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Senza cialoma

I narrativi storichi ufficiali e i vuci subbarterni siciliani


di Marcello Messina

traduzioni in sicilianu di lauturi

Universidade Federal do Acre


marcellomessina@mail.ru

Introduzzioni
Starticulu parti r dicostruzzioni r retorica r suttasviluppu, assuciata
a na cuncizzioni paternalistica r statu e r nazzioni, ca carattirizza a narrazzioni ufficiali supra a Unificazzioni Taliana. Ssa narrazzioni, tagghiannu
curtu, j na munzignara ca cunta ca a Unificazzioni fu a campagna gloriosa
ri nesercitu e ri na nazzioni supiriori ca allibbirnu n munzeddru ri populi
arritrati ccu na mprenta militari, e cci resinu u privileggiu di jessiri taliani
(luvannuci per u rolu di suggetti attivi n storia e n pulitica nazzionali).
N virit, a accuminciari r Unificazzioni, a Sicilia e u Sud addivntunu ufficialmenti u Autru, ponnu sulu jessiri uoggetti r narrazzioni storica, ma no
protagunisti. Sparti, a narrazzioni ufficiali non parra ri tutti pari i viulenzi e
i supicchiari cunsumati contru a chiddri ca foru allibbirati.
A msica ca vogghiu apprisintari ndi starticulu mostra u ptisi ca
jesisti annintra a cunnizzioni ri subbarternitati, e u addpira artisticamenti,
raccordu cc proposta ri Francesco Festa, ca fa na littura ro Sud ra Italia
comu n locu ntrinzicamenti antagonista, propiu grazzi nusu puliticamenti
attivu d subbarternitati (Festa, 2011).

Provisional Street Justice


Mentri Festa j ntirissatu cchiossi muvimenti ri ribbellioni, Joseph
Pugliese parra ri Provisional Street Justice (Justizzia promodali ri strata)
(2008), quannu munta i graffiti ca allrdunu a statua ri Dante Alighieri a
Npuli. Ppir Pugliese, ssu tipu ri manifestazzioni, ca su pigghiati ppi atti vandalici r gruppi sociali duminanti, sunnu, na virit, tintativi ri purtari avanti
riscursi pulitici arternativi, ca putissinu riorientari u spazziu caucacentricu e
monoglossicu r statu-nazzioni ndi n locu cuirenti cch storij, cch pulitichi
e cch prtichi curturali r Sud (Pugliese, 2008:13).
A justizzia promodali ri strata assimigghia assai a na prutesta ca fu
armata no municipiu ri Castellammare di Stabia, vicinu Npuli, n 2011. I
travagghiaturi ri na mprenta navali ca jrunu a rsicu ri prdiri u s travagghiu
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Senza cialoma
Official Historical Narratives and Sicilian Subaltern Voices
by Marcello Messina
Universidade Federal do Acre
marcellomessina@mail.ru

Introduction
This paper takes as a starting point the deconstruction of a rhetoric
of underdevelopment, associated with a paternalistic concept of state and
nation, which characterises, among other narrations revolving around the
concept of Southern Italy, the official narrative on the Italian Unification.
The latter, in a nutshell, is the glorified construct of a superior nation/army
that liberates a bunch of backward people military action, and allows them
the privilege of being Italians, yet depriving them of their status of subjects
within the space of national history and politics. From the Unification onwards the South officially becomes the Other, it can only be described as an
object in historical narration, but never as an active player of history. Also,
the official narratives conveniently steer clear of all the violence exerted by
the liberating army on the people that was being liberated.
In the piece presented here, the creative potential inherent to the
condition of subalternity is explored and utilized artistically, in line with
an understanding of the Italian South as an intrinsically antagonist macroregion, precisely in virtue of an active political use of its own condition of
subalternity, as proposed by Francesco Festa (2011).

