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Sicily

Gioacchino Cataldo on full page ad in NYT

Before he was the last rais of the Favignana tonnara, Gioacchino Cataldo was a boat captain and that was when I took this picture of him. It is superimposed on a photo I took of Bue Marino, the sea cove near the house I rented at the edge of the island. It is also the cover of the first edition of the book, Mattanza.

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Clemente after hours

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Mattanza in Ambassador, page 3

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Mattanza in Ambassador, page 2

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Mattanza in Ambassador Magazine 4 years before the book

Page 1 of 3.

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Old friend on Favignana

On a rare day in spring when the tonnaroti did not have to work, Vito Giangrasso ( right) took me to Il Pozzo, which is a point on the east side of the island, to watch Benito Ventrone fish.
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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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