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World On Your Street: The Global Music Challenge
Philip Contini
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Describe the atmosphere and live music at a local pub, restaurant, festival, church or temple, club night.... inspire other people to check it out!

Musician: Philip Contini

Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Instruments: Voice, guitar

Music: Italian/ Neopolitan

HOW I CAME TO THIS MUSIC          WHERE I PLAY          A FAVOURITE SONG Click here for Hande Domac's storyClick here for Mosi Conde's storyClick here for Rachel McLeod's story

Listen  Listen to 'Tu Vuo' Fa L'Americano', sung by Philip Contini, from the album, Philip Contini sings Santa Lucia Luntana (Elm Row Productions, 2001)

Listen  Listen (2'42) to Philip Contini talk about his music

'When I went to Naples on holiday I'd go to the old music shops and I'd bring back sheet music to learn the songs - primarily for my father, to keep him happy!'

How I came to this music:

My father is Neapolitan - born in Naples, he came over to Edinburgh in the early 1950s. He was passionate about Neapolitan songs so as a young lad growing up in this Neapolitan-Scottish household I always heard Neapolitan music. My Dad had 45s and LPs which he played to console himself because he was far away from his homeland. In the dark of winter these songs would brighten up his life.

I grew up with these songs. Then I joined the local catholic church choir at St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh. They had a choirmaster called Arthur Oldham, famous in Europe for teaching big choirs how to sing. From about the age of 7 or 8 until my voice broke when I was about 13, I sang in this choir and we travelled round Europe. The choir was famous at the time, and I just loved - singing!

I went back to the guitar after that whilst also learning these Neapolitan songs that my father loved so much. When I went to Naples on holiday I would go to the old music shops and bring back sheet music and learn the songs - primarily for my father, to keep him happy!

Neapolitans love to tell stories, with or without songs. But all their songs tell a story. The stories of the songs have been distilled to the point where every word is vital. The story is told in very few words - but a song can tell of someone's broken heart, of the love for our mother or father when they die, or the love of our children. But more often, it's about the love between sweethearts - of young men longing to be with their loved one or being spurned. So the songs start full of anguish and pain, and then the guy says, 'Och, well, to hang with it! She was alright, she was nothing really special!' Ha ha!

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