During this past summer, I attended my friend’s bachelor party in New Orleans. Prior to visiting the Crescent City, I had made preliminary arrangements to mix some business with pleasure and schedule an interview with Lena Prima, daughter of Louis Prima, the irrepressible, jazz trumpeter, singer and just a gigolo New Orleanian showman from the1930s...

If you’re of a certain age, you know Louis Prima's songs and wild on-stage antics from TV or Las Vegas.  If you’re younger, you know his songs recorded by younger artists like David Lee Roth and Brian Setzer or in TV commercials. Others know him as the singin’, swingin’ voice of King Louie in Disney’s animated film The Jungle Book. One thing’s for...

While the African American impact on jazz is recognized and well established, the contribution of Italian immigrants on jazz is not. Italians arrived in America playing mandolin, violin, guitar and piano. They brought traditions of Southern-Italian marching bands, opera and folk histories. Whether Neapolitan, Sicilian or Calabrese, they understood...

Rows upon rows of hills laced with vines intermingle with the curves of the G-clef: the history that has developed in Salaparuta is one-of-a-kind. With just under two thousand inhabitants, this municipality of Trapani is the symbol of the 1968 earthquake that occurred along the river Belice and destroyed the town’s historic center; but only a few p...

IN THE MOOD IN OUR OWN WAY: a documentary written, produced, directed and narrated by LUCA MARTERA, edited by CARLA BRANDOLINI, linguistic consultant and additional voice narration FRANK PISATURO. A Sexual Radar Production, 2018 https://vimeo.com/296585302 From the ancient Italian tradition of the Great Opera Houses to the Neapolitan melodies of 20...

There’s a very interesting book called “Flavor and Soul: Italian America at Its African American Edge”, which tells very well about an important aspect of the Italian American experience.  The relationship between the Italian Americans and the African Americans reveals more than one could think, about how the Italian Americans integrated into the A...

We think of It’s a Wonderful Life as a great American movie, a great Jimmy Stewart movie, a great Frank Capra movie — and, of course, as a great Christmas movie. We don’t think of it as a great Italian-American movie. But we should, especially at Christmastime, when Italian-Americans — of Capra’s generation and beyond — can be heard in every shop a...

In this episode of The Italian American Podcast, we talk with Lena Prima, New-Orleans based singer songwriter and daughter of the legendary Louis (Louie) Prima. In our Stories Segment, Anthony reads a section from his new book, Forty Days in Italy Con La Mia Famiglia: How to Travel to Research Your Italian Roots, which will be available on Tuesday,...

Music has always had a crucial importance for the Italians in America. As a sentiment of strong attachment to the mother land and its traditions, or as a channel to express their passion; as a vehicle for revenge due to the success of the opera and then to the affirmation of the Italian artistic talent, from the Italian crooners of the 40s and the...