LECCE – Daniele Durante, the genius of Pizzica, has died. The artistic director of the Notte della Taranta Foundation, which transformed Salento folklore into a genre recognized all over the world, died in his home in Lecce.
Durante passed away at the age of 66, due to a tumor that had struck him for some time, a disease he faced with courage and in the strictest secrecy. His condition had worsened in recent days as he was busy creating an innovative digital Concerto of the Taranta. He leaves his wife Francesca and children Caterina, Ernesto Niceta, Mauro and Flavio.
The leading expert in popular music of Salento, artistic director of the La Notte della Taranta Foundation since 2016, has been the energy and innovative rhythm of many editions of the Concertone starting from 1998 when opposing the conservatories he supported Daniele Sepe in the renovation work of the Salento musical tradition. In 2010 he welcomed Ludovico Einaudi into his home as well as the concert masters Carmen Consoli, Raphael Gualazzi, Fabio Mastrangelo, Andrea Mirò and Paolo Buonvino. In recent years he has collaborated on the albums of Clementino and Enzo Avitabile. And in 2013 he decided to set music, after the meeting in Melpignano with the writer Erri De Luca, the text Solo Andata dedicated to migrants. In his long career he has delivered unforgettable songs of the popular tradition with his unmistakable arrangements: Serenata, Luna Otrantina, Alla riva del mare, Pizzicarella, Suspiri.
The man who transformed Salento folklore into a genre recognized and appreciated all over the world, has built a legendary path for Salento popular culture since 1975 when, returning from London together with the writer Rina Durante, he founded the Canzoniere Grecanico Salento. Hers are the notes of the famous Southern Quistion, “manifesto, writes Durante in his biography against intellectuals (including those of the left) who instead of facing and trying to solve problems makes them banners and leads crusades to exclusively increase their power “. Critical spirit that has never failed in his long career and that led him to write in 2014 the fight song No TAP against the exploitation of the Salento landscape and in 2015 Xylella, the song denouncing the death of olive trees that he will insert in the Suspiri CD , a reflection that anticipates the dark evil that will strike him in the following years. “Suspiri e suspirando ieu m’affliu – Sighs and sighing I grieve”.
The condolences of Massimo Manera – Pres. La Notte della Taranta Foundation – “We lose the most authoritative point of reference of the popular musical culture of Salento, our deep condolences go to Daniele’s family, our sincere embrace to the Taranta family. Over the years Daniele has fought stereotypes, honeyed sentimentality and with frankness and foresight he has never escaped even the hard confrontation to affirm his ideas always projected towards the future. If today the Popular Orchestra has a recognized and identifiable sound we owe it to the precious and silent work of Daniele who loved music more than his life and continued to work for the 2021 edition until the last day “.
The artistic direction of the Notte della Taranta – For the La Notte della Taranta Foundation, Durante composed the piece Fuecu dedicated to the Focara di Novoli and in 2020 the piece Tarantaè dedicated to the rebirth of the zoomorphic divinity. During the press conference for the presentation of Concertone 2020 Durante said: “the new tarantati are not possessed by anything or anyone and equally, in search of their God, they gather by the hundreds, take a drum, dance, sing and try to entering a trance where one is not sick and does not feel sick. The culture behind these phenomena is completely different from that of possession because it is not considered a disease, it should not be treated, there is no need to be ashamed “. In 2018 he played a part of the Barber of Seville to music in a pizzica key for the special project of the Taranta in collaboration with the Valle d’Itria Festival. Always open to new experiments, he introduced the arabesque piece Lule Lule into the repertoire of the Concertone, open to contamination with new musical genres, working closely with Clementino, Gue Pequegno, Boomdabash. The Popular Orchestra he directed has conquered the theaters and squares of the world from New York to Cuba, from Seoul to Moscow.
BIOGRAPHY – Daniele Durante was born in Melendugno on 10 August 1954. Graduated in Guitar at the Lecce Conservatory. He graduated in Philosophy at the University of Salento. In 1975 with Rina Durante he founded the Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino and began research on popular music. In 1990 he published for Erreci “Canzoniere, musics, songs and tales of Terra d’Otranto”, in 1999 “Musica, drug e trance” editions Sensibili alle leaves. In 2005 he published Spartito-Io resto qui with Salento Altra Musica and in 2011 Le Mani del Sud edizioni Besa. He holds the monographic course on music and trance for the teaching of Sociology of Religions at the University of Salento. He promotes the establishment of the three-year popular music course at the Conservatory of Lecce, where he teaches “Ensemble music” and “History and aesthetics of popular music”. He has been a tenured music education teacher for years and has trained hundreds of secondary school students. Since 2016 Artistic Director of the La Notte della Taranta Foundation.
THE CORDOGLIO OF FRANCESCHINI AND BORGONZONI – «Goodbye to the genius of pizzica». this is how the Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini comments on the death of Daniele Durante, musician and artistic director of the Notte della Taranta Foundation.
«I cling to the pain of Daniele Durante’s family on this sad day when Italian culture loses a great artist and one of the greatest experts in popular music. Thanks to the commitment and passion with which he led the artistic direction of the Fondazione della Notte della Taranta, the event has become a symbol of the cultural vivacity of Puglia and the whole country – concludes the minister – and an example of extraordinary success for how it has been able to renew itself while maintaining its original characteristics ». «It was impossible not to be struck by the inspiration, genius and professionalism of this great artist, who made the Salento pizzica famous all over the world». Thus Lucia Borgonzoni, Undersecretary for Culture, comments on the death of Daniele Durante,