Calascione – Yay or Nay?

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This is a self-indulgent musing about my own name which I wanted to share with you musical folk.

My family name is Calascione. I’ve gone through phases of loving and hating it because:

a) my first name is Hannah which could not be more regular, in most group activities (holidays, school, work, anything) there is ALWAYS another couple of Hannahs, so it’s nice to have a thinker for a surname.. (see chart below)

b) Everyone pronounces it wrong, my favourite so far is ‘Calascoyneee’ – for the record, in Italian it’s pronounced “Calashiorne”

c) Everyone likens me to types of food, Hannah.. Minestrone! Cannelloni! Calzone! Macaroni! Pepperoni! someone even started calling me spag bol..

d) Everyone thinks I’m Italian, when I am NOT, I’m Maltese.

So it can be a pain, although, I discovered a while back that it’s actually the word for a rustic Southern Italian string instrument (right). It’s from the lute or guitar family, with two catgut strings tuned a fifth apart, and played with a plectrum. Although it apparently first appeared during the renaissance, it is said to be closely similar to the very ancient Egyptian nofre or nefer, and it’s frequently depicted in pastoral Italian paintings of the 17th century (below). Today, it’s still played by traditional early music ensembles throughout Southern Italy and Sicily. My flute teacher when I was younger was called Joseph Flute, which I thought was awesome, I feel this is close to being as cool!


So there we go.  Now I think Calascione is badass and certainly Abubilla style. I  plan to steal my Dad’s signet ring and get a tattoo of a Calascione asap.

Also when I get married there will definitely be a double-barreled compromise..


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