Dear Friends and fans around the world:
I hope that you are doing well and that this letter finds you in good spirits.
We know there have been challenging times, and the world has changed tremendously. I have been working very hard these past two years to adapt my life as a touring artist, teacher, and performer by creating an online center/school with my company I GIULLARI DI PIAZZA.
The world is reopening, and we are happy to announce that we are finally performing live again!
I am very grateful for your past support, which has helped us reach 42 years of beautiful artistic and educational projects.
Happy to share that our special fundraiser that we held on December 4th, at Local 92 (Second Avenue & 6th Street, NYC) courtesy of restaurant owner Marcello Assante was very successful and sold out!
This was our first in-person fundraiser since the pandemic, and we look forward to being together again for this beautiful celebration.
For this momentous 42nd anniversary, we honored esteemed actor Armand Assante and accomplished actress Eleonora Pieroni and long-term Supporter of I Giullari and Founder of Soul De Cuba Cafe, Jesus Puerto.
We presented a special performance featuring excerpts from the production: “TARANTATA” South Italian Tarantella trance dances, ritual drumming and healing chants for the Black Madonna, and I Giullari’s favorite upbeat repertoire.
This was a festive afternoon to remember, with Italian food, and wine, and we hope that you will be able to attend! You will have a chance to meet great actor Armand Assante & beautiful Italian actress & TV host Eleonora Pieroni, and the core members of our group I Giullari Di Piazza!
ALESSANDRA BELLONI - Artistic director, vocals and percussion
JOHN LA BARBERA - Music director, guitar, and mandolin
STEVE GORN - Bansuri flutes saxophone and clarinet
MARA GERETY - Violin & vocals
FRANCESCA SILVANO, GRETA CAMPO, PETER DE GERONIMO - Dancers
MARK MINDEK - Stilt dancer
You can still donate before the end of the year t help support our projects!
WHO WE ARE & PAST ACHIEVEMENTS:
I co-founded the company I Giullari di Piazza in the beginning of 1980, together with guitarist/composer John La Barbera, and we began our artistic career at New York University where we were artists in residence for 10 years. Over the years, and with your support, we have accomplished many things, including becoming artists in residence at The Cathedral of St. John Divine, and performing at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Symphony Space to name a few. We are still working on many more accomplishments. This past year alone, we have accomplished and created the following events and ongoing projects:
• We created THE CENTER FOR THE BLACK MADONNA. An online and in-person educational space to honor the ancestral lineages of Southern Italy, centering on the devotion to the Black Madonna that still thrives there, by teaching, performing, and reviving interest in studying the musical traditions of these regions, mainly for global Italians and their descendants. We offer online lectures and live sessions featuring members of our group I Giullari Di Piazza as well as intensive retreats in Southern Italy.
• I was featured in a documentary series titled Dream of Italy, filmed in the south of Italy. We filmed an episode based on my book, which was dedicated to two important Black Madonnas, and also featured Academy Award-winning actress Marisa Tomei.
• SACRED DRUMMING FOR SEVEN BLACK MADONNAS, was held on October 19 and it was a great success. This new concert, features ritual drumming and dance, drumming, and video presentations from the region of Campania. It is truly a full immersion into the ancient drumming traditions and devotional chants in honor of the Black Madonna from the region of Campania.
• SUMMER INTENSIVE EDUCATIONAL PILGRIMAGES IN REGIONS OF CAMPANIA AND SICILY.
These powerful journeys and tours transport participants to a time and place where an unbroken and ancient tradition continues today with folk music, processions, devotional drumming, and dance, visiting the sacred sites of the Black Madonna. After the success from last summer, we plan to offer two more programs in the summer of 2023. By the sea & mountains in the region of Naples and in Sicily.
- Sicily on June 19 to June 29th! More Information Here
- Campania on July 31 to August 8 (to be confirmed) More Information Here
Please enjoy this video of our powerful visit to the region of Naples in the summer of 2022.
• My book Healing Journeys with the Black Madonna published by Inner Traditions-Bear & Company is still doing very well and has also been published in French by a great publisher, Le Duc. Available on Amazon
• We also launched several online courses with the online platform Teachable. Our debut course, The Voyage of the Black Madonna, is available alongside my new online Beginners Frame drum and Chants series. More information and registration here
Please enjoy this preview:
WHY WE NEED FUNDING
Our vision is to spread and keep alive these healing & folkloric traditions from Southern Italy as far and wide as we can, both live and online. This also follows the vision of our newly reformed board of directors.
We continue to do amazing work, but we need funding to continue performing and teaching online and in person through the end of 2023.
