Antonio Castrignani, from Salento to the royal court in Monaco: “One day Princess Carolina called me: Will you come to play here?”

“Origin is the mother, the land of the gannet. Maggiu cu giugnu sta fannu all’amore.” pass text Antonio Castrignani It starts like this. We are at Palazzo Grimaldi, in Principality of Monacohe is He plays at the wedding reception of Beatrice Borromeo and Pierre Casiraghi. It’s summer 2015 and the newlyweds are dancing this pinch With all the guests: she’s wearing a long white Armani dress, dressed in an elegant gray suit. It would be best to take your shoes off but that’s not Salento. It’s a royal wedding. From the fields of Salento where olives are harvested for just a few coins to the court of Monaco, from the kingdom of “sun, sea and wind” to the kingdom of today’s princes and princesses, Antonio Castrignani’s story is incredible. All of them are male. He’s the king of pizza, and the magic wand is the power of his music: a magic that overcomes cultural and affiliational barriers. that comes from the barren land under your feet and from the sun that burns your face. Today the artist publishesBabylon‘, a new choral journey where Salento traditions are intertwined with melodies and rhythms from sub-Saharan Africa, Turkey and India. Meanwhile, in 2017, Princess Carolina made the Monte Carlo Ballet available to him To create, in his musical repertoire, the new creativity of choreographer Jean-Christophe May “Core meu”. Only about ten replicas are in the Grimaldi Forum in Monte Carlo. Even at the Dubai Expo.

Tell us about the new album.Babylon“?
“Babylon” is a name A new musical geography on global topics: The relationship between man and nature, love, work, feminine. It is made by artists of the highest caliber: Sona Goberte, Enzo Avitabili, Don Rico, Badara Sec, Mirkan Dede. The title refers not to Chaos but to Babylonian Wealth: An Encounter of the Languages ​​of the World, beginning with the Dialect.

Is it also a complaint record?
It was born out of the sharing of musical experiences and insights but is also an act of denunciation. themes like Illegal recruitment and exploitation of work in the fields They are aspects that are in the record, related to my origins and unfortunately still present in the South, the actors change but the logic remains the same. Working the land for someone else for little pay.

An album that takes you back to your Salento origins?
I do not separate myself from my original. That is why I have something to say in art. My popular culture is knowledge to be shared. My mother and aunts worked in olive picking. My father was a worker. For several years, cyanobacteria, olive tree infestation, dried out Salento plants and many workers stayed indoors. This is news, but it is also the cultural history of the territory. Full of stimuli.

Does Taranta music speak to everyone?
Tarantian is a cultural tradition that must be renewed, otherwise it risks becoming material for display in a museum. The traditional music of Salento in my work is always enriched with new stories and brought into question. It is the exchange of knowledge that comes from other parts of the world. Magic is born from differences. In my case it is to be on the side of the least. It’s the dignity of the poor, screaming through music. This is Tarantian, a tradition that speaks of marginalized people who find dignity in society through ritual purification.

How did you become a musician and singer?
from self-taught. I certainly did not study at the conservatory. My grandfather played the accordion and mandolin. I started playing the tambourine and from there I met prominent figures in Salento culture. Starting with Luigi Stefani, Tarrant’s last violinist.

solo before ‘BabylonThey made it popular…
“The World of Taranta” is an electric imaginary on pizza, between flames and contemporary sounds, “Masseria Boncuri”, an emblematic place to fight illegal employment, is a powerful groove of strings intertwined with percussion that draws on the sounds of the Mediterranean. To tell the truth and exploit in the fields of Salento, Puglia, the whole world. Share Enzo Avitabile and international artists. Gambian singer Sona Jobarte is the only musician to play the African harp made from the pumpkin kora.

Instead, the voices ofBabylon“?
They work on a common thread: Salento, African, Turkish, Balkan. They widely embrace the Mediterranean in shuffling. Mine is not a popular business but a cultural polluter. I wasn’t even expecting the previous album,stirIt was successful in France.

Speaking of France, “Fumenta” Caroline of Monaco conquered …
Princess Carolina after releasing my album in FranceEncourage‘, on sounds ranging from Salento to Turkish, in short, Mediterranean cultures, was fascinated. One day I received a phone call from the Principality of Monaco: “Do you want to play here?”.

How did you react to Princess Caroline’s invitation?
I immediately thought that it was a clear consequence of demolishing all borders. enthusiastically accepted. But I remained myself. With feet firmly planted in Salento. I have been asked to play in public and private and in this spirit I found myself with my musicians at the Grimaldi Palace, at the wedding of Pierre Casiraghi and Beatrice Borromeo.

What’s it like to play in Munich Castle for Kings?
The place is luxurious. With attention to every detail. But I noticed that the reaction to my music is the same as that of my people. On the plaza as in the large Monegasque reception hall, guests dance, inspired by the deep tones of pizza and tahini. Princess Carolina knows the words by heart and sings them. I must admit that he has a particular sensitivity to art.

I got to know the resident choreographer Jean-Christophe Mayo, with whom I worked very well. The Princess made Montecarlo available to me with 60 awesome items. I see them dance to my music to create the show ‘Core meu‘ It was amazing. We even had a dance party, in 2017, in the arena of the Monte Carlo Casino on a huge stage. Then eleven times at the Grimaldi Forum which was a huge success. The last of them is from 2021. Then in the pavilion of the Principality of Monaco at the Dubai Expo.

Did you feel comfortable with this Monaco experience?
Never been more comfortable, pampered. Not with white gloves but with golden gloves, I would say. The princess attended all the recycling operations. The whole royal family came to the parade at Piazza del Casino, and after the parade, Prince Albert called me aside to thank me and take a picture together. Crazy meeting. Lots of fine detail and great tact. I was treated like a prince. At dinner with them, after the show, she spoke proudly of the peasant origins. Nobody mentioned the differences to me. This aspect is not part of the sensitivity of Carolina and the Principality. They are behind. It’s a very bourgeois aspect of my experience.

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