Anne's Blog

A “Map of Naples”: Pino Daniele

Date: January 27, 2015 - categories: , , - 2 Comments

I missed Woodstock – but I was in Naples on January 7th for the addio to Pino Daniele. How not to be with the napoletani for their final tribute to beloved poet/songwriter Pino Daniele who had sung his praises to Naples in a blend of traditional Neapolitan music, blues and rock?

That morning, there had been a funeral in Rome – where the Neapolitan singer had died on January 4th of a heart attack at the age of 59 – but “his” Naples merited the final addio that evening, over 100, 000 joining for a leave-taking as it should have been: applause as his coffin was carried into the piazza, all united in singing his songs after the funeral Mass on a stage in the piazza center.

Stage in the center for Mass

Stage in the center for Mass

Applause for Pino in Piazza del Plebiscito

Applause for Pino in Piazza del Plebiscito

The Pino Daniele tributes were evident as soon as I arrived in the city: in front of the train station, the edicolaio sold Pino Daniele photos as well as newspapers and magazines at his newsstand. Posters covered city walls – and black and white funerary announcements, too. Pino Daniele’s songs blared out of loudspeakers from stores, backdropped the clatter of cups and saucers in coffee bars. And anyone I asked was happy to share their “Pino Daniele” memories.

Francesco sells Pino photos along with newspapers

Francesco sells Pino photos along with newspapers

Posters back vendor stands on Naples streets

Posters back vendor stands on Naples streets

Funerary notices remember Pino

Funerary notices remember Pino

"Napul e' mille culur" - on an obituary notice

“Napul e’ mille culur” – on an obituary notice

Espresso..with Pino behind

Espresso..with Pino behind

At a tiny grocery store near my B&B, owner Patrizia – knitting as she awaited customers – put it simply: ” I grew up with his music – it marked my life stages.” At the shop next door, I stopped to chat with Salvatore, surrounded by limoncellos and pasta varieties. “He’s a map – of Naples – and he brought us to the world,” he summed up

Patrizia:  " I grew up with his music - it marked my life stages."

Patrizia: ” I grew up with his music – it marked my life stages.”

Salvatore in front of his shop of Neapolitan specialties

Salvatore in front of his shop of Neapolitan specialties

Across the piazza, I stopped to take a photo of a tribute poster, street-cleaner Vincenzo munching a sandwich in front of it. For him, Pino Daniele “was an idol for us all.” At a nearby street market Lorenzo, a vendor of old stamps and coins, remembered Pino Daniele this way; “He always sang in the true napoletano dialect, bringing it to another level, making it live on.”

Vincenzo: " He is our idol. He'll always be with us."

Vincenzo: ” He is our idol. He’ll always be with us.”

Salvatore: "He carried Naples out to the world."

Salvatore: “He carried Naples out to the world.”

At a nearby market stall, four old friends shared their feelings with me. For Gennaro (named after Naples patron saint – a name as common there as Francesco is here in Assisi): “An idol for us all – for anyone living here in Naples”. Pasquale lauded him as “ an artist who lived the ‘Neapolitan reality’ in music” and for Giuseppe, “He’s a legend. Always will be.” Salvatore murmured, “ We lost a piece of our ‘napolitanita’ – but he’s not dead for us – only dead as a person.”

Pasquale, Gennaro, Giuseppe, Salvatore remember Pino

Pasquale, Gennaro, Giuseppe, Salvatore remember Pino

I felt that “napolitanita’ “- the quality of being Neapolitan, or “Neapolitan-ness” – that night at the gathering of over 100, 000 people for Pino Daniele in the spacious Piazza del Plebiscito. This was the last time he’d “take the stage” there: he’d performed in the piazza more than once and many at the funerary Mass wistfully remembered those concerts. The gathering on January 7th turned into yet another concert – of sorts – though this time, his fans did the singing.

Piazza del Plebiscito, January 7, 2015

Piazza del Plebiscito, January 7, 2015

Guitars and song near Piazza del Plebiscito

Guitars and song near Piazza del Plebiscito

I had to be there with the napoletani

I had to be there with the napoletani

At the end of the Mass, all joined as one voice in singing his “Napul’e’“ as some of his greatest hits were played for the public over the loudspeaker. Some in the crowd held up their favorite Pino Daniele records, cassettes and CD’s; a young man lifted a guitar in homage high above the crowd and a few teen-agers stretched out blue and white Naples soccer team scarves over their heads. One young man held up his cell phone so a friend could hear and join in with him as he belted out the song.

Singing and saluting

Singing and saluting

All join for Pino

All join for Pino

Pino Daniele linked all across the ages: the young of today the young of yesterday sang as did mothers and sons, mothers and daughters, the guards in front of Palazzo Salerno on the piazza, a stooped elderly lady in a wheelchair, embracing older couples, hugging younger ones, the emergency rescue volunteers in front of the ambulances. Tears streamed down cheeks and umbrellas opened as a few raindrops slid down, scenes in perfect harmony as thousands sang together “Quanno chiove” (in napoletano, ‘When it rains”). Voices joined in “Voglio o mare”, Amore Senza Fine, Yes I Know My Way, A Testa in Giu.

All ages in piazza

All ages in piazza

Faces show the emotions

Faces show the emotions

Mother and daughter united in "Pino emotion"

Mother and daughter united in “Pino emotion”

Tears overcome many

Tears overcome many

"He accompanied us all our lives - we had to be here"

“He accompanied us all our lives – we had to be here”

United in Pino tribute

United in Pino tribute

 Tears come to many

Tears come to many

Umbrellas up, here and there for light drizzle / and "Quanno chiove"

Umbrellas up, here and there for light drizzle / and “Quanno chiove”

Once again, Piazza del Plebiscito was his and so was all of Naples – and always will be. As Enrico, Neapolitan jeweler put it: “Pino Daniele is Naples. Naples is the real artist, the mother of all; he’s an expression of her. And only in Naples could the Piazza del Plebiscito gathering happen. Without the ‘tam-tam’ of the social network – a spontaneous union of napoletani for our Pino.

Enrico says,, "Pino Daniele IS Naples"

Enrico says,, “Pino Daniele IS Naples”

Read more about Jan 7th in Piazza del Plebiscito
Read about a favorite Naples spot
Read more on another favorite Neapolitan spot
Read about my need for Naples
Read more about my need for Naples
Read more on Naples street life
Read about Naples’ link to the Mediterranean diet
Hear Pino Daniele sing about his beloved Naples

2 Comments

  • silvana franz says:

    Anne,I didn’t come to Naples with you because I’ve never been a Pino Daniele fan. After reading your article and watching the pictures I regret missing this experience.You’re the best.Write a book! Lots of love.Silvana

  • Iva Marchioni says:

    Brava Annie, sai raccontare la gente d’Italia e le sue emozioni, da una parte come chi non è nato qui e ha la freschezza per guardarla da fuori, pregi e difetti. Da una parte come chi la gente d’Italia la conosce e la ama per quello che è. Sottoscritta inclusa. Un grande abbraccio

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