Interview with Claudia Acuña25 Jan 2016, by Work in
Sein Tempu is a Buenos Aires-based quintet devoted to the research, promotion and interpretation of Ethnic Music, Poetry and Dance from the Mediterranean Sea.
Living in the 21st century, in a country strongly identified with the 20th century immigration, they started their research into the traditional rhythms of Southern Italy, Northern Africa and the Near East, that is the Mediterranean basin where most of European immigrants into Argentina came from.
The lead singer, Claudia Acuña, is the daughter of an Apulian woman and lived in Italy during her childhood and adolescence. She has chosen the group´s repertoire since 2007, when they were first invited to perform in public at the local Dante Alighieri institute, to honour the various dialects that she feels close to: Neapolitan, Griko, Salentinian, Sicilian, Lucanian, Calabrese, Molisano. Other broader influences are the tunes and rhythms belonging to such traditions as Sephardic, Armenian, Greek, Arabic, Turkish and Hebrew.
In their live performances these five versatile musicians play the kind of instruments that depict a vast musical journey, including various string instruments such as the mandolin, the violin, the Valencian bandurria; several popular flutes, the accordion, the frame drums and other percussion instruments belonging to different Mediterranean traditions, such as the tamburello and tammorra from Southern Italy. In Argentina they have introduced the Italian peasant dances called Pizzica and Tammurriata, creating a lively atmosphere where the audience feel drawn to dance.
The two original founders, Claudia Acuña and Bernardo Rotelli, are also committed to teaching Italian traditional dances to groups of young and older people, in the form of seminars and regular lessons, in Italian Associations or in private settings. Claudia finds that her studies in Foreign Language Teaching, Social Psychology and Dance/movement Therapy have given her a solid theoretical and practical ground to use the language of sounds and movement to inspire others. In her experience teaching Italian traditional dances (the Occitane dances from the North or the tarantellas from the South) promotes social bonds and emotional health in a modern city where citizens need to get away from environmental noise, stress and human isolation.
Before becoming the lead singer of SeinTempu, Claudia was a member of a female group of drummers/dancers of Middle Eastern rhythms. In 2014, she and her life companion, the accordionist/sociologist Bernardo Rotelli, decided to tour four Mediterranean countries together with their poet friend Silvia Tocco. By the invitation of Moroccan, Tunisian and Italian Music and Poetry festival organizers, they participated and performed in events related to the theme of interculturalism through poetry and music.
Back in Buenos Aires, transformed by this new “physical”, three-dimensional way of living, these two SeinTempu members started to publish an on-line magazine about Mediterranean culture, including sections on film, essay and music reviews, poetry, interviews, journey chronicles, the history of cities, the drama of African immigrants, etc.
In the coming year the group will return to an original project which honours their Italian-Argentinean roots: the “blending” of some traditional Argentinean dances, like chacarera and milonga, with Italian tarantellas, ballad and medieval tunes, as well as a working on the “natural fusion” which can be felt to exist between the Magreb rhythms and those from Northern Argentina in acknowledgement of the strongest immigration from Arabic/Moorish countries on our territory, established itself in Northwest Argentina.
Members in alphabetical order
- Ana Carina Taborda: tamburello, tammorra.
- Ana Clara Ceijas: old traditional flutes and vocals
- Bernardo Rotelli: accordion, keaboards, darbouka, Persian bendir, Salentinian and Calabrese tambourine, Vesuvian tammorra
- Claudia Acuña: leading voice, guitar, bandurria, violin, cymbals, castagnettes
- Daniel Marin: guitar, mandoline, bass