Traditional Music, Opera, Composers
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Traditional Music, Opera, Composers

Traditional (Folk) Music and Dance

An example of a "fina," an African
'mbira-inspired folk instrument, invented by
Enzo Fina, on display at the Craft and
Folk Art Museum in 2000, in the exhibition:
"Musical Instruments of Trance and
Ecstasy"(curator: Roberto Catalano).
See: past programs:
"Performing Ecstasies: Music, Dance and Ritual
in the Mediterranean."

Enzo Fina:
Roberto Catalano:

Performing in Los Angeles since 1994, Music‡ntica performs the music from Southern Italy's oral traditions (e.g., the music associated with peasants, fishermen, street vendors) while blending more contemporary musical styles in Mediterranean World Music. Their repertoire includes traditional and original compositions. "The connection between the southern Italian tradition, the individual experiences as immigrants in Southern California, and the symbolic remembrance of the sounds of their respective birthplaces is evident in the artistsí various improvisations and re-adaptations of older material." Among the native Italian instruments they use are: tamburieddhru (a frame drum used for the Pulgiese pizzica tarantata dance); the putip? (a friction drum); the chitarra battente (a 10-string guitar from the Renaissance), the benas (a single and double Sardinian reed clarinet), and the marranzanu, or jaw's harpóas well as other percussion instruments such as castanets, animal jingle collars, sheep copper bells. They also feature the fina (created by Enzo Fina), a lamellaphone inspired by the African mbira, and other creatively adapted hand-made instruments.

ZoË, Salentine folk music group visiting
from Italy, playing informally in a private home.
Photo by Alberto Pranzo

Roberto Catalano, UCLA Ph.D. in Ethno-
musicology, demonstrating Italian folk instrument, the friction drum known as
the putip?. Photo by Mary Ciufitelli

On the musical experiences of Music‡ntica, see:

Roberto Catalano, ìDevelopment and Hypnotic Performance of an African Lamellaphone in the Salentine Area,î in Performing Ecstasies: Music, Dance, and Ritual in the Mediterranean, ed. Luisa Del Giudice and Nancy Van Deusen, 89-102. Ottawa: The Institute for Medieval Music, 2005.

Roberto Catalano and Enzo Fina, ìSimple Does Not Mean Easy: Oral Traditional Values, Music, and the Music‡ntica Experience,î in Oral History, Oral Culture and Italian American,î ed. Luisa Del Giudice, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

Of related interest:

Italian Traditional Song (2 audio cassettes + 135 pp. booklet), ed. by Luisa Del Giudice, for the Italian Heritage Culture Foundation and the Italian Cultural Institute, Los Angeles, 1989, 2nd rev. ed., IIC, 1995 (with English translations of dialect texts): Luisa Del Giudice, (310) 474-1698;

Group of women singing novenas for
St. Joseph. Table given by Frank & Margaret
(Orlando)Mistretta, part of the Albanian-Italians
(Arbresche) immigrants from Piana dei Greci
or Piana degli Albanesi, living in Upland.
Photo by Kenneth Scambray

Alessandra Belloni, John La Barbera
I Giullari di Piazza

Alessandra Belloni, New York-based percussionist, artistic director of I Giullari di Piazza, and teacher, together with composer John La Barbera, former music director of the ensemble, are perhaps the most prominent (and longest active) performers of southern Italian folk music, dance, and theater in the U.S. Alessandra frequently performs and conducts workshops in Los Angeles. "I Giullari di Piazza also specialize in the improvisational style of Commedia dellíArte theater, with music and dance, masks and giant puppets, combining mythic rituals of Pagan-Christian origins. Through the creation of new works based on these old traditions, our goal is to encourage Italian-American awareness, interest and pride in this rich ethnic heritage which has been lost due to [Ö] assimilation." For CDís, DVDís and other publications, consult Belloni and La Barbera Web sites.

Frizzi & Lazzi: Olde Time Italian-American Music and Theatre Company
Emelise Aleandri, Artistic Director

Among this New York-based companyís productions are: La Befana, Festa Primavera, Carnival performances, and CaffË concerto, a ìnostalgic musical theatre production exploring the charming musical and literary legacy of the early Italian-American immigrants.î This entertainment included Italian vaudeville show with music, songs, dance, comedy and specialty acts performed in nightclubs and little theatres in Little Italy.î

Italian Folk Art Federation of America, Inc.
P.O. Box 1192
Rockford, IL 61105

An association that seeks to preserve and foster interest in Italian folk arts. Incorporated in 1979 by Elba Farabegoli Gurzau (author of Folk Dances, Costumes, and Customs of Italy)

