Mediterranean Music at Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò Promotes Legality
Wherever tradition and modernity come together, i-Italy is there to cover it!
Musicians Mauro Pagani, Marco Cappelli, Roy Paci and the Sun met to discuss the roots of traditional and popular music and its fusion with modern sounds on October 13 at Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò.
Casa Italiana’s director, Stefano Albertini, introduced the event, describing it as a very successful attempt to create a bridge between different musical genres.
The result was a special evening in which performance and spoken word created an ideal and interesting mix.
Thanks to the musicians’ sense of irony and humor, especially Sicilian trumpeter and singer Roy Paci, a light-hearted and entertaining atmosphere pervaded the event. The engaging musical performances brought both musicians and audience members together.
Alex Pacino, a member of the Palermo-based group "Sun", explained the group’s origins and artistic collaboration, and along with two other members Diego Spitaleri and Dario Sulis, he performed one of their most important compositions associated with folk singer Rosa Balestrieri. “The Ballad of Beppe Fava” has a primarily social message since it is dedicated to the journalist killed by the mafia in 1984.
Mauro Pagani and Marco Cappelli added to the evening with their diverse musical and professional experience. One has a background in blues, rock, and experimental music while the other is more classically trained, but he, too, is heavily influenced by modernity, especially contemporary guitar music.
Mauro Pagani, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and founder of the Italian group Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM), has worked with many important Italian artists including Roberto Vecchioni, Ornella Vanoni, Ligabue, and last but not least Fabrizio De André.
Marco Cappelli, on the other hand, boasts collaborations with Anthony Coleman, Michel Godard, Butch Morris, Franco Piersanti, and Jim Pugliese, and he is currently working on more contemporary music with the Extreme Guitar Project. This is a series of new music solos that Cappelli is composing for Edition Peters, the prestigious music publishing house.
Roy Paci, also a composer and arranger, talked about his musical journey beginning in his childhood and including his collaborations with international artists, as well as his social activism through organizations such as Amnesty International, AMREF, and Emergency. These activities have allowed him to make a concrete contribution to important issues such as building wells in Africa to bring water to the inhabitants of Kaijido.
“I started with a band in my country, and after many collaborations and concerts all over the world I ended up working on the Aretuska project. The name derives from the fusion of two words: Aretusa, the name of a wellspring in Siracusa, Sicily, and ska, the group’s genre of music.”
“We’ve been working on this project since 1998, when we came together professionally. I wanted to work in different genres and express the various musical influences we were exposed to on our own.”
The event was sponsored by ANFE (National Association of Emigrant Families), which recently organized a series of events in New York around the theme of the legality and anti-mafia activities. A heartfelt thanks goes to Learco Saporito and Gaetano Calà, the national president and director of the Department of Migration Policy, ANFE Sicily, respectively.
Unexpected and welcome guests of the evening included Italy’s national anti-mafia prosecutor Piero Grasso and Don Ciotti, a priest who is personally committed to fighting the mafia through his organization “Libera.”
The evening’s participants and organizers all received “crooked caps,” which were presented as a new symbol of legality co-opted from the mafia.
It is a provocative yet significant gesture because it also promotes legal and legitimate work for women. In fact, the famous Sicilian caps were originally “made in Sicily” products, sewn solely by women, and promoted as an ethical product under the patronage of the United Nations.
“Music, innovation, tradition, and legality are issues that i-Italy continues to promote as part of its cultural and publishing mission,” said Letizia Airos, executive director of i-Italy.org. “This is an attempt, certainly not an easy one, to bring attention to an Italy that is changing and can no longer be viewed through stereotypes. At the same time, however, the complexity of certain subjects like the mafia still plagues our society. It should not be hidden, as anti-mafia prosecutor Grasso has said: silence is what keeps the mafia alive.”