When acclaimed actor-director John Turturro was invited to make a film about Neapolitan music, he was intrigued and traveled to Naples to meet the artists living and working there. He was utterly blown away by the abundance of talent he found, and what was meant to be a straightforward documentary quickly transformed into a wild fantasia. Passione: A Musical Adventure – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (UMe), released June 14, 2011, brings together the musical culture of Italians, Greeks, Arabs, French, Spanish, Normans and Americans in the film’s 23 songs. Passione: A Musical Adventure opens in New York on June 22nd and will play in select cities throughout the summer, including Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston and Miami.
“Napoli is one of those places where after fresh air, food, and shelter, music is an essential ingredient for the survival of the people,” says Turturro. “The performers are not just singers in the film, but storytellers. The talent I encountered was surprising, inspiring, generous, and moving.”
The artists range from Mina, a fixture of Italian pop music since the ‘60s, to Spakka-Neapolis 55, whose songs have been heard in “The Sopranos”; from Fiorello and Massimo Ranieri, two of Italy’s most beloved entertainers, to M’Barka Ben Taleb, one of today’s most important Tunisian singers; from actress-singer Angela Luce, who appeared in the films of Pasolini, Visconti, and Zeffirelli, to Max Casella, an American actor of Neapolitan ancestry who appeared in “The Sopranos” and starred on Broadway in “The Lion King” as well as off-Broadway with Turturro in “Souls Of Naples.” Performing the title track is James Senese, a master saxophonist with a heart-rending voice. Senese contributed to Pino Daniele’s first records, and Daniele, among the most internationally successful Neapolitan artists (he tours with Eric Clapton in June), is heard with “Napul’e,” probably the greatest contemporary classic of the Neapolitan tradition.
The award-winning Turturro has performed in 70+ films, among them Martin Scorsese’s The Color Of Money, Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, Robert Redford’s Quiz Show and the Coen Brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou and Barton Fink. Passione: A Musical Adventure marks his fourth film as director, following Mac (Camera d’Or winner at Cannes), Illuminata and Romance & Cigarettes. Passione: A Musical Adventure is his homage to a place where a solitary voice on the street can cause an entire intersection to break into song.
Vesuvio (Spakka-Neapolis 55)
Era de maggio (Misia/Avion Travel)
Comme facette mammeta (Pietra Montecorvino)
O’ sole mio (Sergio Bruni/Massimo Ranieri/M’Barka Ben Taleb)
Maruzzella (Gennaro Cosmo Parlato)
Malafemmena (M. Ranieri)
Don Raffae (Peppe Barra)
Bammenella (Angela Luce)
Nun te scurda (Almamegretta/Raiz/P. Montecorvino/M. Ben Taleb)
Passione (Vocal)/Passione (Instrumental) (James Senese)
Pistol Packin’ Mama (Al Dexter & His Troopers)
Tammuriata nera (P. Barra/Max Casella/M. Ben Taleb)
Catari (Fausto Cigliano)
Caravan petrol (Fiorello/John Turturro/M. Casella/Enzo Avitabile)
A vucchella (Enrico Caruso)
Canto delle lavandaie del Vomero (Fiorenza Calogero, Lorena Tamaggio, Daniela Fiorentino)
Faccia gialla (E. Avitabile, Bottari)
Dove sta Zaza (P. Montecorvino with M. Casella)
Napul’e (Pino Daniele)
Sangh’e (J. Senese)