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Interpretation of “Pizzica di San Vito” by Elodie

As I have written before in an interpretation unlike the others, these “interpretations” of mine are misleading: I pick a song whose lyrics I interpret in a way that forwards a philosophical point I would anyway make. The idea is to present philosophical ideas in a more approachable way, while also introducing the reader to works of culture they may be unfamiliar with. However, with this method of exposition, I inadvertently give the impression that I am a philosophy nerd, obsessed with rationality. Nothing could be further from the truth, hence the point I make in several publications about the “fully fledged human being”: we are not purely rational; we have emotions as well as needs of the body. Reducing art to rationality is misguided, as we can both think and feel in artistic terms.

Poetically, polytheism is helpful in this regard, because it disambiguates archetypes of what we would analytically associate with “the mind” from those of “the body”. Apollon is not Dionysos, though both are part of the human experience and none is more important than the other.

Consider, then, this modern take on traditional rhythms from Southern Italy, including its Griko milieux: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dypsbQCdC9U . The lyrics do not matter. The meaning of words fades away as we are invited to dance along.

Both Elodie’s “Pizzica di San Vito” and the rich tradition it draws from are Dionysian. It is all about the festival, the feelings art engenders, the kind of expression that culminates in the loss of self-awareness: “you” no longer exist when you fully give in to the music, for “you” cease operating at your own rhythm for the duration of the event. If one is feeling too shy to act, more expressive friends, wine, mushrooms—or whatever—will make them budge.

Apollon and Dionysos are not opposites. They are different facets of an otherwise singular human experience. The idea thus is to find a balance in our life between all the facets of our being. Don’t be too rational, but also not too emotional; not too spiritual but also not too corporeal.

Let us then consider: which is the way to Puglia? Asking for friend…

UPDATE 2022-12-07 09:28 +0200: The ~3-hour video of La Notte della Taranta 2022 edition, if you are really feeling it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5da7NE8iRxE.