David Marker, the director of the feature-length film Zampogna: The Soul of Southern Italy, will be at this year’s Italian American Heritage Festival of Iowa to demonstrate the zampogna and other traditional Italian musical instruments.
Marker, a 2009 graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, spent five weeks with his cousins in Sicily during the summer of 2007 and purchased a zampogna, a traditional Italian bagpipe. “The music was so raw and genuine,” said Marker. ”To me it was the most pure expression of what was truly ‘Italian.’ There was a real beauty in it. I felt proud that it was a part of my cultural past.”
He brought the instrument back to the United States and began to teach himself how to play it. “I knew that I had to tell the story of this music and this disappearing traditional culture — not just the culture of the music, but what the music represents, which is an agrarian pastoral culture, a handmade culture in tune with its natural surroundings that values the methodical rhythm of every day life, good and bad. The zampogna was the physical manifestation of this culture, its human expression.”
Marker returned to Italy and filmed his documentary during the summer of 2008 in Sicily, Calabria, Campania and Molise (Scapoli). His film debuted at the Kansas City Filmfest in April of 2010. The film played last year at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute and at the World Music and Independent Film Festival. The film is now available on DVD.