Andrea Camilleri and the “Italian Unification”


Andrea Camilleri and the “Italian Unification”



Andrea Camilleri, famous Sicilian writer, and number 1 book seller in Italy,  worldwide known specially  for novels whose protagonist “Commissario Montalbano” or  Inspector Montalbano, translated in 23 languages, and which was produced by RAI (Italian State TV) in a very successful television series.

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Camilleri, in an interview with Roberto Cotroneo in 2008, taking its cue from the situation politics of the time, the presumed clash between the newly born Democratic Party led by Veltroni Walter and Silvio Berlusconi and, touching  the strings of the “Questione Meridionale” ( issue of the South)  and the Unification of Italy. Andrea Camilleri bluntly denounced the fact that the south of Italy is “nothing more than a colony destined to succumb more and more, because it gradually less and may not be helpful to the management policy which is still the same from 1860:

“I think that in 2008 the Italian colonial operation, which began shortly after the unification of Italy against the South, has come to the final point: this colony of South becoming  less important (economically and strategically speaking), the  more has  left to its own destiny. And the “colony of the South” is as if it is not part of Italy anymore, but like something added to Italy. But then, if I go to see who are  the “masterminds”of the industries of the north, and media, I notice that they all are southerners. And I feel compelled to ask for a quantification of these southern minds cash promoting the North. I want to put it on a scale. I want to see how many might  be the brains of a southern industrial work  producing wealth in the North. “

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 “The explanation goes back to 1860 when a peasant revolution was called “brigandage”. They killed 170,000 of the so called “brigands” that do not exist anywhere in the world. And they were rather rebellious peasants, or former Bourbon soldiers. Everything since then has taken a different turn for us. When they made ​​the unification of Italy in Sicily we had 8000 looms, we produced lots of fabric. Within two years we did not have even a frame. Functioned only those of Biella (Piedmont) . We started importing fabric and  still is like that. “


Michelina_de_CesareLuigi-PirandelloRisorgimento 1


That the newborn Italian state was rotten it had detected two other great Sicilian  writers  Giovanni Verga and Luigi Pirandello (Nobel Prize for Literature) , who were initially excited for what was going to be a “new golden age for Sicily”, which was promised autonomy, then became critical and reneged in fact the unification of Italy.

by  translated by Vanvakys

Enrico Brugnano a RUGANTINO in NEW YORK

ENRICO BRIGNANO a “Rugantino in New York”


Recently, I was fortunate enough to spend a fascinating and enjoyable evening with renowned comedian Enrico Brignano. Arguably the most active and eclectic comedian in Italy today, we discussed everything from Italian history and politics to Italian-American culture and the New York art scene- all of it tinged with his signature ironic wit.


Brignano a New Yorkbrignano_3Theater-Rugantino

Enrico is in town, along with his incredible cast of 70 actors, dancers and singers, having just completed a three-night run of his outstanding production of “Rugantino”. Set in 19th century Rome, the title character, Rugantino, takes his name from the Roman term for arrogance, “ruganza”, and is quite the mischievous scoundrel. Just playful enough to be sympathetic, Rugantino’s presumptuousness has him cooking up one scheme or another as way of life. But when he makes a bet that he can seduce Rosetta, the wife of one of Rome’s most prominent citizens, he gets more than he bargained for.

Created by Garinei and Giovannini and written in collaboration with Pasquale Festa Campanile, Massimo Franciosa and Luigi Magni, Rugantino debuted at Teatro Sistina in Rome on December 15, 1962. It also played a sold-out, three-week run on Broadway in February of 1964. Enrico and his cast bring one of Italy’s most successful musicals of all time back to life stateside after a fifty-year absence with an effort that is infused with passion an incredible amount of love and respect for comic theater. In speaking with the actor, it is clear that he takes great pride and satisfaction from his experience sharing such a beloved story and part of Roman culture with Italian-Americans and is quite moved by the success of the production and the overwhelmingly positive and encouraging feedback he and his colleagues have received here in New York.


While sharing some brick oven pizza at Sandro Giusiani’s uptown restaurant, Bettolona, I got a glimpse of the heart and mind of Mr. Brignano. He explained that his father was born in Sicily but migrated to Tunisia and, eventually, to Rome, where he met his Abbruzzese wife. Yet, Sicily remained at the heart of their household, as the comic illustrated in classic Brignano fashion: “A me casa si parrava sempri u Sicilianu, e me matri cucinava sempri i mulinciani a parmiciana, a pasta chi sardi, anelletti o furnu e a finuta un bellu bicchieri di vinu bonu… ca fa bonu sangu”.

