Revolutionary Letter #7 

Wherever you sow grain, the grain grows 
Emily Jacir, Andrea de Siena, Luca Rossi
May 19 - 21, 2022

This three-day workshop was open to musicians and dancers to work on a music and dance piece together at Dar Jacir. We focused on the tammurriata - the dance of the earth – a peasant dance whose movements are inspired by agricultural work. The dance on the drum (tammurriata) represents one of the possible ways man connects with his own land; a land which signifies hard work and through divine invocation gives good fruits.

The workshop ended with a choreographic and musical piece, a translation of their encounter with Bethlehem and our agrarian, musical and dance traditions. It was created through a collective process of exchanges with local participants. The original music composition drew its inspiration from the traditional forms of the tammurriata or ballo e canto sul tamburo (the musical heritage of Campania linked to the worship and devotion to the Virgin Mary) and the dabka (the traditional Palestinian folk dance). In both of these traditions, the symbolic-gestural aspect is connected to the relationship of the body with the land. The choreography was based on these two choreutic and sound repertoires by reworking the elements directly connected with agriculture and working the land: the castagnette (musical instruments made of olive wood with which accompany the steps of the tammurriata dancers), the wrist movements that simulate the gesture of sowing, and the arm movements used in cultivation. The piece was also informed by site visits to Bethlehem’s agricultural areas where the artists witnessed the impossibility of reaching one's own olive trees, the difficulty of harvesting, the longing to be on one’s own land, the history that binds the community together and the land’s profound cultural heritage. The majestic but painful presence of the olive trees created a visible horizon immediately familiar and shared. The olive tree is not the symbol of this work, it is the theme.

Andrea De Siena is one of the youngest and most popular tarantella dancers and choreographers. Founder of the Pizzica School of San Vito, he has been holding dance lessons throughout Europe for years; as a performer he dances in numerous festivals, collaborating with national and international artists. He is a dancer in the Italian Popular Orchestra of Maestro Ambrogio Sparagna.

Luca Rossi is considered one of the most important exponents of the tammorra, the ancient frame drum of Southern Italy. He is the author of records, books and soundtracks. For years he has held concerts with his music in Italy and abroad.

Part of Revolutionary Letter #7 curated by Emily Jacir, as part of Common Ground: an international festival on the politics of land and food, supported by the OSUN Center for Human Rights and the Arts at Bard College and the Fisher Center LAB.

Watch a diary of the process and workshop days together.
Watch the final creation and performance

Dar Yusuf Nasri Jacir for Art and Research
Al Khalil Road,Bethlehem, West Bank

T: +970 2 274 3257

By Appointment Only