Songs of Life in Ciociaria: an Artisan at his crossroad

One Squeeze Too Many? Is this a last plaintive note from the Harmonica player in Ciociaria? The banks may survive while the traditions die. What is the purpose of human society? What is true sustainability? Can art save this world?

 

There are five Harmonica schools in the area around Anagni in Ciociaria. Massimo Carboni is the principal of one of them. He creates harmonica songs and teaches his 45 pupils from his home where he also designs and manufactures a beautiful range of fine timber and celluloid Harmonicas, the traditional instrument of this region, as its bigger cousins, accordions, are in Marche.

Massimo is a man at his crossroads, an artisan and a musician, whose business has suffered due to the combined effects of reduced clientele since the recession (have people stopped singing?), and the horrific tax burden loaded by successive governments without care for society, without intelligence to recognize the value of workers, or the foresight to see that without small artisanal manufacturing in places such as Ciociaria, Italy as a nation and society will die.

Two years ago he felt the load on his shoulders. At forty years of age, he started to seek a way forward, a new life. He lost weight, became fitter, he studied, and he created new business opportunities from Ciociaria. The Italian government did not go with him, or even just leave him alone. And Massimo learned that the Harmonica may be a love he shares with other musicians, it may be a source of pleasure (or mild torment on the Metro), it may be an invitation to sing in a restaurant, but to the government each Harmonica created is solely valued for its ability to squeeze more taxes, a discordant note out of tune with humanity.

Massimo Carboni is, like so many true Italians who have worked to create a sustainable society, one based on family businesses producing something special that others will desire, nearing his last breath of artisanal creativity- wondering what is left in Ciociaria. The answer from many artisans of throwing away the tools, throwing in the towel and emigrating would deny Italy its chances for an Italian future. So for Massimo and so many other very important Italians, those who create the social wealth of the nation, what can we do to save Ciociaria?

The first step is psyche. Bring people together through a meeting ground where each has something unique to offer and where all can meet the few who have, like molecules of water leaping from the sea to the sky, escaped the dark ocean of fiscal despair.

This community can be such a soothing balm that it awakens the desire, the resolve to never give up. And whenever a few are gathered together, many more are attracted to the ’brand’. In this way the single artisanal business person, apparently trapped in a ’polar vortex’ can find the heat to escape and achieve not just new regional business, but the joy and rewards of international recognition – the individual Renaissance.