Provisional Street Justice


While Festa mainly looks at social protest movements, Joseph Pugliese
talks about Provisional Street Justice (2008) when describing the graffiti
that disfigure the statue of Dante Alighieri in Naples: according to Pugliese,
these manifestations, perceived as incomprehensible and vandalistic by the
dominant social groups, are on the contrary attempts to propose alternative
political discourses, capable of reorienting the caucacentric, monoglossic
nation-state space into a place that is coextensive with southern community
histories, politics and cultural practices (Pugliese, 2008:13).
Provisional Street Justice is closely related to a protest demonstration,
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azziccaru a testa r statua ri Garibaldi ntn rinali.


Vena ddiri ca a nizziativa pulitica r subbarterni pigghia a forma ri
nattaccu intenziunali contru smmuli ri lunit nazzionali, e precisamenti
contru narrazzioni storichi ca appoiunu lunit e i so cunziquenzi, comu
u dualismu econmicu ntra Nord e Sud. Zoccu fciru i travagghiaturi ri
Castellammare j macari cchi mpurtanti picch fu fattu n 2011, lannu
r celebbrazzioni ri lUnit rItalia. Ssi celebbrazzioni, comu fu ggi rittu ri
Monsagrati (2014), arrusbigghiaru na nova siti pp chiarimentu r storia
nazzionali. Ndi ssu cuntestu, n Sicilia e n Sud saccuminciaru a diffunniri
narrazzioni revisionisti, ppamuri rabbissari a posizzioni r miridiunali n
societ taliana.
Ssi narrazzioni foru silinziati, sbintati, e macari criminalizzati ndi tutti
i maneri. A fotuggrafa cc ssutta mostra na bannera ca fu appinnuta ri un
carusu sicilianu, Gaetano Siciliano, a Roma, n jornu r festeggiamenti (17
Marzu 2011), n stissa chiazza unni staunu facennu a procissioni (Pantheon,
piazza della Rotonda). N bannera jera scrittu Io non festeggio genocidi. La
vita bella. Cc tuttu ca ssu carusu stava mustrannu ssa bannera r barcuni
ri narbergu ca iddru ava prenotato e pavatu normarmenti, i carabbineri
arrinisceru a trsiri n cmara, siquistrari a bannera e attaccari a Siciliano.

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which dates back to 2011, in the city hall of Castellammare di Stabia, a town
near Naples. Basically, shipbuilding workers who were at risk of losing their
jobs resorted on the disfiguration of a public monument portraying Giuseppe
Garibaldi, the hero of Unified Italy par excellence, the military leader that
conquered Sicily and the continental South and facilitated their annexation
to the Kingdom of Italy.
Thus, subaltern political initiative takes the form of an intentional
attack towards the symbols of national unity, and more specifically towards
the historical narratives that legitimize the unity and all its by-products,
such as the North-South economic dualism. The gesture of the shipbuilding
workers assumes a special importance in the historical moment in which it
is situated, as 2011 is the year of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary
of the Italian Unification. These celebrations, as it has been argued, for example, by Monsagrati (2014), have triggered a renewed urge for clarification
of national history: in this context, a number of revisionist narratives have
spread in Sicily and in the South of mainland Italy, aimed at renegotiating
the political position of Southern people within Italian society.
It comes without saying that these manifestations were subjected to
any kind of attempt to silence, ridicule, or even criminalise them. The pic-

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Ssepisodiu, comu tanti autri, addimostra ca cu sarrisca a murmuririsi contru a storia ufficiali veni censuratu. Ppi chissu a revisioni storica
n campu ri battagghia, unni si cummatti pp posizzioni r miridionali e r
siciliani n societati taliana.

