film & videos

  food & wine
  italian american

  free email
  link directory

new york
events, links, forum

events, links, forum

events, links, forum

events, links, forum

san francisco
events, links, forum

los angeles
events, links, forum

about us

you can help us!
We're an all volunteer website and need your help to keep going. Here are five ways you can contribute:
1 Donate
2 Buy something
3 Submit a story
4 Volunteer
5 Advertise

get in gear!
New in the gift shop, logo wear and use items!
  PLEASE NOTE: We are experiencing unexpected technical difficulties caused by our web host. We apologize for the inconvenience. During your visit you may experience service and page interruptions - we are in the process of fixing everything and hope to be fully back on our feet soon.

michael phillip wright
using the mandolin to preserve tradition

(return to music)

The artist's comments about his music

song excerpts:

Ciao Ciao Bambina

That's Amore

O Mari

Torna A Surriento

The mandolin has a long history in Italy. It is mostly known as a folk instrument, but Vivaldi, Mozart, and Beethoven all wrote compositions for it. A historical summary I once read about the mandolin said that it was introduced into America in the latter half of the 19th century by "southern European" immigrants. Given that the great Italian immigration wave to America began in that period, it is most likely that those "southern Europeans" were people from the south of Italy.

During the 20th century, in the minds of most Americans familiar with the instrument, the mandolin came to be associated with bluegrass music, which is largely derived from musical traditions which originated in England, Scotland, and Ireland. Bluegrass was certainly an early influence on my own development with the instrument. Nonetheless, I later began to explore the mandolin's Italian heritage, and wish to inspire more appreciation for the mandolin's origins in Italy.

I try to preserve this Italian heritage by providing the basis of some new memories for a younger generation who do not know Victrolas, phonographs, wax discs, vinyl albums, or old paesons with mustaches playing accordions on the street corner. For those of you who view the larger world by means of television, radio, cassette players, CDs, and the Internet, I offer you the benefit of my experience, and, if you are Italian American, the opportunity to reach back and connect with the music of your immigrant ancestors.

About the Artist
Oklahoma native Michael Phillip Wright has an occupational background which includes health research, consulting, computer work, and policy research, but he has also devoted much of his life effort to music. A mandolin player and singer, he has entertained guests in Italian restaurants in Texas, Oklahoma, and New York City.

Wright, who is half Italian, hopes to make a contribution to the preservation of the rich heritage of Neapolitan and Italian music in the USA, while adding to it with his own improvisational style of mandolin-playing. His influences include jazz, blues, bluegrass, and classical.

He began playing the mandolin in 1970, but didn't begin to work Italian songs into his reportoire until 1977, after a visit to his grandparents' native village in southern Italy. His interest in Italian music was further inspired by an opportunity to organize an ensemble for the 1978 installation banquet for the Sons of Italy lodge of Norman, Oklahoma.

Michael has begun a self-financed recording project, and invites comments (and hopefully encouragement) from our viewers before making the necessary investment of effort and personal funds to complete a marketable product. You may contact him at [email protected].


© 1998-2005 by unless otherwise noted