But his comedy isn’t all about getting laughs. Fundamentally, it is about giving back. “It was really hard work for me and my cast, very challenging, I’d say, to reproduce such an important classic Italian musical in America”, (which involved reprising a  role that had been played by such famous performers as Nino Manfredi and Enrico Montesano).I came to New York for the first time more than 20 years ago in order to study English. I met with many Italians: particularly the Neapolitans and Sicilians of Little Italy with their typical mix of Americanized dialects… I recall that they were quite solicitous and prepared to help me in any way. It was at that time that I met my generous friend Marco, another young Italian who is now a restaurant owner, and I’m so grateful to be able to meet up with him again. I felt ready to give back to the people I love by sharing the best of my talent and bringing the message of our “immense culture” over to them. I believe in Culture as a way to resurrect the fate of our nation. Italy is experiencing a really dark period in terms of political, social and cultural development. Coming here I feel a great affection towards me and for the country we have in common, despite the fact that many of the Italian-Americans I’ve met are removed by several generations. A man and his family drive eight hours from Virginia to enjoy our spectacle and then waited an hour to meet me backstage. He had tears in his eyes as he thanked me. The warm embrace of the audience has really moved me to give back more than anything else.”

Enrico is a very talented actor and comedian, who, like many of them, also possesses an incredible gift of sensibility and humanity.

Grazie Enrico e’ stato un gran piacere rivederti! Looking forward to seeing you back in New York very soon.

Interview and web adaptation by Salvatore Cottone of Vanvakys Art International


Editing and Language Consulting by Valeria Romana Casale of




Saint Joseph’s Day in Sicily and in the World, between sacred and profane


Viva San Giuseppe Bagheria by G.M. Falcone_2 2

Saint Joseph’s Day, March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph is in Western Christianity the principal feast day of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He is also the step-father of Jesus of Nazareth/Jesus Christ. Saint Joseph’s Day is the Patronal Feast day for Poland as well as for Canada, persons named Joseph, Josephine, Pino, Pippo, Peppe, Beppe, Pine’, etc., for religious institutes, schools and parishes bearing his name, and for carpenters.

March 19th It is also Father’s Day in some Catholic countries, mainly Spain, Portugal, and Italy. Saint Joseph is also considered the patron of laborers and artisans.


In Sicily, where St. Joseph is regarded by many as their Patron men , and many Italian-American communities, thanks are given to St. Joseph (, San Giuseppi in Sicilian,”San Giuseppe” in Italian) for preventing a famine in Sicily during the Middle Ages. According to legend, there was a severe drought at the time, and the people prayed for their patron saint to bring them rain. They promised that if he answered their prayers, they would prepare a large feast to honor him. The rain did come, and the people of Sicily prepared a large banquet for their patron saint. The fava bean was the crop which saved the population from starvation and is a traditional part of St. Joseph’s Day altars and traditions. Giving food to the needy is a St. Joseph’s Day custom.

In some communities it is traditional to wear red clothing and eat ” Maccu of St. Joseph”, “Sfingi di San Giuseppe”, the Siciliana version of a Neapolitan pastry known as a Zeppole (created in 1840 by Don Pasquale Pinatauro in Napoli) on St. Joseph’s Day.

fave-verdiSfince di San Giuseppe with ricotta from Piana byVanvakys_2  Bread Sicily by Vanvakys

Upon a typical St. Joseph’s Day altar, people place flowers, limes, candles, wine, fava beans, specially prepared cakes, breads, and cookies (as well as other meatless dishes), and zeppole. Foods are traditionally served containing bread crumbs to represent saw dust since St. Joseph was a carpenter. Because the feast occurs during Lent, traditionally no meat was allowed on the celebration table. The altar usually has three tiers, to represent the trinity.

On the Sicilian island of Lipari, The St. Joseph legend is modified somewhat, and says that sailors returning from the mainland encountered a fierce storm that threatened to sink their boat. They prayed to St. Joseph for deliverance, and when they were saved, they swore to honor the saint each year on his feast day. The Liparian ritual is somewhat changed, in that meat is allowed at the feast.