Senza cialoma
Comu cumpusituri, sentu ca jaiu a responsabilitati ri pigghiari n
posizzioni ndi ssa battagghia. N 2011 scrissi n pezzu ca si chiamava A bannera, e ca fu sunatu pp prima vota jornu 18 Marzu 2011, gn-jornu ddopu
i celebbrazzioni pp anniversariu. A bannera jera n pezzu ri prutesta contru
i stissi celebbrazzioni. N 2013 scrissi nautru pezzu supra a unificazzioni,
stavota usannu macari testi ri puisa. U pezzu si chiama Senza cialoma e fu
sunatu a prima vota n Brasili, a Rio de Janeiro, jornu 1 ri dicemmuru r
2013, n Festival Internacional Compositores de Hoje.
Circai i puisi accucchiati n Sicilia tra u 19 e u 20 seculu ri Lionardo
Vigo, Salvatore Salomone Marino e Antonino Uccello. Ssurtimu pigghiau
macari i puisi ri lautri ri e i accucchiau ntn libru ca si chiama Risorgimento
e societ nei canti popolari siciliani e parra d riazzioni r genti siciliani a zoccu
succiru prima e ddopu r Unificazzioni.
Lauturi di ssi puisi su pueti ri strata, genti mili, chi prrunu quarchi
vota mali, e quarchi vota bonu, ri leventi storici: ccj cc si porta a Garibaldi ri bonu picch allibbiru a Sicilia r napulitani, e c macari a cu nun
ci piaci lUnificazzioni e parra r novi patruna comu ri tiranni e oppressori.
Ju usai tri puisi: Traseru e sunnu cc, ri n pueta anonimu, ca parra r
nvasioni ri Palermu r 1849, quannu i napulitani astutaru a rivoluzzioni
caveva accuminciatu lannu arretu:
[] Traseru e sunnu cc! Senza cialoma,
nui cunsignamu, e iddi mpussissaru;
ma la gran carmara porta li trona,
ciumi cuetu abbatti ogni riparu. [] (Uccello, 1978: 141)
Lu sissanta, ri Andrea Pappalardo, ca lamenta a nvasioni di Garibaldi
r 1860:
Parru ppi lu sissanta, o mei signuri:
su' tutti virit, non su' palori!
Si jisau la bannera a tri culuri
Ccu cuntintizza e alligrizza di cori;
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ture above shows a banner displayed by a Sicilian man, Gaetano Siciliano,


in Rome, on the very day of the celebrations (17 March 2011) on the very
square were the celebrations were taking place (Pantheon, piazza della Rotonda). The banner reads I dont celebrate genocides. Life is beautiful. He
was displaying this banner from the balcony of a hotel room he had regularly
booked and paid for. Nevertheless, the military police managed to break in
the room, confiscate the banner and arrest the man.
This episode, among others, demonstrates that attempts at questioning the official history may become subject to various forms of censorship
(in this case the man was silenced and criminalized). Therefore, historical
revision reveals itself as a political battlefield, where the bone of contention
is the very position of Southern people within Italian society.

Senza cialoma
As a composer, I feel called to take a precise position in this battlefield
over history, I had already written an instrumental piece (A bannera) that
was premiered on 18 March 2011, the day after the 150th anniversary, and
functioned as a protest against the celebrations. In 2013 I decided to write a
new piece on this theme, this time based on written texts. The piece is called
Senza cialoma and was premiered in Rio de Janeiro on 1 December 2013, as
part of the Festival Internacional Compositores de Hoje.
I looked at the poems and songs collected in Sicily between 19th and
th
20 century by Lionardo Vigo, Salvatore Salomone Marino and Antonino
Uccello. The latter reunited some of the poems collected by the former two
intellectuals into a single volume, Risorgimento e societ nei canti popolari
siciliani, which is totally dedicated to the reactions to the events occurred
immediately before and immediately after Italian Unification.
The authors of these collected poems are street poets, people of the
lower classes, who express mixed feelings about the historical events: some
of them glorify Garibaldi for having liberated them from the Neapolitans;
some express disillusionment towards the Unification and describe them as
new tyrants and oppressors.
I set three poems: Traseru e sunnu cc, that expresses discontent towards
the 1949 invasion of Palermo by the Neapolitans, who suppressed in blood
a revolution started the previous year;
[] They got in and now theyre here! With no objection,
we give, and they take;
but the calm comes before the storm,
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ma non longa, quatra, a 'mmuccaturi, [...],


