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…

Dancing in the Hall of Mirrors

Tarantella anyone? Villa Palagonia, a band featuring guitarist Joe Ravo, bassist Greg Maker, percussionist Dave Mancuso, and me, Allison Scola, on vocals, clarinet, guitar, and frame drums, will be performing this coming Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 7PM in New York City at Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 3 (185 Orchard Street). We invite you to come…

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…

Bloom and Song

From February 12-22, 2015 the city of Agrigento celebrates the 70th Sagra del Mandorlo in Fiore (The Festival of the Blooming Almond Trees) and the 60th International Festival of Folklore. The “in Fiore” festival marks that spring is arriving and the almond trees are in bloom, while the folklore festival features performances of not only…

It’s a Symbiotic Relationship

In the beginning of October, Ragusa celebrated the 20th annual “Ibla Buskers Festa di Artisti di Strada.” The Baroque city’s piazzas were full of musicians, circus performers, artists, and–probably most important, spectators. The Associazione Culturale Edrisi and ibla Buskers aims to illustrate the symbiotic relationship between performers and audience and the best street art in…