Music from the Lost Provinces (Cd Old Hat 1001)
There is no point in looking for this album on the shelves of Italian shops, the chances of finding it are one in several hundreds. Anyway,
all you need is a computer to get it via the Internet and come into contact with a musical world light years away from ours but extremely fascinating.
The Old Hat Records label, founded and directed by a passionate collector of vintage records, Marshall Wyatt, is based in
a small town in North Carolina. Its mission consists in preserving recordings by now forgotten artists who risk being swept away by the progressive globalization of the American music market, increasingly oriented towards marketable proposals and contemptuous of its own history.
Through patient research and newspaper advertisements, Wyatt managed to put together a wonderful collection of recordings ranging from 1927 to 1931 by non-professional musicians who worked in the area of the Lost Provinces, harsh and (for the time) unattainable lands located in the northernmost part of North Carolina, among the crevasses of the Blue Ridge Mountains; communities lived here that were practically isolated from the rest of the United States due to the lack of viable roads. These were families who survived thanks to agriculture and who found in the pleasure of making music mainly a diversion from the hardships of everyday life, through songs accompanied by violin, banjo and guitar which were sometimes joined by groups of violinists who gave life to the so-called Stringbands.
The results are extraordinarily expressive; the country-bluegrass language of the songs adapts perfectly to the descriptions of joys, problems, moments of celebration and celebration of the communities of the time: often the lyrics speak of emigration to less difficult lands in search of work, or of the solitary Hobo life that will come subsequently popularized by famous artists such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.
The transfer of these ancient 78s is lovingly handled by Wyatt; the sound quality of the record restores brilliance to the faded colors of this disappeared world, where the relationship between man and music did not undergo any type of intellectual mediation but was inserted into the natural process of life, such as sleep or food, in a dimension that today is irreparably lost.
Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.
This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.