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Old 04-16-2019, 05:06 PM   #1
Michael Kazmierski Dunn
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Location: College: Alma, Michigan, USA / Home: Rockford, Michigan, USA
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Default For those who play the Italian Zampogna

Salve, zampognari,
Firstly, I can imagine there are not really too many pipers on this forum who play the zampogna. Nevertheless, I'm going to try my best effort to reach out to them.
I must mention the problem I'm trying to overcome. Thing is, about 90 percent of Zampogna players don't speak English, and to me, this is very disconcerting. I mean, I love the zampogna myself, but I do not speak Italian, so I guess apart from using the precarious Google Translator I'll probably fall down the dust hole unless I find people who play the Zampogna and/or ciaramella, but most importantly speak English. I'd like to have just some more people to refer to if I have questions about these instruments or to even buy some instruments.
Just a quick background that I've friended some Zampogna players, and four of these are American like I am. But, among the Italians, there were only two that speak English among my Zampogna friends specifically from Italy out of a total of maybe 5 or so. Plus, as this lovely instrument is disconcertingly obscure in this country, it is one of my bucketlist goals to try to see about making it a popular instrument, and also to entice more people to take it up (as there are only five people in America who play it, not counting me, because I don't own a Zampogna yet!) And by the way, all the research I did about these instruments was originally from Italian pages and all of which were translated into English by Google Translate. So, as an American, I know quite a bit more about the zampogna and its players than some of my English-speaking Zampogna friends, let alone those who have no Italian. Keep in mind I don't speak any Italian at all, and yet I know of ... Maria Varali! Maria's the first female zampogna player known. I haven't become friends with her, I just heard of her.
Importantly, it doesn't matter where they're from a single bit. All that matters is that they can speak at least some decipherable English. If they're from Italy, who cares. If they don't speak English, then... somebody find me a dedicated human translator please... I used to count on my opera-soprano friend-of-the-past Cecelia Brady to do it (Cecelia speaks fluent Italian and is a fluent translator both ways), but she's totally out of reach now. Lastly, this group is also open to buying and selling zampognas and ciaramellas for the English-speaking market. Most dealers of these instruments on FB don't speak English (again, that's ridiculous). Like, we English speakers have the pleasure of listening to the famous Italian opera singers, Cecilia Bartoli is my favorite among the Italians. Yet she's the same country as zampognas, and her music is still available to almost everyone. Why are these instruments way too rare? Why aren't all the zampogna CD's on ITunes or Amazon? I mean, this makes me mad. I can't believe this. Why are these Zampogna DVD's and CD's ONLY available to people who speak Italian? This isn't fair at all. I mean, if I try to contact them in English, they simply won't understand me! I'm upset about this. I'm fascinated with the Zampogna and its music, and they're excluding me specifically from this simply because I do not speak Italian?! OUCH!!!!! We are going to have to make a super big deal out of this. Literally, only four zampognari that is too small a number to even let us have the pleasure of watching and listening to zampogna recordings.
So, Please feel free to join my Facebook group I've created.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/238029253790989/
Grazie,

Michael
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:18 AM   #2
Macswegan
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Default Re: For those who play the Italian Zampogna

In all seriousness, have you considered studying Italian? It is a lovely language, and would really open doors for you if you are interested in Italian culture and music, whether opera or zampogna.
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:57 AM   #3
Michael Kazmierski Dunn
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Default Re: For those who play the Italian Zampogna