Some villages like Avola used to burn wood and logs in squares on the day before St.Joseph, as thanksgiving to the Saint. In Belmonte Mezzagno this is currently still performed every year, while people ritually shouts invocations to the Saint in local Sicilian language. This is called “A Vampa di San Giuseppe” (the Saint Joseph’s bonfire). In Villabate, a small town at the threshold of Palermo, the traditional  “Vastuni di San Giuseppi”, the stick of Saint Joseph, consisting of a tall and heavy rod adorned adorned with flowers and fruits, is carried in procession, around the town to shoulder of men of a congregation dedicated to the worker’s saint.

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Spectacular celebrations are also held in Bagheria. The Saint is even celebrated twice a year, the second time being held especially for people from Bagheria who come back for summer vacation from other parts of Italy or abroad.


In the United States

In New Orleans, Louisiana, the city of Louis Prima & Louis Armstrong, and home of  Nick La Rocca and the Dixieland Band, to name few  which was a major port of entry for Sicilian immigrants during the late 19th century, the Feast of St. Joseph is a city-wide event. Both public and private St. Joseph’s altars are traditionally built. The altars are usually open to any visitor who wishes to pay homage. The food is generally distributed to charity after the altar is dismantled.There are also parades in honor of St. Joseph and the Italian population of New Orleans which are similar to the many marching clubs and truck parades of Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day. Tradition in New Orleans also holds that by burying a small statue of St. Joseph upside down in the front yard of a house, that house will sell more promptly. In addition to the above traditions, some groups of Mardi Gras Indians stage their last procession of the season on the Sunday nearest to St. Joseph’s Day otherwise known as “Super Sunday,” after which their costumes are dismantled.

Saint Joseph's Day New OrleansSaint Joseph's Day in USA Saint Joseph's Day New Orleans



Saint Joseph’s Day is also celebrated in other American communities with high proportions of Italians such as New York City; Utica, NY, Syracuse, NY, Buffalo, NY, Hoboken, NJ, Jersey City, NJ; Kansas City, MO; and Chicago; Gloucester, Mass., Providence, Rhode Island, where observance (which takes place just after Saint Patrick’s Day) often is expressed through “the wearing of the red”, i.e., wearing red clothing or accessories similar to the wearing of green on Saint Patrick’s Day. St. Joseph’s Day tables may also be found in Rockford and Elmwood Park, Illinois.

excerpt from Wikipedia edited by

The Italian Jewish Holocaust


excerpts from Joshua D. Zimmerman Assey

Web adaptation and graphics by artworks by G.Sucato

<< The Jews represent the only population which has never assimilated in Italy because it is made up of racial elements which are not European, differing absolutely from the elements that make up the Italians.>

Fascist Manifesto of Racist Scientist

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“Laws for the Defense of the Race” 

Sucato_18In November 17, 1938  by Mussolini and  King Vittorio Emanueale Ⅲ of Savoia , the minister of justice and others, Signed the Royal Decree Law  titled:

“Laws for the Defense of the Race”

(La difesa della razza)


decreed that intermarriages between “Aryans” and “non-Aryans” were henceforth illegal (Art. 1), a law that applied equally to Jews and blacks, or any other non-Aryan people, regardless of nationality, thus forming part of a larger racial policy in the wake of Italy’s conquest of Ethiopia; Jews could no longer perform military service in peace or wartime (Art. 10a); Jews were banned from being guardians of non-Jewish minors (Art. 10b); Jews were henceforth barred from any state employment and from owning or managing any business with more than one hundred employees or which received defense contracts (Art. 10c); Jews could no longer own land that had a taxable value of more than 5,000 lire or urban buildings worth more than 20,000 lire (Art. 10d, 10e); Jews were banned from employing domestic servants “of the Aryan race” (Art. 12); and Jews could lose legal parental control over children “who belong to a religion different from the Jewish religion, if it is demonstrated that they give them an education which does not correspond to their religious principles or to the national purpose” (Art. 11).10 In addition, Italian citizenship granted to Jews after 1919 was henceforth revoked (Art. 23) and all foreign Jews – with the exception of those over sixty-five years of age or those married to Italian citizens – were ordered to leave the country within four months or be forcefully expelled (Art. 24 and 25). The Italian racial campaign, which effectively revoked the emancipation of Italian Jewry achieved during 1848–70, thus constituted a profound rupture in the modern history of Italy, interrupting a century-long pattern of growing social integration

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The Italian “Giusti” (Righteous)  despite the Fascist/Savoian Laws

An Italian-born Israeli historian earlier put forth the thesis that during the German occupation, “the Jews once more had an opportunity to experience the deep and courageous sympathy of the Italians, who did not hesitate to expose themselves to great peril to help the persecuted.”5 The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s characterization is similarly representative: “Simple gestures of human decency were the hallmark of Italian rescue efforts even by Italian police officials who were forced to cooperate with the deportation.”6“There is no doubt that, even in 1939–1943, the great majority of Italians remained…opposed to racism and anti-Semitism.”34 De Felice’s book, which for many years was the only scholarly monograph on the topic, was curiously not translated into any foreign language until the English edition appeared in 2001. Thus the most comprehensive scholarly work on the topic was virtually unknown outside of Italy while its dissemination in the country remained confined to an elite group of intellectuals.

