In July, Villa Palagonia, the music duo, visited Villa Palagonia, the estate in Bagheria, Palermo Province, in Sicily. Allison’s cousin, Filippo Buttitta took some beautiful photos of us being inspired by the “Villa of the Monsters.” As we finish our debut album, “Rhythms & Roots,” we were thrilled to have had the opportunity to return to the place that represents the roots of our musical concepts. There are more photos where these came from! These are just two of many that we’re ready to share right now.
Join us on the journey to complete “Rhythms & Roots.” We’ll be launching a pre-sale campaign in the weeks ahead. Sign our mailing list on the Contact page.
Here’s another photo, from the interior of Villa Palagonia.
We are so thrilled to be bringing Villa Palagonia to Chicago this month! Please share the news with friends and family.
And, even if you’re not in Chicago, that doesn’t mean you can’t hear our show! On Saturday night, we’ll be live on WFMT radio, and you can stream the concert from your computer at WFMT.com. See below for more info.
Friday, February 6th, 2015 – Doors open 7:15 PM, music at 8 PM
Clark House Concerts
Please make a reservation for street address by calling 708-848-2205.
Oak Park, IL 60303
Peter and Nancy Clark will be our gracious hosts for an intimate evening of music, stories, and treats in their home.
Reservations are required. Address details will be given once you have been in contact with the Clarks. Please call Nancy at 708-848-2205 to reserve your spot!
Saturday, February 7th, 2015
Villa Palagonia Live on Folkstage – 8 PM CST
(Listen Live! 9PM Eastern on wfmt.com)
5400 N. St Louis
Chicago, IL 60625
Price: Membership to Chicago’s FM 98.7
Hosted by Richard Warren, Folkstage is an uninterrupted, one-hour concert broadcast featuring some of the best traditional and singer-songwriter talent in folk music. The live concerts can be are heard Saturdays at 8 PM CST/9 PM EST on WFMT (98.7 FM) or streaming at http://www.wfmt.com, immediately preceding the broadcast of the renowned folk show, The Midnight Special.
Joe and I are so grateful to Joe Pszonek of Radio Nowhere on WMSC-FM for presenting us at the DJ Showcase at the North East Region Folk Alliance (NERFA) conference in November. It was an amazing experience for us, and we have been thrilled with the reception. We made terrific contacts at the conference, and hope to be touring around the region in the coming year… which brings me to our next news!
We are going into the recording studio at the end of December/beginning of January to record our debut album. We are getting everything ready and rehearsing with Dave Mancuso (percussion) and Greg Maker (bass) in preparation. It’s going to be a busy holiday season for us, but that means laying the ground work for an awesome 2015!
More news about our record to come!
Villa Palagonia is thrilled to be returning to the North East Region Folk Alliance Conference this year. We’ll be showcasing at the following times. If you are one of the conference attendees, please join us!
Thursday, Nov. 13, 9:52-10:02 PM – Suzi Wollenberg Folk DJ Showcase, The Bentley
— Presented by Joe Pszonek, Radio Nowhere, WMSC-FM, Upper Montclair, NJ
Thursday Late Night, Nov. 13, 12:15-12:45 AM – GoGirlsMusic.com, Room 1316
— ITR – Villa Palagonia w/ Karen Hudson
Thursday Late Night, Nov. 13, 1:15-2:00 AM – The Ladies Room, Room 1502
— ITR – Villa Palagonia w/ Beggar’s Ride and The Ladies Auxiliary Ukulele Orchestra
Friday Late Night, Nov. 14, 1:45 AM – Mist-Covered Mountains, Room 1525
— 15 minute set of Villa Palagonia
Saturday Late Night, Nov. 15, 1:15 AM – Mist-Covered Mountains, Room 1525
— 15 minute set of Villa Palagonia
Villa Palagonia learned that we will be featured at the North East Region Folk Alliance conference in November on the Suzi Wollenberg Folk DJ Showcase as WMSC 90.3FM Radio Nowhere Joe Pszonek’s pick! We are so thrilled and thankful!
