Joe and I met at Mannes College of Music in 1998. We were work colleagues who shared a love of the Beatles and discussing their songs from every angle. One of my first memories of us making music together was when I was working on my songwriting homework for a private study I was doing with Steve Tarshis. The song was in the style of Cole Porter, and I needed help hearing the complicated chords that I’d written to the melody I’d created. Joe could easily play them on guitar, and the result was a couple of even cooler chord substitutions (Joe is a master at that!) set to a new love song.
And then came Villa Palagonia. We loved making music together and entertaining our audiences. Our joy was sharing joy with others. We took making music very seriously, with entertaining at the center of that. Taking people on a journey through our set lists, was our mission. We hope we did that.
We’re on an extended hiatus. One that I hope isn’t permanent. Life will show us the way. In the meantime, please enjoy the recordings and videos on our site. We hope that they bring you joy.
Oh, and yes, David Mannes, who founded Mannes College of Music, a community that we loved for so many years, said, “Music is my faith.” It was the title of his autobiography. And so, I repeat that here because for Joe and I, it has been our faith too. Our foundation and our center.
I hope our performances here within express that.
Join Villa Palagonia for a performance and discussion about Sicilian folk music.
When: Sunday, December 20, 2020 at 3PM Eastern
Presented by singer and multi-instrumentalist Allison Scola and guitarist Joe Ravo AKA Villa Palagonia
Where: Online via Zoom
Join us for a short concert and discussion about Sicilian folk music. Guitarist Joe Ravo and Experience Sicily owner/curator Allison Scola are the music duo Villa Palagonia, and in addition to original music, we perform Sicilian folk music. During this afternoon presentation featuring the people’s music, we’ll introduce you to some “hits” (if you will) that all Sicilians know and love, so when you visit Sicily, you’ll be ready to sing along.
(We’ll probably play a couple of American holiday songs too!)
Regretfully, like so many of us music makers, we’re on a pause. Well, maybe not completely. We are planning to present some online performances in the coming months.
Let’s not let our in ability to gather in person be the end of live music. Support your local musicians and artists however you can. Art will be the joy that brings us back to life. Let’s keep dancing.
Experience Sicily is thrilled to present the
Sicilian Music Festival New York on Thursday, April 9, 2020!
The Sicilian Music Festival New York will host I Beddi folk group from Sicily as well as feature performers Villa Palagonia, John T. La Barbera, and Michela Musolino and Rosa Tatuata. Wear your dancing shoes for an evening of fiery rhythms inspired by Sicily and southern Italy. I Beddi hails from the eastern slopes of Sicily’s pulsing volcano, Mount Etna. They bring with them tales of the Sicilian people punctuated by the timbres of mandolin, accordion, zampogna, flutes, jaws harp, and frame drums.
Local artists Michela Musolino and Rosa Tatuata, John T. La Barbera, and Villa Palagonia tap into their southern Italian and American roots, building a bridge between the Old World and the New. Join us for this extraordinary concert featuring our guests from Sicily alongside the virtuosic guitar playing of John T. La Barbera, the infectious beats from Michela Musolino and Rosa Tatuata, and the memorable characters illustrated in the stories woven by Villa Palagonia.
85 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Doors at 6:30PM. Show at 7PM.
I Beddi quartet transmits the sounds, songs, lyrics and tales belonging to the Sicilian people. Love songs, nursery rhymes, ironic expressions, serenades, and tarantelle alternate during their performance, thanks to the sensitivity of these versatile artists. The vibrations of the mandolin and marranzano blend with the timbres of the accordion, bagpipe, and flutes, the biting rhythms of the Sicilian tambourines are mixed up with the mellow sounds of the double bass and battente guitar. The last part of the concert, however, is dedicated to dancing. Words turn into dance steps, sounds into imaginary binaries on which one moves through a journey punctuated by the beat of the tambourines.
Check out the band at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfAJK7nzLk0
John T. La Barbera
For almost four decades internationally renown, guitar virtuoso, multi-instrumentalist, and composer John T. La Barbera has enchanted audiences throughout the United States, Europe and South America. Born In New York City, he discovered at the early age of ten,
the alluring beauty of the guitar and the richness and power of its rhythm.
La Barbera is recognized as a pioneer in reviving Southern Italian folk music of which he is one of the first transcribers of it in the US and has published two books with Mel Bay Publications on Italian Folk Music.
Check out John T. La Barbera at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSPRhKf4B68
Michela Musolino and Rosa Tatuata
Michela Musolino is an internationally recognized Sicilian-American singer. The grand-daughter of Sicilians immigrated to America, she explores her own cultural roots through the study and reinterpretation of the folk songs of Sicily. Michela Musolino and ROSA TATUATA — and ensemble of musicians Phil Passantino, Charlie Rutan, and Jeff Panettieri — recently released a CD of Sicilian and Southern Italian folk songs, Sotto le Stelle/Under the Stars. The band performed at the 2019 Montana Folk Festival and is is currently touring.
Check out her performance from The Montana Folk Festival, on July 2019 https://youtu.be/8JNnmU2k0Wc
Multifaceted guitarist Joe Ravo and multi-instrumentalist and singer Allison Scola are Villa Palagonia, an ensemble that calls upon its members’ southern Italian roots and American know-how. Eclectic, acoustic music brushed with hues of Mediterranean folk is the avenue on which Villa Palagonia perches—yet the side streets and dusty alleyways that these musicians have traveled offer engaging timbres woven together by songs imparting tales of the old world and the new.
