The Social Life of Rocco Costello’s Zampogna

David Marker (City University of New York)

This paper tells the story of a Rocco Costello’s zampogna (bagpipes). Rocco immigrated with his zampogna from rural southern Italy to New York City at the turn of the 20th century. I present Rocco’s zampogna as an “instrument of culture” that has the power to shape and construct society and cultural life. Additionally, I argue that Rocco’s zampogna helped to reify an ontological belief system among Italian Immigrants that was a foundational component of their worldview and spirituality. Rocco’s zampogna and its accompanying music helped to carry on a tradition of pastoral imagery and imagination in an urban environment.

Part of 08-11 Sounding Board II, Saturday, October 15, 10:30 am–12:30 pm