e la sustennu novi rrapaturi [...].(Uccello, 1978: 197)
Pp urtima, Ntra setti jorna e menzu, ri S. Di Maggio ca parra r Rivorta
r Setti e menzu a Palermu r 1866, ca fu astutata n sangu r truppi taliani,
ca ammazzaru ricini ri migghiaia ri genti:
Ntra setti jorna e menzu chi passaru,
Sbarcaru na gran parti di surdati.
Pri li muntagni li squatri scapparu,
na bona parti ni foru ngagghiati,
a chisti, mischineddi, cunsumaru,
nun ci usaru nudda piatati,
nni fucilaru e lautri n galera,
doppu finu la russa bannera. (Uccello, 1978: 239)
Ssi tri puisi misi nzemmula cuntanu a storia r Sicilia comu ri na
terra sempri assagurruta ri varij nvasuri: i napulitani prima e appoi i taliani,
raccordu cu ideologgi nnipinninnisti e autonomisti. Ndi ssu pezzu ju sacciu ca staiu ncucchiannu varij vuci subbarterni sutta u me pinzeri persunali,
ma veru j ca nun vogghiu riri ca chissa a virit: suddru suddru j na narrazzioni arternativa.

Struttura musicali
U pezzu j cumpostu ri tri sezzioni strumintali, nintermezzu strumintali curtu curtu, e tri canzuni cumposti supra i testi muntuati antura. I tri
canzuni un usanu tutti i strumenti r gruppu musicali, e ogni canzuna usa
strumenti diffirenti, puntu ca ogni canzuna p jessiri sunata ppi cuntu
s, nnipinnentimenti ri lautri sezzioni r pezzu. Chissu servi a marcari a
diffirenza ntr meu travagghiu testi, ca ponnu turnari a jessiri nnipinnenti
na quarsiasi mumentu.

Cunchiurimentu
Pp cunchiuriri, ju scrissi Senza cialoma ppamuri ri purtari avanti a
produzzioni ri narrazzioni arternativi storia ufficiali. Arrisuvv ri usari na
pocu ri puisi ri strata, ma sacciu ca p jessiri ca custring ssi puisi a cuntari
na storia ca un era a s. Ri n latu chissu j propiu zoccu vuleva fari, ppamuri
ri ffriri na narrazzioni storica arternativa. R autru latu a struttura r pezzu
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the quiet river wipes out every shelter. [](Uccello, 1978: 141)
Lu sissanta, by Andrea Pappalardo, on the dissatisfaction about Garibaldis 1860 landing and conquest of Sicily;
I am talking about the 60, ladies and gentlemen:
Its all true, no lies!
They raised the three-colored flag
With happiness and cheerfulness in their heart
But its not rectangular, its square, like a handkerchief []
And is supported by new oppressors [].(Uccello, 1978: 197)
finally, Ntra setti jorna e menzu, by S. Di Maggio, on the events of 1866,
with the bloody suppression of the seven and a half days revolt of Palermo
where tens of thousands were killed by the Italian army:
After seven and a half days passed,
A lot of soldiers landed.
The squads escaped to the mountains,
Lots of them got caught,
These poor souls were tortured without pity,
Some of them shot, and others put in jail,
After that, the red flag was over. (Uccello, 1978: 239)
The three texts are meant to narrate the history of Sicily as a land perennially oppressed by various invaders, the Neapolitans first, and the Italians
later, in line with various political agendas that look at independence or
strong autonomy for the island. Surely, there is no intention, on my side, of
proposing this as the truth, but rather of proposing one possible alternative narrative.

