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Out of Palermo

Rais gioacchino cataldo died last night

He died at home on his island, Favignana, after a three-month illness. He was the last rais of the Favignana tonnara. His photo was on the cover of my first book, Mattanza. There was no one like him, a soft-hearted giant, a demi-god of the sea.
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Original Mattanza on e bay, the second of fifteen copies

I am selling fifteen copies of the original Mattanza book. The second copy is on sale now at ebay. Click on the link at right to go to it.
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R.I.P. Vincenzo Sercia, Favignana tonnaroto

Last night I learned that Vincenzo Sercia had died. I wrote about him in Mattanza. He was the former Prima Voce, the soloist, of the ciurma, the team of 100, then 80, tuna fisherman working under their supreme commander, the rais. He was already retired when I knew him in the early 1990s. I would follow him with a tape recorder begging him to sing the words of the cialome, the traditional, mystical work songs of the Favignana tonnara, but he always slipped through my fingers. These were not songs to be sung on land. It was taboo.
But one spring day in 1993, when documentary filmmaker Luciano Bovina was gathering material for a film about the tonnara, I learned that Vincenzo Sercia and a portion of the current ciurma would sing the cialome near Punta Lunga, in a rocky seaside cove for Luciano's benefit. I was invited, too, and in the pink dusk I recorded Vincenzo Sercia singing the songs. The most haunting is Ai-a-mola. Read More 
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remembering the tonnara of favignana

I am on the island of Favignana and I see many changes. I am nostalgic for the island in the days of the tonnara. Click on the caption to see a slide show of those days.
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Favignana






I am back on Favignana. I rented a bike from Zu Isidoro's ( RIP Zu Isisdoro) and peddled to Bue Marino, my favorite spot. One of them. No words for the beauty.  Read More 
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Rais Gioacchino Cataldo guest appearance on cooking show

Thanks to a heads-up from fellow Sicily lover Karen LaRosa of LaRosaWorks.com:

Gioacchino Cataldo, Rais della tonnara di #Favignana

Gioacchino Cataldo, Rais della tonnara di #Favignanaporta la tradizione dei prodotti di tonnara a MasterChef Italia 5#egadi #isoleegadi #egadiislands #visitegadiGioacchino Cataldo l'ultimo Rais

Posted by Visit Egadi on Friday, February 19, 2016
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A bloodless mattanza for tourists

I read in La Repubblica that the tonnara is coming back to Favignana, but just to draw tourists, and the men will not lift the tuna in teams of eight with lances of varying lengths as they used to. To know what a tonnara used to be like, please read my first book, Mattanza.  Read More 
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SHort Break: Favignana Photos



Circa early- to mid-1990s. Here's the video link in case the embed code does not work:
http://vp.telvue.com/preview?id=T01304&video=61535
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Cala Rossa, Favignana

Cala Rossa. Favignana
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Gioacchino Cataldo before he was rais

Gioacchino on his way to place flowers on the graves of Favignana's former raises.
I followed him on my bike and wrote about it in Mattanza. Honest to God, he was like a character straight out of the movie Quo Vadis.
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