Erasmo Treglia and Ambrogio Sparagna
(button-accordion virtuoso) direct from Italy,
performing on the San Gennaro festival
concert stage, 2003

The ensemble Music‡ntica, as it consisted
in 2000: Roberto Catalano, Lorenzo Buhne,
Enzo Fina, Kedron Parker. Lorenzo Buhne and
Kedron Parker are now living in Wellington, NZ

Selection of Italian and Italian
American music at street festival

Accordionist, Norm Panto, strolling during
the San Gennaro Festival in 2003

Meriís Italian Folksinging Page

"Largest list of Italian folk music groups on the net!"(lyrics, CDs, folksong forum, photos, bands, Italian links).

Gypsy Folk Ensemble
3265 Motor Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Tel: (310) 558-0746

This is ìan ethnic dance company formed in 1978 to preserve, perform and teach traditional folk dances from various countries around the world.î

Enzo Fina giving a workshop on frame drum
and pizzica (Salentine, Puglia, dance)

Enzo Fina giving a Pugliese frame
drum (tamburieddu) workshop for
children at the Craft and Folk Art
Museum in 2000


Casa Italiana Opera Company: Tel: (800) 595-4849

Mario Leonetti - Director 902 N. Screenland Drive
Burbank, CA 91505
Tel.: (818) 559-8696

See: COMMUNITY SITES, Casa Italiana

KUSC, Classical FM 91.5:
ìThe Opera Showî with Duff Murphy for live broadcasts from the , Metropolitan Opera Broadcast, Saturdays 9:00 ñ 12:00.

Los Angeles Opera
135 North Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90012
Tel: (213) 972-7219
Dorothy Chandler Pavillion (The Music Center of Los Angeles County).
Pl‡cido Domingo, General Director; Kent Nagano, Music Director

Gina Graziadio
P.O. Box 3417
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Soprano, currently with the Los Angeles Opera. (Granddaughter of the late George Graziadio; See: BUSINESS SERVICES, Financial George L Graziadio Jr.)

David Romano
Tenor and voice teacher

Theater History, Opera:
Michael J. Hackett
UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television

Vocal Coach:
Luisa Mara Nadir
Tel.: (323) 371-7868


Andrea Centazzo

"In an artistic career that spans over twenty-five years, Andrea Centazzo has given more than 1000 concerts and live performances in Europe and the United States, as well as having appeared and performed on numerous radio and television broadcasts. He has recorded over 60 LPs and CDs, and has authored 350 compositions and eight musicology books. His musical endeavors and creative expression range from the sublime to the passionate, from lyric opera to orchestral symphony and solo percussion." Especially known for his contemporary percussion and multimedia productions.

Alberto Dal Pino
209 Triunfo Canyon Rd. #185
Westlake Village CA 91361
Tel: (805) 496-7838
Web: Florence-born ìperforming artist, lyricist, vocal arranger, composer and musician for film scores, television productions and record albums.î

Carlo Siliotto
Roman-born founding member of one of the most important traditional music ensemble of the Italian folk revival, "Canzoniere del Lazio" (1973-1979), later fusing music of the Italian South and the Mediterranean with rock, jazz, and classical music. Currently resides in Los Angeles and composes music for film.

A Bit of History: Henry Mancini (1924 ñ 1994):
"Composer/conductor/arranger Henry Mancini was one of the most versatile talents in music. The Mancini name is synonymous not only with great motion picture and television music, but with fine recordings and international concert performances as well. He was nominated for an unprecedented 72 Grammys and won 20 awards. He was nominated for 18 Academy Awards and won four Oscars. He was also awarded with the Golden Globe Award and nominated for two Emmy Awards." Read more at the Henry Mancini Institute Web page:

A Bit of History: Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895 - 1968) composer and pianist, Castelnuovo-Tedesco was born in Florence into an Italian Jewish family. In 1939, aided by Arturo Toscanini, he moved to the United States, as did many Europeans exiles, and became a prolific composer of film music. He composed many pieces for solo guitar. See: RELIGION, Jews, IOHI Archives

Carlo Buti (Del Giudice-Tuttle Record Collection)

Duo di Piadena (Del Giudice-Tuttle
Record Collection)

Caterina Bueno (Del Giudice-Tuttle Collection)

Canti Popolari di Liguria
(Del Giudice-Tuttle Record Collection)

Musiche e Canti Popolari del Salento
(Del Giudice-Tuttle Record Collection)

Canti Popolari del Piemonte
(Del Giudice-Tuttle Record Collection)

Canti Popolari di Romagna
(Del Giudice-Tuttle Record Collection)