Hear Villa Palagonia at https://villa-palagonia.com/video/.
In 2020, Villa Palagonia will be performing in the New York City area. Stay tuned for news an updates!
Although we haven’t had too many big shows in a few months, we’ve been playing short sets at events for Experience Sicily, my (Allison’s) tourism company.
We’ve been in a big transition to a new home the past two years, and it’s been very disruptive to our music making; however, it hasn’t completely stopped, and we’ve got plans to be back on the scene soon. Meanwhile, this summer, we’ll be spending a lot of time in Sicily (about 10 minutes from the estate Villa Palagonia!) and southern Italy, soaking up the regional sounds to bring them home and get to work on our next project.
Some rest and relaxation on the Mediterranean Sea will do our hearts some good as we come out of a period of moving homes and settling into our new one, which is turning out to be beautiful!
So, the music is still playing … and we’ll share it with you soon!
Many of Villa Palagonia’s listeners know about my (Allison’s) Sicilian roots–our song topics highlight Sicily and Sicilian immigrants–but most may not know too much about Joe’s roots in Naples, Italy. During our performances, Joe often talks about growing up Italian-American in The Bronx in the 1950s and 1960s, but you may not know about the amount of research he’s done about his Italian heritage. Needless to say, it’s a lot!
So much so, that Joe recently became recognized as an Italian citizen, and he’s on the way to obtaining his Italian passport. One step on this journey for him is going to visit his ancestral town of Casalnuovo di Napoli, which, when his grandfather left, was a small town, but now is part of the greater Naples metropolitan area. Well, in July, we are going to Bella Napoli to do some more exploring (We were there for a few days in 2012 and before that in 2005.), both to learn more about Joe’s roots and also to take-in more of the local music that we love.
We can’t wait!
It’s been a busy time relocating to the “Left Bank” this past year and a half, and we are looking forward to getting back to writing and producing some new songs for our next Villa Palagonia project. We hope that our trip to the homeland inspires some engaging songwriting. Stand by for more in the months ahead!
Villa Palagonia has set out on the “Left Bank,” as we like to call our new home in Englewood, New Jersey. We are thrilled to join many of our friends on the west side of the Hudson, yet still remaining true to our New York City roots with frequent visits for work and play in the City.
As we settle in to our new headquarters, we are purposefully keeping our schedule less demanding for a few months, but we are certainly keeping our toes in the action. We have a few appearances in spring 2018, that we hope you’ll join us for!
March 4: On Hootenanny Cafe Radio Show on WTBQ with Jon Stein
In early March we’ll be on Hootenanny Cafe. You can tune in to hear a set of Villa Palagonia on the radio!
March 18: St. Joseph’s Day with Experience Sicily at Cacio e Vino
Mid-March, we’ll be getting you all singing for St. Joseph’s Day at Cacio e Vino with Experience Sicily. The afternoon, which features a traditional Saint Joseph’s Day Sicilian feast, will be great fun. Reserve your spot at Eventbrite!
April 8: Villa Palagonia Performs at the Sounding Board Coffeehouse
In April, we’ll be in northern Connecticut for a full concert at the Sounding Board Coffeehouse.
Open Jam and Song Swap at 2PM
Concert at 3PM (2 sets with a 20-minute intermission)
In cooperation with Winding Trails, Inc., this special afternoon will take place at
The Lodge at Winding Trails
50 Winding Trails Drive
Advanced tickets are available at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3325579
$15 for Sounding Board and Winding Trails members
$20 general public
May 1: A World of Women’s Voices Presented by the College Club of Northern New Jersey
A World of Women’s Voices
Woman’s Club of Ridgewood, 12 Noon
The Woman’s Club of Ridgewood
215 W. Ridgewood Ave.
Contact the College Club of Northern New Jersey about attending at email@example.com.
A World of Women’s Voices is a powerful, unique, collaborative performance featuring three artists — Sharon Goldman, Bev Grant and duo Villa Palagonia — who celebrate the power of women’s stories from around the world, from Italian folk tales and biblical stories to African women, New York immigrant history (including the Triangle Fire), personal/childhood narratives and labor movement anthems.
We are offered an enriching personal and community experience not only through the stories told in the songs — which the artists knit together by illustrating how, even with our different backgrounds, we all are essentially connected — but also through encouraging us to sing and, in some cases, dance along!
June 24: On Hootenanny Cafe Radio Show on WTBQ with Jon Stein
On Sunday, June 24 we’ll be live on Hootenanny Cafe. You can tune in to hear an entire broadcast co-hosted by Villa Palagonia with in-studio performances.
Hello Friends! Just in time for the NERFA Conference, we’re releasing our latest video “Mi Votu e Mirivotu (I Turn and Turn Again),” filmed by World One Video’s JB Nuttle.
Based on a beloved Sicilian folk song, we’ve arranged our own interpretation and written English lyrics in the spirit of the original song.
Meanwhile, Villa Palagonia will be showcasing “I Turn and Turn Again” at the NERFA (North East Region Folk Alliance) Conference on Thursday night in Stamford, CT. Please join us!
THURSDAY, NOV. 9
11:00 PM | Heart & Hope Showcase, Room 2100
11:45 PM | Around Robin Showcase, Room 2035
In the Round with Christopher Brown and Millpond Moon
We’re happy to present “Baciami Caro,” which means, “Kiss me, baby!” We recorded this video with World One Video on site in Denton, Maryland. We had just a few minutes, and this is the one take we were able to record!
We hope you like it! Please let us know what you think!