Simone Mongelli

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Peasant devotion in Campania: Seven Holy Virgins...


Peasant religiousness in the provinces of Napoli, Salerno, Avellino and Caserta is extremely different from the official liturgical forms, and clearly reveals its archaic, pagan and pre-Christian origin. Devotion is not expressed in quiet, moderate and private acts: it can be coarse, shouted out; it is lived in an intense, collective, physical way; it includes singing, dancing, crying, shouting and laughing, as well as penance practices, ritual possession and trance. In its symbolical, allegoric language, it combines the devotion to metaphysical entities with the relationship with earth, mystic tension with the node of an earthly and primitive sexuality, life with death.

The main object of devotion is undoubtedly the "Madonna", the Mother of God, just a recent Christian covering of pagan cults dedicated to female divine entities, which led to an interesting syncretism: the existence of seven different "Holy Virgins", all of them sisters, one of whom is black-skinned. Every one of the seven "Madonnas" has her own feast, and in that day all the devotes gather to her own sanctuary to celebrate various rituals, where music plays a central role...



Rise to Montevergine

Madonna della Grazia

Carnival Rosary of the Femminielli

Tromba Montemaranese


Devotional Chant to the Madonna dell'Arco


Madonna lu Gioveri Santo

Tammurriata from Somma Vesuviana

Rosamarina for San Michele

Songs for the Madonna dei Bagni

Musica dei Morti - Pastellessa of S.Antonio Abate

Carnival Tarantella from Montemarano

Song for the Madonna Avvocata

Tarantella for the Madonna del Carmine

Mourning song for the Mother

Tammurriata for Materdomini

Sonata for Santa Maria del Monte


Farewell to Montevergine



Armando Illario – voice, accordion, percussions

Simone Mongelli – percussions, jaw's harp, voice



Other projects:


The Kingdom of Napoli

Radical Music