Furthermore, we look forward to catching up with all of our folk music buddies and kindred spirits at NERFA in November!
Pera Mediterranean in NY (September 12), NYC’s Feast of San Gennaro (September 14), Tappan, NY’s Italian Fest (September 14), Caffe’ Vivaldi (October 28), and more are on Villa Palagonia’s calendar for fall 2014. Furthermore, we’ve schedule a big photo shoot with photographer John Saponara (who photographed the cover of the best selling memoir Eat, Prey, Love), and we’ll be going into the studio to lay down tracks for our forthcoming album.
So after a marvelous two weeks writing new songs and rehearsing at La Chiara di Prumiano agriturismo in Tuscany, Italy in July, big things are afoot! Lots to do as we look forward to February 2015 when we’ll be featured on Chicago’s WFMT Folk Stage with Rich Warren and we release our debut record!
Stay tuned for details on all of the above on the Events page.
Villa Palagonia recently completed a successful tour of the mid-Western United States as part of Chicks with Dip’s” Joni Mitchell’s Blue: A Celebration.” We performed for wonderful, robust audiences at The Ark in Ann Arbor, MI, The Acorn Theater in Three Oaks, MI, and Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, IL (a sell-out!!). The highlight of the tour was a two-hour, live radio broadcast of “Blue” on WFMT’s Folk Stage hosted by Richard Warren.
Currently, Allison and Joe are writing new songs for a Villa Palagonia record to be released some time in 2015. Additionally, the band will be performing in the New York area in May, June, and July. (And perhaps in Sicily in August? …TBD!) See “Events” for details.
We hope you’ll join us!
Posted by Allison Scola |
Villa Palagonia is a Baroque villa located in Bagheria, a town in Sicily, Italy near Palermo. The villa was built to be the country home of the fifth Prince of Palagonia, a baron under the realm of the King of Spain. In 1749, Ferdinando Gravina, the seventh Prince of Palagonia, commissioned over six hundred statues of monsters, fantastic characters, imaginary animals, knights, ladies, peasants, and musicians in order to decorate the outer walls and grounds of the estate. Goethe visited Villa Palagonia in 1787 and noted that it was remarkably unique, commenting that the statues were a menagerie of egos.
Today, only 72 of the peculiar statues remain. Each one seems to hold its own story or represents a caricature of someone we each may know.
As musicians, what fascinates me and guitarist Joe Ravo are, of course, the statues of musicians—specifically the instruments they are playing and the combinations of them. Not only do the players represented possess a lute-like mandola/bouzouki, a chitarra battente, a flute, and a tambourine—instruments common in Western European folk music of the 17th century, but they also hold a double bass-like violone, an early clarinet, some kind of eastern-Mediterranean bowed lyre, Persian and Asian drums, and maraca-like shakers—further-afield and rhythmic instruments that tell us that there was more to the parties the Prince hosted in the villa’s Hall of Mirrors than our history books lead us to believe.
My paternal grandmother, who immigrated to New York in the 1920s, grew up in the shadow of Villa Palagonia in Bagheria. It’s a place I’ve visited many times; a place that I find intriguing and inspirational. Bagheria is at the crossroads—between barons and peasants, between lemon orchards and fig orchards, between mountains and sea, between Europe and Africa, and between ancient mysteries and modern realities.
Eclectic, acoustic pop brushed with hues of Mediterranean folk is the avenue on which our new band Villa Palagonia perches—yet the side streets and dusty alleyways that we travel offer engaging timbres that are woven together by songs imparting tales of the old world and the new.
Joe Ravo is a versatile guitarist who has performed alongside the likes of Dave Brubeck and Stanley Turrentine and traveled around the world as a cultural ambassador for the US Department of State. Percussionist and drummer Dave Mancuso has been heard throughout the US in The Lion King, in the orchestra of Broadway’s Spamalot, and as a member of various New York ensembles.
I’ve (Allison Scola) performed at venues as grand as Shea Stadium and as intimate as my cousin Evelina’s patio in Bagheria—a place where North, South, East, West and humanity collide.