A Tug at the Heartstrings

June 21, 2011 / Local Interest
Naples, Campania
Not far from Piazza Dante, Naples, wedged into the side of a palazzo courtyard, is a small studio. Wood shavings drop tendril-like from work benches to the floor; there are interesting smells – is that glue or rosin? Intriguingly curved cut outs are ranged on the table awaiting their moment in the creative process. This is Anema e Corde, the master-lutemakers of Naples.

The four young musicians and craftsmen who founded this studio were inspired by Neapolitan maestri of the past – but while following an established tradition their work is informed by careful research and performance practice. Their instruments, whether violins, mandolins or guitars, may appear in the hands of eminent musicians at the San Carlo opera house, or on exhibition stands from Cremona to Frankfurt.

But whatever their considerable wider reputation, Naples remains their heartland; they have given younger musicians the opportunity to play in their concert series and have taught at the ‘Obiettivo Napoli‘ Institute which works with at-risk youth in the city.

Best of all, there’s always a warm welcome in the studio – there are friends chatting or a musician trying out an instrument. And the name? Well, there’s a popular Neapolitan song by Salvatore d’Esposito from the 50’s called ‘Anema e Core‘ – we would say Heart and Soul. Add a ‘d’ to core (heart) and you get the word for strings. Need we say more?

For a treat, listen to Lucia Luque play Bach just outside Anema e Corde. This is a beautiful performance enlivened by the background noises of Naples.

Penny Ewles-Bergeron

by Penny Ewles-Bergeron

Author, artist… celebrating the many good things in Naples.

18 Responses to “A Tug at the Heartstrings”

  1. Sylvia

    Wonderful article Penny. And a beautiful place… I remember seeing it with you and it is a true “tug at the heart strings”.

  2. Barbara Goldfield

    What a find! Thanks Penny for a particularly harmonious note…

  3. Gian Banchero

    A thousand thanks for today’s article Penny, it’s so great to see young people opting for creativity as such instead of the proverbial big bucks ($$$)… Kudos! Another thousand thanks for directing us to Lucia Luque’s musical treat, I played the video three times as I started the morning. It was a joy to see how Lucia became one with not only Bach’s music but also with the violin (notice her face, obviously she’s in another place that we mere mortals rarely are fortunate to ever travel to!), AND thank you ItalianNotebook for constantly enriching our Italian experience…

  4. Penny Ewles-Bergeron
    Penny Ewles-Bergeron

    Thanks for the lovely remarks – this is one of the many brilliant little businesses that make Naples so interesting and lively. My daughter’s violin (purchased online) needed some TLC 3 years ago and the lads did the most extraordinary job, turning a pedestrian instrument into something that really sang when she played. We also have a severely damaged violin that we’ve inherited, that belonged to my daughter’s Irish American great grandfather – this will be going to the studio in the autumn to be more or less reconstructed. I really can’t wait to hear what it will sound like, so many years on.
    Visitors to the city should make a point of visiting Via Port’Alba to drop into the studio even if briefly. It is, as you say, a magical place.

  5. You couldn’t have portrayed the ‘Anema e Corde’ workshop better, Mrs Penny, I highly recommend them!

  6. salvatore mancino

    To whom it may concern: hello, my name is Salvatore Mancino, and I am one of the luthiers of the ‘Anema e Corde tluthiery workshop, of which you have written in the 21st June 2011 issue
    Thanks a lot for the nice page…..
    we are 4 makers and we all make different instruments: violins mandolins and guitars. I would like to ask you whether it is possible to talk to the Italian notebook organizer/webdirector because I would like to send you a picture with the complete team!!
    Thank you so much, best regards…

    Sanvatore mancino

  7. Thank you for discovering this shop and writing it about.I am a Neapolitan in USA and I love so your Italian Notebook that I share on my face book page…grazie,Lisa

  8. Toni DeBella

    In these days of technology, how refreshing to see a place where music is like breathing..part of every moment they live. I think that one of Italy’s wonderful qualities,is that it still produces and values real craftsmanship. To make a musical instrument by hand blows my mind…how lucky the world is to have people creating something that will last a lifetime and beyond and will bring happiness to souls…its so simple – it’s awesome. Thanks penny for a lovely peek through their doors. Toni

  9. Penny Ewles-Bergeron
    Penny Ewles-Bergeron

    Hi Salvatore – so happy to share your wonderful workshop with everyone here.
    Thanks to everyone else who commented – this one touched a chord (sorry for the pun!).

  10. I can only imagine standing (or living) in the area, and hearing such wonderful sounds. Thanks!


  11. vanna moore

    Hi Penny,
    thanks for a beautiful story. I read your contribution in June, and while visiting my hometown of Naples this past June, my daughter and I and a friend decided we had to stop by Anema e Corde. What a treat! What a fantastic, talented group of young people! Their craftsmanship is exquisite, and on top of that they are so willing to share their knowledge with whomever stops by. Making musical instruments is so magical to me, I love music, and I thank them for keeping this tradition alive! We spoke mostly to Salvatore, but we met the whole team! Grazie mille ancora! Vanna
    p.s. If you would like me to, I can send a picture, testimonial of our visit.

  12. Penny Ewles-Bergeron
    Penny Ewles-Bergeron

    Hi Vanna, I’m so pleased you called by the studio and talked to Salvatore and his wonderful colleagues. We are looking forward to going back to them soon (see my note above)for TLC on the old family violin. I’m sure GB would like to see the photo and I would too – my email (I don’t mind publishing it, GB!) is homefield2@hotmail.com

  13. Penny,

    This is a beautiful post for a beautiful instrument. You also write beautifully! Thank you for sharing about this. I really enjoyed learning about this shop and reading this post.


  14. Lovely, lovely post, Penny! The link to Lucia Luque’s performance outside the shop is the finest thing I’ve heard/seen this month.


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