Via Francigena

From Molfetta to Monte Sant’Angelo on foot, the route of Giovannangelo de Gennaro: from faith to music

Redazione AEVF
Redazione AEVF

On foot from Molfetta to Monte Sant’Angelo, on the road for the Tenebrae of Good Friday. Giovannangelo de Gennaro will walk for five days of pilgrimage from Monday 15th April to Friday 19th April along the costal variant of the Via Francigena of the South.

Giovannangelo is a specialist in medieval music, founder and director of the Calixtinus Ensemble, which has played with the greats of the music world, from Ustad Nutrat Fateh Ali Khan to Michel Godard, but also with Vinicio Capossela in the album Le canzoni della Cupa e al Womad last year in Chile as well as their next album. An artist who followed many routes of faith with his music. Now, he’ll follow in the footsteps left by pilgrim, Michele Azzolini in 1497.

De Gennaro will leave from the church of Purgatorio di Molfetta on Monday 15th April, stopping at Barletta, Margherita di Savoia, Zapponeta and Manfredonia, before climbing Monte Sant’Angelo from the historic trail of Scannamugliera to arrive the morning of Good Friday at the Tenebrae and praise with hymns for the Death and Resurrection of Christ.

In his musical research, from written to oral sources, de Gennaro discovered the Tenebrae of Monte Sant’Angelo some years ago, without a doubt proof that a pre-conciliar musical tradition has remained intact for many centuries and is still performed by the brothers of the beautiful church of San Benedetto at 9:30am on Good Friday in alternatim between the choir and organ.

 The passion for walks that pushes de Gennaro towards historical pilgrimage destinations is another aspect of his research in the medieval music field. A study united with pilgrimage: “Travelling on foot makes you understand the courses which determine changes in society“, explains the musician, who wanted to carry out this pilgrimage to ask himself what the song would be like after having travelled 120km on foot, as pilgrims, wayfarers, military officers, saints and visionaries did in ancient times – along the same route used by cars, busses and lorries. “Therefore – he continues – embarking on a pilgrimage, as Azzollini did five-hundred years ago, is an experience which can enable me to see what I hear and sing in a new light, because things get put into perspective when you walk, almost like a detox from frantic day-to-day life.

De Gennaro was born in Molfetta, a city in which the rituals of Holy Week are a reference point for worshippers. “Devotion, tradition, history, compassion are some aspects that become enriched by our Christian faith – says the musician – and the liturgical rite processions during Lent remind us of a past still present now, which endures with the changes of time, because we change, and which changes that which surrounds us.

It’s a calendar marked my time and man, indefinite and indefinable. “It’s this time – adds de Gennaro – not a specific period, it’s not marked by numbers, but is built by the cycle of existence, by the relationship between man and nature, micro and macrocosm. The rites of Holy Week are without a doubt part of this calendar, which we have the fortune to experience today with moments of spiritual reflection through communal compassion: gestures inherited from confraternities, past moments of Christian faith which have endured to our present“.

To follow the phases of de Gennaro’s pilgrimage, visit his Facebook profile ‘Giovannangelo de Gennaro’ or the dedicated webpage Giovannangelo will tell the story of his walk with live coverage and records.

Source: press release