Sucato_15Sucato_13Sucato_12About the Artist Giusto Sucato was born in Palermo, Sicily, in 1950. Being an autodidact, his simple and poor work comes from the land and hard work. As a witness of tradition and everyday work – a rite revealing the endless flow of the time and seasons- he is endowed with the extraordinary craft of modelling the matter, though poor and dry, as well as conforming it to aesthetical and poetical values. Read more   >> See also

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The oldest sports car racing event in the world!

If you want to relive the excitement of driving the oldest  circuit rally in the world you “must” head from Palermo to the mountains of Madonie (Palermo province) where the famous open road endurance automobile  “Targa Florio” has been held since 1906. The race was created in 1906 by the wealthy pioneer race driver and automobile enthusiast, Vincenzo Florio, who had started the Coppa Florio race in Brescia and  Lombardy in 1900. Founded in 1906, it was the oldest sports car racing event, part of the World Sportscar Championship between 1955 and 1973.

By the mid-1920s, the Targa Florio had become one of Europe’s most important races, as neither the 24 Hours of Le Mans nor the Mille Miglia had been established yet. Grand Prix races were still isolated events, not a series like today’s F1.
Over the years, the greats of Grand Prix racing and Formula One such as Argentina’s Juan Manuel Fangio, Belgium’s Olivier Gendebien and Britain’s Stirling Moss came to challenge Italian champions Tazio Nuvolari, Alfieri Maserati, Achille Varzi and others, like local hero Nino Vaccarella.

Sicily as a perfect place for Love and Passion Storie

Taormina and the International Gay Community

The international gay community has always loved Taormina, where one of the first gay club of Europe was founded: “Le Perroquet ”, despite the typically conservative attitudes of many Sicilians and the Catholic Church. In fact it was in Taormina, beginning in the 1950’s, where movie star Rock Hudson used to spend his vacations with his closest friends, who included the American novelist Armistead Maupin, as well as his lovers Jack Coates (born 1944); Hollywood publicist Tom Clark (1933–1995), who also later published a memoir about Hudson (Rock Hudson: Friend of Mine); and Marc Christian. Here, far from Hollywood, with its paparazzi and curious journalists (in 1955 Confidential magazine threatened to publish an exposé about Hudson’s secret homosexual life) Hudson and friends enjoyed their Sicilian vacations in peace.. But long before Hudson and his friends arrived, gay artists and writers from Europe and America flocked to Taormina. One of the most famous, and perhaps most scandalous, was the German baron Wilhelm Von Gloeden, whose 19th century nude photographs of local men in classical Roman, Greek and Arab settings still can be bought in souvenir shops in Sicily.

by Vanvakys Edited by George De Stefano

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Sicily and Aeolian Island as a perfect setting for Love and Passion movies

Salina, Aeolian Islands, Pollara Beach
Il Postino, The Postman 1994, directed by Michael Radford
Pablo Neruda (Philippe Noiret) the famous Chilean poet and communist, is exiled to a small island in Sicily for political reasons. His wife accompanies him. On the island, local Mario Ruoppolo  (Massimo Troisi) is dissatisfied with being a fisherman like his father. Mario looks for other work and is hired as a temporary postman with Neruda as his only customer. To get the job, he must declare himself a communist to keep the postmaster happy. He uses his bicycle to hand deliver Neruda’s mail. Though poorly educated, the postman eventually befriends Neruda and becomes further influenced by Neruda’s political views and poetry.
Meanwhile, Mario falls in love with a beautiful young lady, Beatrice Russo (Maria Grazia Cucinotta) , who works in her aunt’s village cafe. He is shy with her, but he enlists Neruda’s help.
Il postino, trailer
La poesia conquista Beatrice
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Sicily and Aeolian Island as a perfect setting for Love and Passion movies