Musical structure
The piece is composed of three instrumental sections, a very short
instrumental intermezzo, and the three songs set from the three poems mentioned earlier. Each of the songs employs a different instrumentation which
is only a portion of the entire ensemble. In this way the three songs are also
completely independent from the piece, and can be performed separately
This is meant to highlight the difference between my work and the texts,
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runa a libbirtati ri usari i tri canzuni nnipinnentimenti luna r autra, lassannu


spazziu ppn dialugu ntr pinzeri ri lauturi ri ssi testi e i m posizzioni nnipinninnisti e autonomisti. Quarsiasi disparitati ca cci p nesciri ri ssu dialugu
un n distrarri r problema principali, ca penzu ca attruvassi allauturi r
puisi raccordu cc mia, vena ddiri u dialugu sparu ntr Nord e u Sud r
Italia (Gribaudi, 1997), ca un si porta appressu sulu narrazzioni storichi
farsi e appartati, ma cunniziona macari i scerti pulitichi e i rapporti sociali.

Bibliuggrafia
Festa, F. (2014). Oltre lemergenza: Pratiche ed esperienze di comune nel Sud
dItalia. In Orizzonti Meridiani (Ed.), Briganti o emigranti: Sud e movimenti tra
conricerca e studi subalterni (pp. 191-208). Verona: Ombre corte.
Gribaudi, G. (1997). Images of the South: The Mezzogiorno as seen by Insiders
and Outsiders. In R. Lumley, & J. Morris (Eds.), The New History of the Italian
South: The Mezzogiorno Revisited (pp. 83-113). Exeter: University of Exeter Press.
Monsagrati, G. (2014). 18612011. The celebrations in Italy and in the international
context. Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 19(1), 71-77.
Pugliese, J. (2008). Whiteness and the blackening of Italy: La guerra cafona,
extracommunitari and provisional street justice. PORTAL Journal of
Multidisciplinary International Studies,, 5(2).
Uccello, A. (1978). Risorgimento e societ nei canti popolari siciliani. Catania:
Pellicanolibri.

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that can return to be independent at any moment.

Final remarks
To summarize, I composed Senza cialoma in an attempt to contribute
to the production of narratives that are alternative to the official historical
accounts. I chose to use street poems for this purpose, but am aware of the
risks involved in picking a selection of different texts and forcing them into
a unified narration. On one hand, this is exactly what I wanted to do on
this occasion, in an attempt to provide an alternative view to the dominant
and virulent version of official histories. On the other hand, the particular
structure of the piece allows for the three songs to be conceived and performed
independently from the totality of the piece, leaving room for a dialogue
between the subaltern voices and my own attempts at unifying them within
a particular ideological framework. Any possible disparity produced within
this dialogue leaves intact the main problem, towards which my view and
those of most of the texts examined converge: that is, the imbalanced dialogue
between North and South of Italy (Gribaudi, 1997), which not only produces
biased historical accounts, but also affects policy-making and social relations.

References
Festa, F. (2014). Oltre lemergenza: Pratiche ed esperienze di comune nel Sud
dItalia. In Orizzonti Meridiani (Ed.), Briganti o emigranti: Sud e movimenti tra
conricerca e studi subalterni (pp. 191-208). Verona: Ombre corte.
Gribaudi, G. (1997). Images of the South: The Mezzogiorno as seen by Insiders
and Outsiders. In R. Lumley, & J. Morris (Eds.), The New History of the Italian
South: The Mezzogiorno Revisited (pp. 83-113). Exeter: University of Exeter Press.
Monsagrati, G. (2014). 18612011. The celebrations in Italy and in the international
context. Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 19(1), 71-77.
Pugliese, J. (2008). Whiteness and the blackening of Italy: La guerra cafona,
extracommunitari and provisional street justice. PORTAL Journal of
Multidisciplinary International Studies,, 5(2).
Uccello, A. (1978). Risorgimento e societ nei canti popolari siciliani. Catania:
Pellicanolibri.

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