Bagheria’s Sicilian Carts

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While in Bagheria on Wednesday, we had an extraordinary meeting at the workshop of Michele Ducato, one of the last painters of Bagherese Sicilian carts. Pictured is a detail from a cart on which he’s currently working. In addition to learning about the “family business” and the construction of the carts from Michele, Giovanni Di Salvo, who is a keeper of the songs that cart drivers sang both to stay awake while driving through the night and to participate in friendly competitions with each other, sang for us. He is the grandson of the driver recorded by ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax in 1954 when he was in Bagheria! (Wow, how absolutely cool!) He explained the culture of cart drivers–the 18-wheelers for centuries before the 1960s, when the proliferation of big trucks came into existence. This beautiful art-form is still alive because of these men. And we got to meet them at the source! That’s what I call “Experiencing Sicily!”

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