Edda Ciano and the Communist
Lipari, as well as the entire island of Sicily, has always been a perfect setting for novels and motion pictures. Now we’d like to present the most recent movies filmed and set in the Aeolian Islands.
“Edda Ciano and the Communist”, based on the book, written by the Italian journalist Marcello Sorgi:  “Mr. Leonida Bongiorno”, published by Rizzoli Editore in 2009.
Sorgi tells the story of the secret passion of the duce’s daughter, broadcast on TV in March 2011 creating interest and curiosity surrounding the love story between Edda Mussolini, Benito’s rebel daughter, and Leonida Buongiorno, who was already a communist militant and a partisan of the Corps of the Alps.
When Fascism ended, her father and wife, Clara Petacci  were both executed in Milan (28 April 1945) so Edda was exiled to Lipari for two years. The passion between the two lovers grew here. Sorgi, the author, wrote another book that is a love story born out of his love of the Aeolian Islands. In “Volcano Lovers”, Sorgi highlights the love triangle among the director Roberto Rossellini, with the fabulous actor Anna Magnani , the main character and his girlfriend at that time, and the young and beautiful Ingrid Bergman, whom the director fell in love with while filming the movie “Stromboli.”  When Magnani and Rossellini broke up, Roberto, soon after
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The War of the Islands

The summer of 1949 was steaming hot because of the so called “war of the islands” which took place on the Aeolian Islands. In Stromboli, Rossellini and Bergman stayed on with the crew of their movie. While on Volcano, Anna Magnani kept on with her film as well. There was a competition as to which group would complete their film first. The German director of Magnani’s film won, wrapping things up after seven weeks. On the other hand, despite the eight weeks that was initially estimated, it took Rosellini and his staff fifteen weeks to finish. This delay in production was thought by some to be the result of the passionate love affair between the distracted Rosellini and Ingrid Bergman.

“L’Avventura” – The Adventure

The great master Michelangelo Antonioni filmed part of his fantastic masterpiece, “L’avventura” in Sicily and off the coast of Panarea on the nearby island of Lisca Bianca. L’Avventura – meaning the adventure – is a 1960 Italian film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni and starring Gabriele Ferzetti, Monica Vitti, and Lea Massari. Developed from a story written by Antonioni, the film is about a woman who disappears during a Mediterranean boating trip, and during the subsequent search, her lover and her best friend become attracted to each other. The movie is noted for its careful pacing, which puts a focus on visual composition and character development, as well as for its unusual narrative structure. According to an Antonioni obituary, the film “systematically subverted the filmic codes, practices and structures in currency at its time.” Filmed on location in Rome, the Aeolian Islands, and Sicily in 1959 under difficult financial and physical conditions, L’Avventura made Monica Vitti an international star. The film was nominated for numerous awards and was awarded the Jury Prize at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival. L’Avventura is the first film of a trilogy by Antonioni, followed by La Notte (1961) and Eclipse (1962).

Read more about: Aeolian Islands

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I am Tony Scott. The Story of How Italy Got Rid of the Greatest Jazz Clarinetist

The Story of How Italy Got Rid of the Greatest Jazz Clarinetist

Tony Scott “The story of greatest Jazz clarinet proudly Sicilian forgotten by his own people”
Famus quotes: “I decided a long time ago I would rather be a jazz musician than rich and famous. “I never regretted that decision.” “Jazz is Black, why? What is spaghetti?
Anthony Joseph Sciacca, June 17, 1921 – March 28, 2007, was a jazz clarinetist known for an interest in folk music around the world. Born in Morristown, New Jersey, Scott’s parents emigrated from Salemi, Sicily at the turn of the century. His mother played violin, his father guitar, and by age 12, Scott began studying clarinet, influenced by the sounds of Clarence Hutchenrider, Benny Goodman, and Artie Shaw. Scott attended Juilliard School from 1940 to 1942, receiving instruction in clarinet, piano, and composition, and building a strong background in classical music. Drafted into the United States Army in 1942, he was stationed at Governor’s Island in New York harbor and spent his spare time immersed in the jazz scene on 52nd Street.

In the 1950s he worked with Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday.
Billie and Tony had a long relationship, so intimate sometimes that everybody gossiped to be lovers, “She never did anything bad to me“. He also had a young Bill Evans as a side-man, bringing him from the Classical Music to the Jazz world . In the late 1950s, he won the Down Beat Critics poll for clarinetist in 1955, 1957, 1958, and 1959.

