Canzoni della Cupa

Canzoni della Cupa is a record in two parts, or rather, two sides.

The side exposed to the sun, drying in the wind. The dusty side. The side of the parched remains after the wheat has been gathered. The side of the hard work demanded by that harvest, the side of sweat and exploitation.

 And a shadow-side, a moon-side, the side of shrubs and ghosts. The side of howls and brambles, it brings creatures to life by the moonlight, which slyly show up one by one and defy zoological classification. The side of the creatures of the Cupa, the Pumminale, the werewolf, the Bestia nel Grano, the beast in the wheat field. The side of the mule drivers, who steal wood at night, the side of eloping lovers, of apparitions.

This is a record in two parts, conceived a decade apart to let the brambles thicken and their roots penetrate the soil. To let the Dust generate Shadow.  

From the frontier of the wolf, the valleys of Irpinia and Basilicata, to the land of the coyote, the music has been imbued with a taste of Flaco Jimenez’s Texas-Mexico border in San Antonio, Texas, with Calexico’s Tucson desert, and with Los Lobos, the wolves that roam at night from Mexico to California.

Many have come with their masterly voices and instruments to the homeland alleys: Giovanna Marini, Enza Pagliara, Antonio Infantino, la Banda della Posta, Francesco Loccisano, Giovannangelo De Gennaro, the even farther Howe Gelb, Victor Herrero, Los Mariachi Mezcal, Labis Xilouris, Albert Mihai and many more, where they were welcomed by La Cupa’s production triad: Taketo Gohara, Asso Stefana and the author himself.

These songs are inspired by this world. A folkloric, rural and mythological world I have tried to depict partly relying on the pre-existing work by folk singers and composers like Matteo Salvatore, as well as on the rich heritage of rural and traditional songs, and, above all, on the community’s epic sagas, sonnets, and rhyming verses that were sung en masse, bundling voices as one, but never written down. Others I have found inside me, searching in the steps, the alleys, the brambles and the land. All together, bundled up over the years like firewood, they have become Canzoni della Cupa. Songs that have lent me warmth and roots, fear and consolation.

There is nothing reassuring in folk music, Dylan once said. And this is true. In these songs, man is exposed to the forces of the earth, to its enveloping and strangling roots, to its sharp, piercing brambles, to the forces of the night, the cliffs of a cruel and arcane nature, to the exploitation and oppression exercised on men by men. Songs leaving you exposed to human malice and to the cruelty of little communities. This music doesn’t leave out grief, mourning and separation, it does not set limits to the Feast, to the abundance and excesses bordering on death. But these are also songs that restore a relationship between sky and earth, a condition in which we often linger unaware, like sleepwalkers. Songs allowing us to feel cold, emotion, desire, fear, adventure, euphoria, joy, mourning and death, thus reminding us we belong in a world that is older than us, whose face and surface have been altered by History. Yet it is still there to reminds us that we are just men on a naked land.

The bleak earth that fled the sky.

Vinicio Capossela


CD 1 –  Dust

  1. Femmine – 3:27
  2. Il lamento dei mendicanti – 3:26
  3. La padrona mia – 3:31
  4. Dagarola del Carpato – 3:45
  5. L’acqua chiara alla fontana – 3:55
  6. Zompa la rondinella – 5:11
  7. Franceschina la calitrana – 3:46
  8. Sonetti – 5:26
  9. Faccia di corno – 3:12
  10. Pettarossa – 3:27
  11. Faccia di corno – L’aggiunta – 4:09
  12. Nachecici – 3:48
  13. Lu furastiero – 1:55
  14. Rapatatumpa – 3:48
  15. La lontananza – 2:54
  16. La notte è bella da soli – 2:19

CD 2 – Shadow 

  1. La bestia nel grano – 5:33
  2. Scorza di mulo – 5:48
  3. Il Pumminale – 4:40
  4. Le creature della Cupa – 5:33
  5. La notte di San Giovanni – 5:48
  6. L’angelo della luce – 4:59
  7. Componidori – 5:13
  8. Il bene mio – 3:37
  9. Maddalena la castellana – 4:00
  10. Lo sposalizio di Maloservizio – 5:00
  11. Il lutto della sposa – 3:00
  12. Il treno + La golondrina (ghost track) – 11:03


Vinicio Caposssela (piano, classic guitar, harmonica, percussions, spinet, accordion, bells, organ, teste di morto and voice), Glauco Zuppiroli (double bass, choir), Fabrice Martinez (violin), Simon Thierrée (violin), Alessandro “Asso” Stefana (guitars, banjo, guitarron, baglamas, charango, bass, cuatro, samples, toys, tubolar bells, lap steel, harmonica, maracas, choir), Vincenzo Vasi (rattles, tambourine, percussions, nose flute, choirs), David Hidalgo (requinto jarocho, accordion, electric guitar), Conrad Lozano(guitarron), Louie Perez (jarana), Steve Berlin (keyboard), Enrique “Bugs” Gonzales (drums), Taketo Gohara (choir, samples), Giovanna Marini (choir), Franco Maffucci “Parrucca” (classic guitar, choir), Giovanni Briuolo(mandolin, choir), Giovanni Buldo (guitarron, choir), Giuseppe Galgano “Tottacreta” (accordion, choir), Giuseppe Caputo “Matalena” (violin, choir), Relu Merisan (cymbalon), Abdel Vega (vihuela), Victor Herrero (classic guitar, percussions, vihuela), Angelo Mancini (trumpet), Sergio Palencia (trumpet), Andrés Vasquez (violin), Flaco Jimenez (accordion, choir), Max Baca (bajo sexto, choir), Ramon Gutiérrez (tololoche, choir), David Jimenez (drums, choir), Patricia Vonne (choir), John Convertino (drums), Jacob Valenzuela (trumpet), Howe Gelb (guitars, choir), Josh Baca (accordion), Antonio Infantino (cubba cubba, rattle drum), Albert Florian Mihai (accordion), Giovanni Manca (organetto), Dimitri Sillato (violin), Roger Cubero (vihuela), Armando “Testadiuccello” (voice), Pasquale Montesano(percussions), Francesco Tomacci (cubba cubba), Enza Pagliara (choir), Arcangelo Cortese (cubba cubba), Joey Burns (double bass, classic guitar, ukulele), Francesco Arcuri (saw, kalimba), Mariagrazia Zarrilli (voice), Zia Maria “Bersagliera” (voice), Francesca Galgano (voice), Skoulas Kostas(lyra), Labis Xylouris (oud, lauto), Giovannangelo De Gennaro (bagpipe, viella, choir), Rosa Pennella (vocie), Marian Serban (cymbalon, choir), Petrica Namol (double bass), Antonio Daniele (drums)