Friscalettu Duo

Agrigento’s annual Sagra del Mandorlo in Fiore going on this week attracts groups from all over the globe, who display their traditional costumes along with exhibiting their culture’s beloved traditional music through performances and processions through town. Photographed in 2016 at the Festival by my cousin Filippo Buttitta, these two young men are playing the…

Friscalettu: Sicily’s Reed Flute

Sicilian music is punctuated with the sounds of the friscalettu or reed flute, pictured. Traditional tarantellas (folk dances) are colored with motives from this instrument, often hand carved by the player using the wood from fig or olive trees or the oleander shrub. Like the harmonica, a friscalettu (friscaletto, in Italian language versus Sicilian) player…

Go Out, Go Out Maria

When we met Fratelli Mancuso in September, they gave us a mini-concert right on a “stradina” (a little street) in Sutera, their hometown. It was absolutely divine! They sang and played for us their song “Nesci Maria” (pictured here). Some of the lyrics in Sicilian, then English, to give you a glimpse, are as follows:…

On Top of the World

We are finishing our tour tonight, but not without another amazing encounter first! This evening we spent a breathtaking two hours with the Fratelli Mancuso in Sutera, their hometown. Really, it doesn’t get better than this. I am still shaking from the emotions I felt hearing them and meeting them again–this time, in Sicily. I…

Stealing from Old Men in the Village

Calling upon the traditional work songs and sacred music they heard growing up in the small town of Sutera in the province of Caltanissetta, Lorenzo and Enzo Mancuso create “new-traditional” Sicilian roots music. Known internationally as Fratelli Mancuso, the duo mixes elements from Gregorian chant, Christian liturgical laments, Arabic and Byzantine lyrical prayers, and the…