Over the past 50 years, he arranged the hit “Day-O” for Harry Belafonte, “de, isede, isede, isedoo! It’s my idea but I wasn’t interested on royalties or else: you know how much money I waould have made with this?. Tony “studied traditional music in Japan, , recorded the first New Age album, and lived in three different countries
His most musically transforming event occurred in 1943 when he saw Charlie “Bird” Parker play for the first time. “My mouth dropped,” Scott told Matthew Landan of the Herald Tribune. “He played so many notes that it sounded like … Chinese music from the moon.” Scott and Parker later became friends, being so talented“, Tony was the only “non African-American allowed to be on the stage with him “. Parker and Scott opened and played together in a Jazz club on 52nd Street for one year.

Scott played and recorded with Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, and Charlie Parker in the late 1940s, and by 1954, led his own quartet in a successful run at Minton’s Playhouse, the location that gave birth to be-bop. “By the early 1950s he had developed a far more confident approach,” wrote Jim Burns in Jazz on Record, “and his soloing became more intense and swinging.” In 1953, Scott won the Down Beat critics’ poll as “New Star” on the clarinet.

In 1957, Scott began an extensive tour of Europe that included a side trip to South Africa. “He ‘sat in’ all over the world,” wrote John S. Wilson in the New York Times. He began the tour in Sweden, performing with the Harry Arnold Orchestra, and forming his own quartet to record “Swingin’ in Sweden” and other pieces.While in Yugoslavia, he spontaneously performed the instrumental “Blues for Charlie Parker” dedicated to his friend’s memory. It would become Scott’s most requested composition. “It was a spur of the moment thing,” Scott told Wilson. “The audience gave me a five-minute standing ovation. Musically, it was the high point of my life.” Scott also traveled to South Africa, a country still gripped by apartheid, where he was allowed to play to multi-racial audiences, just inviting the “Whites” to attend the concert in college for “Blacks”: “There no such law that can stop this!, He said. He received a letter of commendation from Vice President Richard Nixon when he returned, thanking him for his goodwill musical tour.

Scott returned to New York in the later part of 1957, but he would only remain for two years. He played at the Show Boat Club in Greenwich Village in New York City, appeared on a number of episodes of the television show, The Subject Is Jazz, and received good reviews for his performance at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. In 1959, he recorded Sung Heroes with Bill Evans, Scott La Faro, and Paul Motiam. Despite these successes, Scott once again decided to travel, this time to the Far East. By this time, many of the friends who had most inspired him–Billie Holiday, Art Tatum, and Lester Young–had died. Going to the Far East, Scott believed, would help to revitalize his sagging spirits.

In the 1960s he toured South, East, and Southeast Asia. This led to his playing in a Hindu temple, spending time in Japan, and releasing Music for Zen Meditation in 1964 for Verve Records. In 1960 a Down Beat poll for Japan saw readers named him best clarinetist. In 1968 he visited Salemi and Gibellina, the village where his parents were born, sombody saw him crieing, was shoked, everything was completly destroied by a tremendus heartquake.

He settled in Italy in the 1980s, working with Italian jazz musicians such as Franco D’Andrea and Romano Mussolini. He first lived in Sicily, always considering himself as a proud Sicilian, but nobody recogn his great carreer or his importance, was snobbed and treated very badly, not only for his attitude: ” Sai chi sono io? Tony Scott“, do you know who I am? Moved in Rome and Milan later, humilated by participations in stupid entertaiment TV programs in RAI (the national broadcasting channel). He soffered for that of severe depression and reduced himself in poverty: often playing for food or a place to sleep over.

In 1996, he recorded The Old Lion Roars for his seventy-fifth birthday. He also spent time writing his autobiography, Bird, Lady, and Me, covering his memories of 52nd Street.In later years he began showing an interest in Electronica and in 2002 his Hare Krishna was remixed by King Britt as a contribution to Verve Remixed. In 2010, Italian director Franco Maresco released his documentary about the life of Tony Scott, Io sono Tony Scott, ovvero come l’Italia fece fuori il più grande clarinettista del jazz “I am Tony Scott. The Story of How Italy Got Rid of the Greatest Jazz Clarinetist” (with English subtitles).

Few jazz musicians can lay claim to having played with Billie Holiday, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Ben Webster, Bill Evans, Charlie Parker, Clark Terry, and Sarah Vaughan. Tony played with the Duke Ellingtone Orchestra to be considered the best of all time “Tony Scott has emerged from his bop roots and his new-age experiments” wrote Shaun Dale in Cosmik Debris magazine online, “as the senior statesman of the clarinet.” His ability to play a number of jazz styles, combined with openness toward different cultures, has made his music diverse and distinctive. “I decided a long time ago I would rather be a jazz musician than rich and famous,” he told Landan. “I never regretted that decision.”

