The Art of Making Do in Naples
Jason Pine, Purchase College, SUNY

Anthropologist Jason Pine will present his research on neomelodica, a musical form from Naples that combines traditional songs with contemporary stories of love, betrayal, loss, and violence. Neapolitans’ artistic and economic ambitions are sometimes forced to contend with local crime forces, notably the Camorra. Exploiting the vulnerability of impoverished would-be performers, crime bosses frequently serve as managers and performance impresarios, ultimately ensnaring young singers with money and drugs to control not only their work but their lives. In his book The Art of Making Do in Naples (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), Pine recounts how his ethnographic work also depended on the careful handling, and sometimes even the aid, of these forbidding figures as he became partially caught up in a web of shadowy and complex relationships that create and foment this music.