La Notte Della Taranta (The Night of the Taranta) is the biggest festival in Italy and one of the most significant folk events in Europe.
It takes place in Salento and is specifically dedicated to the rediscovery and promotion of traditional Salento music, the pizzica, and its fusion with other musical languages, from world music to rock, from jazz to symphonic music.
Culminating in the Concertone, the grand concert in Melpignano held on 26th August 2023, the festival is designed in an entirely original and innovative way through the presence of a Concert Master. They will reinterpret the “classics” of the local musical tradition with a group of around thirty of the best revival musicians in Salento, along with many exceptional national and international guests.
After last year’s extraordinary success, which welcomed no fewer than two hundred thousand visitors, the public can expect to experience a unique cultural event that combines the past with the future.
The festival will take place, as usual, in the area of Grecìa Salentina and the municipalities of Lecce, Galatina, Cursi, Alessano, Nardò, Ugento, Racale and San Vito dei Normanni. This area is considered a cultural district in which differences and relationships form a productive network in the field of culture and music.
In addition to the usual concerts organised during the touring festival, various other projects and initiatives will take place in all major regional, national and international venues that to varying degrees are involved in protecting, raising awareness of and preserving traditional folk music and dance.
Launched in 1998 by the Union of Municipalities of the Grecìa Salentina and the “Diego Carpitella” Institute, over the last twenty-five years the festival has enjoyed extraordinary growth in terms of size, attendance and cultural prestige.
Several milestones have marked its development. In 2000, the Itinerant Festival was born. This is a round-up of the most representative groups of the Salento pizzica scene, which today involves no fewer than 20 municipalities and attracts a total of almost one hundred thousand spectators, embodying a great journey towards the Concertone. In 2004, the “LA NOTTE DELLA TARANTA” Folk Orchestra was born, acting as an eclectic cultural ambassador and active all year round in Italy and around the world. Since 2010, the organisation has been in the hands of LA NOTTE DELLA TARANTA Foundation.
Following two years of restrictions due to the Covid-19 health emergency, 2022 was considered the year of rebirth. The event ran as normal and welcomed back its audience, and the Concertone was broadcast by the RAI 1 television station in the late evening.
The project for 2023 has been planned to follow on and boost, under an innovative light, this event that was born in the territory of Grecìa Salentina and has since developed considerably, involving different geographical areas, both nationally and internationally.
La Notte della Taranta is not just a big summer concert. It is a broader cultural project that for years now has been considered an international model to be imitated in the field of institutional policies for the enhancement of local ethnographic heritage.
The project intends to: ensure the recovery, reinvention and promotion of traditional folk music; foster exchange and dialogue between the subjects involved in the rediscovery and artistic elaboration of folk materials; encourage meeting and communication between different cultural realities; and foster young people’s interest in their roots.
During the final evening, the orchestra, conducted by the Concert Master who will be appointed by the Foundation in collaboration with all those involved, will be composed of over twenty fantastic musicians (playing the tambourine, percussion instruments, drums, wind instruments, guitars, mandola, violins, viola, cello, organetto and accordion) and singers. They will perform classic pieces of Salento folk music and some new compositions by the Concert Master, a fusion of traditional and electronic sounds. The 2023 edition will also feature dance. On the stage extensions, dancers from Salento and beyond will perform traditional dance and choreographies reworked by an internationally renowned choreographer.