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The Oriundi – Contributions to the evolution of Jazz by Giuseppe Milici

Imagination and a musical lexicon that’s all we will need to begin our journey through the progression of Jazz Music around the world. The importance of Sicilian musicians in this development, as well as those of Sicilian origin, is evident from the start.

Beginning our brief excursion through the History of Jazz in the 1920th the first name comes in mind maybe Nick La Rocca, founder and leader of one of the most famous jazz band of that time “The Original Dixieland Jazz Band”. Nick and his fellows recorded, New Orleans, Louisiana, reputed to be the first Jazz record ever produced, and were therefore instrumental to the unfolding of what became a popular mode of musical expression worlwide. After producing the “absolute first” jazz record, the group had lot of success on tour throughout the United States and Europe, as well, where Jazz was relatively unknown. Nick La Rocca was not the only member of Sicilian origin in the “Original Dixieland Jazz Band”; the group also included: Frank Signorelli on piano and Tony Sbarbaro on drums. Consequently, it is not far-fetched to claim that the first Jazz record was truly an effort “Made in Sicily”.

Continuing our imaginary trip through jazz in time,we should mention another important step of great importance for our fellow Sicilians: the “Be Bop” era. Many musicians of Sicilian origin wrote and performed this improvisional style of jazz music, born in New York during the WW2 era. Even though the terrible events of the war dominated this period of history in both Sicily and America, jazz musicians in New York continued to work and progress, and it was during time that this new genre emerged. Among the members of the first Be Bop band there was a musician named George Wallington (birth name Giacinto Figlia), who was born in Palermo. He was an integral part of the band, as he was not only the pianist, but also the composer, and played a note worthy role in developing this new style and, ultimately, steering the course of jazz music. It is imperative to mention the other members of the group which comprised of such famous musicians as: Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Oscar Pettiford (contrabass), Max Roach (drums), Don Byas (saxophone). By the end of the 1940′s an exceptional talent had began to draw attention: His name was Tony Scott. Born in New Jersey as Tony Sciacca he hailed from a family of Sicilian immigrants with a passion for music (some of them were musicians). Tony was encouraged to study various instruments including clarinet, saxophone, piano. By 1953 Tony Scott grew into a giant of Jazz music, collaborating with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and arranging and performing for Sarah Vaughan and Billy Holiday. He also played several tours in Africa and Europe, performing with great musicians as Charlie Parker, Bill Evans, Kenny Clarke, Benny Carter, accomplishing a high standard of “traditional jazz” while devoting the best of himself to the “modern style”. Many other names can be mentioned by a jazz lover and in a to up to date list we can name: Chick Corea, Frank Sinatra, Joe Pass, Chuck Mangione, Louie Bellson.

Clearly, these brief notes on the significance of Sicilian musicians to the evolution of Jazz in the world are only the beginning, and do not come close to covering the subject. However, they are useful in comprehending how, at a time not too long ago, some among us in the world contributed to the “creation” of something world-renowned and its melodies resound throughout the world and our ears to this day. Let’s hope they continue to do so for many more

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English version by VanVakys VRC consulting

FERDINANDO SCIANNA the Art of Photography

Ferdinando Scianna started taking photographs in the 1960s while studying
literature, philosophy and art history at the University of Palermo. It was then
that he began to photograph the Sicilian people systematically. Feste Religiose
in Sicilia (1965) included an essay by the Sicilian writer Leonardo Sciascia, and
it was the first of many collaborations with famous writers.
In 2002 Scianna completed Quelli di Bagheria, a book on his home town in
Sicily, in which he tries to reconstruct the atmosphere of his youth through
writings and photographs of Bagheria and the people who live there.

“A photograph is not created by a photographer. What they does is just to open a little window and captureit. The world then writes itself on the film. The act of the photographer is closer to reading than it is to
writing. They are the readers of the world.” Ferdinando Scianna.


GUIA JELO studied at the School of the Stabile Theatre in Catania, and she
has immediately shown her uncommon acting qualities becoming one of the
most important actress in the national scene. With her activity, she has given
prestige to her Sicily. Thanks to her expressiveness and ability she has
played different roles in films (“Le Buttane” (Whores) by Aurelio Grimaldi for
which she was one of the nominees for best actress at the Cannes Festival in
1994), on television (she plays in different episodes of “Il Commissario
Montalbano” by Andrea Camilleri) and in theatre (“Liolà” by Pirandello). Her
CV is rich in roles of leading actress and supporting actress in many films,
TV series and theatre comedies. A pure artist, a versatile actress with an
expressive capacity of various aspects.