Well, you know, I'm slowly, slowly I'm afraid, I'm slowly starting to learn the language myself completely on my own. But yes, it does look like I'm going to really have to hook up with someone who knows enough Italian. I mean, here's the thing. Not to digress like stir-crazy but...
So, there was this student at my college, one year my senior, whose name is Cecelia Brady. (Note the difference in the way she spells it compared to Cecilia Bartoli for instance). Cecelia is a coloratura opera soprano singer like my absolutely favorite one called Denise Leigh, and in fact Cecelia was one of the last of the opera singers on my college campus. Cecelia has been in choir her whole life, even a soloist in several operas around here. Thing is, I seriously miss her beautiful angelic voice and most of all her translational ability, because she graduated from college and I am still a student in college, just about to graduate on April 20!
Literally, anything in Italian, whether it be lyrics to songs that accompany zampogne, or simply titles of pieces, etc, I just sent them to Cecelia and she translated them back. Far more accurate than Google... For example, "Vincenzo Forastiero a la zampogna e Antonio a la Ciaramella". Google translates it as "Vincenzo Forastiero 'TO' the bagpipe and Antonio 'TO' the ciaramella", but if I sent that phrase to Cecelia she would have said "Vincenzo 'ON' the bagpipe and Antonio 'ON' the Ciaramella". Just because a single word can have more than one prepositional meaning is what stumps Google I think. But ever since Cecelia has graduated from college last year, I can't even contact her anymore as I only have her college email. And I'm kind of figuring that, without Google Translator or unless I really really work up my Italian that my friendship with most zampognari won't last. Too bad Cecelia has graduated! She was my translator! She really should have given her Italian to me! "Cecelia, can you translate this?..." no response. She was really the last of all the opera singers and fluent Italian speakers on my college campus, which is a true rarity nowadays. So with that, here's the one and only recording I have of her amazing operatic singing voice. Note however that it is not as good as Cecilia Bartoli or Denise Leigh... I'm sure you might be familiar with Bartoli. This piece is an aria by Scarlatti:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJSlo9UeRqI
I hope you don't mind this isn't a zampogna recording! It will probably give you a sense of how much I really miss Cecelia's amazing translational ability.
That opera stuff aside (for those of you who hate opera, could just be a lack of exposure to the good singers that keeps you from liking it, as for me...), I'm finding it very hard to communicate with zampognari who also speak English in an effort for them to teach me Italian. I mostly use Google Translator now, but like I said, it isn't the most accurate and I had the most success when Cecelia taught me. You know, it was entirely Cecelia who taught me the words "zoppa" (crooked / lame / crippled), "ance" (reeds), "canna" (cane), "bordone" (drone), and "sopranina" (the high piercing drone) among other words. I knew "Zampogna" and "Ciaramella", but she also taught me that Italians use fixed solfege (I HATE FIXED SOLFEGE!) Like "bemolle", and "diesis". In all honestly and seriousness it was entirely taught to me by Cecelia, no pipers at all. I guess I should have prodded her into taking up the zampogna so she'd have an excuse to stay in touch with me! Problem is, since I am just about to graduate on the 20th, it doesn't look like I'll be able to actually pay for an Italian online class or even to hire a translator.
So it's hard for me to find a way to approach this, short of contacting Cecelia. Like, it's just too bad I cannot count on a readily available human translator like Cecelia at this point, she actually didn't care if she kept in touch with me or not. "You know, I'm not as good of an opera singer as Cecilia Bartoli or Denise Leigh, so I don't care if we stay in touch." WHAT? No, Cecelia, your voice and translational skills are amazing! Even worse, she's not on Facebook!
One thing Cecelia did do for me, however, was translate the Italian version of the zampogna wikipedia into English for me. That helped a LOT, but now it's just my goal to try to make the English version as vivid as the Italian one. Literally, these English speakers who don't know Italian know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about these instruments thanks to the brevity of this wikipedia article. Keep in mind she doesn't even play zampogna, musically she's nothing but a soprano, and one with a superlatively angelic voice.
Another problem of learning online is the fear of a language-mastery website being unfriendly with screen readers. I don't know about you but there are several sites that use mouse-only controls to navigate the site, and for blind people like me, this isn't helpful, and in fact according to the ADA this is strictly illegal (as in everything must be accessible to anyone with a disability). Perhaps these people are thinking that disabled people will have a much harder time learning Italian for example than their sighted counterparts.
But to top it off, as is the case with my favorite opera singer (the blind Denise Leigh), I have perfect pitch and a super good pair of ears myself so mastering the accent is no problem for me. It also helps with opera-related things a little as well, particularly with regard to the accent to use. Listening to accents is not only how I can authenticate a language (rather than just Americanized pronunciation), but it is solely how I mastered the Scottish accent, and how Denise mastered the Italian accent to sing those amazing Italian arias. And if you have to ask, I am not the biggest fan of British (English) accents (SORRY DENISE!), primarily because they make the speaker sound much older than they really are, never mind how youthful Denise may sound now as a 48-year-old British angel. But, learning accents has definitely helped me learn another language, particularly Spanish - in fact, besides the rarely-heard poetic lilt in the voice, the Italian accent is pretty much identical to Spanish, other than the pronunciation rules of course, from what I've gathered. I've taken Spanish since kindergarten, so maybe that will sum it up how difficult it will be for me to learn Italian...
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