We already talked about the music history that characterizes the Romagna in the previous post. But who has led it to be so famous all over the world? Today we tell the story of Second and Raul Casadei, the fathers of this dance style, so cheerful and typical.
Who was Secondo Casadei?
Casadei was born in Sant’Angelo Gatteo in 1906. Since the end of the 800 Romagna folk dances had grown in popularity, with their style of close and smooth movements. During the early 19th century, however,this style began to go out of fashion even in Romagna as dances of American popular music, such as Boston or the rumba gained momentum. But some musicians continued to play music from Romagna, and it was thanks to their stubbornness if this style survived. An orchestra was typically composed of a violin, a clarinet in C (the traditional version), guitar, accordion and double bass.
The debut and innovations
Casadei debuted at sixteen playing the double bass in an orchestra. In ’24 he formed a group in which he introduced the battery, and with them he composed his first waltz, named “the Cuckoo”. In ’28 he created his own orchestra, with strong innovations with regard to musical instruments, adding drums, banjo or guitar, clarinet and the saxophone. In addition, he also supervised the image and decided that everyone had to wear elegant uniforms, styled after the orchestras of Romagna. Casadei played and wrote polkas, waltzes and mazurkas, such as “Forget”, “Adriana”, “Balla” and “Sunset”. Some lyrics were written down in Italian, others in local dialect.
The II World War, the roaring ‘50s and success
During World War II he had to interrupt his career, for family reasons, to take it up later. With the American invasion, mainstream tastes began to change, and people preferred swing and boogie woogie. Despite growing changes, he continued undaunted despite the decline, and little by little people came to love his music style again. In 1954 Secondo Casadei wrote his most important song: Romagna Mia. This song, now a veritable tribute to the Romagna andits traditional folk culture, led him to success. An interesting piece of trivia: his orchestra played 365 times a year, and even on Sundays Romagna Mia was played at morning and at evening due to popular demand.
The arrival of Raul Casadei
In 1960Secondo’s nephew Raul Casadei joined the orchestra. During the ‘50s national radio began to broadcast Romagna folk dance. In 1967 the Orchestra was renamed as “Orchestra & Entertainment Secondo and Raoul Casadei.” They were also broadcasted on TV, first on Rai and then at the Festivalbar. Secondo Casadei died in ’71, leaving the orchestra artistic direction to Raul. Secondo Casadei wrote down more than 1,048 songs. The greatest success of the Casadei family was and is to have brought the Romagna folk dances to national limelight, through the values of their land: family, love and friendship.