Vincent Schiavelli a Sicilian Character actor in Hollywood

vincent-schiavelli (3)Vincent Andrew Schiavelli (November 10, 1948 New York – December 26, 2005, Polizzi Generosa Sicily) was an American character actor noted for his work in movies, stage and television. He was often described as “the man with the sad eyes.“ Schiavelli was born in Brooklyn, New York to a Sicilian-American family. At a certain point of his life wanted to return to his “mother land”, he moved to Polizzi Generosa, Sicily, with his wife.

Madonie Sicily by Vanvakys copy“Vicenzu”, as he wanted to be called in  Sicilian,  was loved and esteemed by everyone in Sicily, friendly and very humble he prematurely died of cancer. Vincent spoke fluent Sicilian.  His grandfather, whom he grew up with, was a cook for an Italian baron (monsu’) before moving to the United States.



 After I get the permission of Roberto Alajmo, writer and journalist, good friend of Madonie 2  copy 3him, I’ll tell you the interesting story on how and why Vincent grandfather came to America . Vincent  was a truly talented artist :  he attended Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School as a teen and studied acting through the Theater Program at New York University. He began performing on stage in the 1960s.



Vincent_SchiavelliSelected in 1997 by Vanity Fair as one of the best character actors in America, had made over 120 film and television appearances.  Aside from his acting career, Vincent was the author of three cookbooks, and has written numerous articles on food for magazines and newspapers. In 2001, he received the James Beard Journalism Award.


He became world wide known after playing an important role as “Fredrickson” in:”

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975)  Won 5 Oscars. Another 30 wins & 12 nominations




Vincent most known appearances and important facts 

  • He was the “subway ghost” in Ghost with Patrick Swayze
  • His character Peter Panama on ”The Corner Bar” (1972) was the first sustained gay character on American network television.
  • Is the only actor besides Christopher Walken to have played both Batman and Bond villains. Both appeared in Batman Returns (1992); Walken as Max Shreck and Schiavelli as The Organ Grinder. Walken played Max Zorin in “A View to a Kill” (1985) with Roger Moore and Schiavelli played Dr. Kauffman in “Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997) with Pierce Brosnan.
  • Vince got his role as a TV exec in Man on the Moon (1999) from his few appearances with Andy Kaufman on “Taxi” (1978).
  • In 2001 Vincent directed a theater piece in Sicily based on nine traditional fables. Six of the eight actors were Sicilian, and everything was authentic down to the local dialect. After the production, Vincent went out on stage with the actors and was met with a five-minute storm of wild flowers from the audience.
  • Made many guest appearances on local Sicilian TV talk shows. Made himself very popular with the “locals,” by speaking proper Sicilian during his interviews.

excerpt from edited by


vincent-schiavelliSchiavelli youngSchiavelli *



Vince book 1 ”In the early 1950s, Bruculinu, as the Sicilian immigrants called their Brooklyn neighborhood, was a remarkable place. If the weather was fair, the streets would be teeming with life. Women would be haggling with pushcart vendors in Sicilian and broken English over pieces of fruits and vegetables. Other vendors in horse-drawn wagons would be chanting their wares amid the song of the ragman’s bell and the iceman’s bellow. Growing up in this place was like having one foot in mid-twentieth-century United States and the other in mid-eighteenth-century Sicily.” ” So begins Vincent Schiavelli’s captivating story of coming of age in the Italian section of Brooklyn. See also “pasta chi sardi a mari” (pasta with sardines at sea) one of his favorite recipe by clicking on this hyperlink >> 


schiavelli at Polizzi GenerosapHe was a great friend, a great chef and a great talker,” Salvatore  Glorioso, who has known Schiavelli for almost four years, said in a telephone interview. “With a smooth, witty conversation, he would make everything look more colorful. I’ve lost a brother”. Till sometime ago calling his cell phone you could hear his recorded message in a funny mix language, half in Sicilian ,and half English ” Vicenzu sugnu…leave a message and your number and I’ll call you back… Arrivederci”


Vincent Schiavelli’s tombstone states:

“When a great artist lives inside a great man, his soul is destined to remain eternal”  Thank you!

R.I.P. Riposa in pace Vicenzu nun ti scurdamu mai!



Vincent Schiavelli in tumbstone Polizzi Generosa Sicily