‘world music’, moreover, not only as a discourse, but also as a fundamental zone of activities and representation involving ‘intersubjective clashes for musicians, recordists, industry players, journalists and academics’.

Secondly, the approach taken may be seen to achieve no more than documenting the last vestiges of tarantism. Such criticism needs to be taken seriously. The temptation of continuity is highly seductive, as historian Peregrine Horden (2000, 2003) warns, and it would be reductive to consider the small number of remaining tarantate as representative of ‘tarantism’, seeing that not only its protagonists but also understandings of the term tarantism itself have undergone and continue to undergo incessant changes.

He leaves the chapel with heavy, tormented strides, as if immune to those around and seemingly not quite present. Now there is a small group with tambourines and other instruments just outside the chapel restlessly playing pieces of Salentine music. Voices ring out, repeating one of the well-known hymns of the tarantate: ‘Santu Paulu meu de le tarante’. Their songs evoke the tarantula, St Paul and Galatina, but are mostly cut short, as if in nervous anticipation of an interruption they would rather preempt.

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