Jazz Manouche in Petralia Sottana, a unique event in the south of Italy
A unique event in the centre and south of Italy, involving dozens of musicians from all over the world
At the end of August every year, in the picturesque village of Petralia Sottana, guests and locals alike look forward to the “Raduno Mediterraneo del Jazz Manouche.” This is a unique event in the centre and south of Italy, involving dozens of musicians from all over the world and involves a full immersion of music, along with social and cultural exchanges.
Held over the course of three days, characterised by a mixture of jam sessions in the mornings, and concerts and events in the afternoons. It brings together musicians who share a love and passion for gypsy jazz, and combines string instruments – guitar, bass, violin, and others typical of a gypsy band. The result is very special, producing a style similar to the American swing of the 1920s and 1930s, usually accompanied by an orchestra.
According to several sources, gypsy jazz comes from jazz-swing with some folk influences, such as the Spanish flamenco. Particularly popular in France and in Europe, it has seen a boom in Italy in recent years. A genre born from the artistic craftmanship of the guitarist Django Reinhardt, who considered its creator and the greatest exponent. The Belgian musician has made the union between the old Manouche gypsy tradition (Manouche was the name given in France to the Roma gypsy, a partially nomadic ethnic group) and American jazz possible. Among the prestigious guests who, in recent years, have attended the Manouche meeting in Petralia Sottana is Angelo Debarre – one of the greatest performers of this genre.
During the event, the historic centre of Petralia Sottana – proud recipient of the Bandiera Arancione (or Orange Flag), a recognition of quality awarded by the Touring Club Italiano – also houses other events, such as guided tours, food tastings, seminars and impromptu painting workshops.