Specifically, funding is needed to:
• Present and produce new live performances
• Create and preserve online courses and ongoing classes for 2 to 6 artists
• Pay adequate artists' fees, technical crew, and administration costs for a cast of 3 to 12 artists
• Hire professional marketing and public relations personnel for the following projects to take place at the Cathedral of St John the Divine, NYU Casa Italiana, & the Italian American Museum.
• We are looking forward to launching an intensive ministry program with Alessandra Belloni and Father Phil to study the mystery of the Black Madonna and the teachings of the Holy Sophia. Final Ordination and Credentialing will allow candidates to perform as officiants of prayers, liturgies, rituals and ministry functions.
• We are currently working on creating a home base in New York while offering on-site and/or virtual field trips to specific historical and spiritual sites.
• We are working on launching the First Southern Italian Musical Folkloric Institute!
Led by Internationally Renowned Singer, Percussionist, Teacher, and Author Alessandra Belloni & Co-Founder and Director John La Barbera from the Italian Folk Music, Theater and Dance Company I Giullari Di Piazza, (the Players of the Square) a non-profit organization founded in 1980 and artist in residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.)
The Center will have a base in New York at the proposed site of the Italian American Museum with Director Dr. Joe Scelsa as well as offering virtual courses & classes. We are also hoping for a possible collaboration with CASA ITALIAN NYU while offering on-site field trips to specific historic and spiritual sites in Southern Italy.
The school will offer the following distinct training curriculums:
1. The Black Madonna & The Tarantella Healing Music of Southern Italy: The initial deep dive into the teachings of the Southern Italian musical and dance traditions of the Black Madonna and the Tarantella or Taranta in specific regions: Campania, Calabria, Sicily, Puglia. (see example trip planned July 31 to August 8)
2. The Black Madonna & The Tarantella Healing Music of Southern Italy Teacher Training: A more intensive teacher training allowing the students to share the legacy of Alessandra’s work and passion. Students must meet all pre-requisite trainings and studies prior to being accepted to the teacher training.
Our goal is to raise at least $3,000 by December 31st of this year.
We sincerely hope that you will attend the Tarantata & Fundraiser Dinner on December 4 and that you will choose to support our ongoing artistic & educational programs.
If you are considering a tax-deductible donation before the end of the year, this is your opportunity to keep Southern Italian folkloristic traditions alive!
WHAT YOUR DONATION WILL FUND:
Your tax-deductible contribution will also enable us to hire great teachers!
WHO ARE THE TEACHERS:
Company Based Teachers and Collaborators
● Alessandra Belloni - Artistic Director - president of the non-profit
● John la Barbera - Co-Founder, Musical Director, composer, and guitarist.
● Francesca Silvano - Dancer
● Joe Deninzon - Violinist, Composer, and Arranger
US-Based Teachers and Authors
● Dr. Rev. Matthew Fox - Best-selling Author, Creation Spirituality, https://www.matthewfox.org/
● Prof. Apela Colorado - Mary Magdalen Scholar, Founder/Director of World Indigenous Science Network, https://www.facebook.com/apela.colorado
● Father Phil Harmon - Educator, Orthodox Monsignor, Founder/Director of the Kahumana Retreat & Steiner Center, Hawaii
Italy-Based Teachers and Authors
● Nando Citarella, internationally renowned singer, percussionist, teacher from Naples
● Prof. Angelo Tonelli - Theater Expert, Jungian Analyst, Italiana Shaman, Philosopher and Author of over 50 Books Ancient Greek Myths, https://www.facebook.com/angelo.tonelli.7, http://www.pangea.news/angelo-tonelli-intervista-sapienza-oriente-e-occidente/
● Dr. Armando Mei - Egyptologist, Author, and Archeologist, https://www.facebook.com/ArmandoMei67
We hope you can help I Giullari di Piazza continue to present these powerful musical productions and presentations.
If you donate by December 2nd, we would love to honor your contribution in the program for the Tarantata & Fundraiser Dinner:
● $50: you will receive your name on the program
● $100: my book Rhythm is the Cure and your name on the program
● $150: My Book Healing Journeys with the Black Madonna - your name on the program: https://www.everbutton.com/pay/3752
● $200 both my books & your name on the program: https://www.everbutton.com/pay/3924/
● $500 – SPECIAL download of my Virtual Pilgrimage to the Black Madonna, your name on the program: https://www.everbutton.com/pay/3925/
You will experience the power of the Black Madonna & the tarantella with each thank-you gift!
If you need a tax deduction before the need of the year this is a good cause!
I appreciate your support!
Blessings and Happy Holidays,