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Out of Palermo

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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Il capo market in the morning

Il Capo street market, Palermo, 11 a.m. Photo: Rosa Maria Zito
One of Palermo's historic street markets.
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The real thing: Italian ice man in front of Teatro Massimo



Funny, he even has a Coca Cola flavor.
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Yussupha plays

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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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Ex votos

It is a tradition all over southern Italy to promise a thing of value to a saint in exchange for a "grazia ricevuta", a favor received, often a cure. Those who could afford it often bought silver miniature bas relief replicas of the body part which received the grace. They pin them to the  Read More 
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1944 Sunday dinner under the grape arbor

I remember these Sundays as something fun. The food and the fun on the lawn would go on into evening when I would catch fireflies and put them in a jar with holes punched in the cap for air. We little kids had a tin tub for a pool and a garden hose draped  Read More 
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culture clash

Immigrant woman and child in the Capo market street
The most colorful clothing can always be found in Il Capo market, whether on display or worn by the denizens.
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