October 23, 2016

Feast of San Vincenzo Martire

Viva San Vincenzo!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
The fourth Sunday of October is the Feast Day of San Vincenzo Martire, patron Saint of Craco, Lucania. To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting a Prayer to Saint Vincent. (*) The accompanying photo was taken during the 2012 Feast of San Vincenzo Martire at Saint Joseph's Church (5 Monroe Street) in Manhattan, the national shrine of San Vincenzo. For more on Saint Vincent's Feast Day please visit the Craco Society and the San Fele Society.

Prayer to St. Vincent
Patron of Craco, Lucania

O strong and glorious St. Vincent,
our distinguished patron, who
had the honor of giving your life
for loyal testimony to Jesus Christ,
turn your loving gaze on us
who by wise design of
providence, are, the unworthy,
fortunate guardians of your relics.

Teach us, oh, generous Martyr,
the tenacity to do good
in the way in which you serve as model,
having preserved good intentions
even when you were violently
torn from the quiet life of our family.

Communicate with our souls
a little of the great love
which you showed
evidence of in your lifetime.
Pray to the Lord Jesus
that because the generosity of
your love of the Cross, that our hearts will be
evermore enkindled.
Present to Jesus, sweet friend
of our souls and crown of Martyrs our
earnest desire to support
courageously, like you,
every suffering of our lives, Amen

(*) A Prayer to St. Vincent courtesy of the San Felese Society

Feast of San Giovanni da Capestrano

Viva San Giovanni!
October 23rd is the Feast Day of San Giovanni da Capestrano, patron Saint of military chaplains and jurists. He is also the protector of Capestrano, a commune in the Province of L'Aquila (Abruzzo), where he was born in 1386. 
San Giovanni is revered as the "soldier saint" for his role in the valiant defense of Belgrade against the Ottoman Turks in 1456. With his fiery sermons, he helped raise a peasant army and assisted John Hunyadi, the heroic White Knight of Wallachia, in breaking the siege and routing the invaders. 
To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer in honor of St. John of Capistrano. The accompanying photo comes courtesy of Tea at Trianon.
Prayer to St. John of Capistrano
Lord, you raised up Saint John of Capistrano to give your people comfort in their trials. May your Church enjoy unending peace and be secure in your protection. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

The Emperor of Philadelphia

No man in the history of the City of Philadelphia was more loved, hated, admired, feared and despised than Mayor Francis L. Rizzo, Sr.
Monument to Mayor Frank Rizzo
By Niccolò Graffio
“The streets of Philadelphia are safe.  It’s only the people who make them unsafe.” – Frank. L. Rizzo
“The City of Brotherly Love” began as a settlement founded by William Penn in 1682.  The previous year, Penn had received a charter from King Charles II of England to establish what would eventually become the Pennsylvania Colony.  Penn, a Quaker, had experienced religious persecution in England and was desirous of founding a colony in the New World where there would be absolute freedom of worship.  His “Holy Experiment” included the building of a city this farsighted soul believed would one day form, as he put it, “…the seed of a nation.”
The City of Philadelphia was officially established by Penn with the Charter of 1701. Penn derived the name of the city from the Greek philos (“love” or “friendship”) and adelphos ('brother"). At this time the city’s inhabitants were mostly settlers from the British Isles, as well as some Germans, Finns, Dutch and slaves from Africa. True to Penn’s vision, many religious minorities settled the area. In addition to Quakers, Mennonites, Catholics, Pietists and even some Jews helped to build the early city. As it grew, Philadelphia began to emerge as an important regional commercial center, facilitating trade between the Caribbean and British colonies in the northeast. Continue reading

October 22, 2016

Most Precious Blood Church: An Appreciation

Collection of relics in the sacristy
By Giovanni di Napoli
Since the closing of St. Joseph’s Church (5 Monroe St.) and the moving of St. Rocco to Most Precious Blood Church (113 Baxter St.) in Little Italy, I’ve developed a pleasant rapport with parish staff and clergy, as well as an affinity to the storied church and it’s enviable collection of southern Italian religious art. Nineteen paintings by Avellinese artist Donatus Buongiorno (1865-1935), a replica bust of San Gennaro, a reclining statue of San Vincenzo Martire di Craco, and a phenomenal papier-mâché statue of San Rocco di Potenza (not to mention the one of a kind Neapolitan presepio) are among the many treasures on display.
Perhaps more impressive than the artwork, the church also possesses a number of first-class relics. In addition to a splinter of the True Cross they have bone fragments of San Gennaro, Sant’Antonio di Padova, San Francesco d’Assisi, San Vincenzo Martire and St. Jude Thaddeus. Safely tucked away in the sacristy, I was given access last Friday (while Dr. Andrea Bartoli and members of the Comunità di Sant'Egidio were setting up for their weekly evening prayer meeting) by Most Precious Blood Church Project Manager Bill Russo for a unique opportunity to venerate the relics.  
Relic of San Vincenzo Martire di Craco
Completely unexpected, I jumped at the chance to profess my faith and commune with the saints. Praying for my ancestors, I kissed (and wiped with my handkerchief) each reliquary. Not wanting to overstay my welcome, I finished up quickly, but not without taking a few quick photographs for posterity. It goes without saying I was completely awed by the whole experience. 
Personally, Most Precious Blood Church has been a godsend. Along with being the longtime home to the Feasts of San Gennaro, Sant’ Antonio di Padova, Blessed Angelo d’Acri, and Saints Cosma and Damiano, it has recently taken in the Feasts of San Rocco and San Vincenzo Martire. When others were unwilling, or unable, it gave a home to the beautiful statue of the Madonna delle Grazie, patroness of Santa Caterina Villarmosa, Sicily and the icon of the Madonna di Ripalta, patroness of Cerignola, Apulia. 

Thanks to its late hours, the church has also given my confratelli and I a place to come together after work to pray, meditate and light votive candles. What's more, it let me fulfill my vow and sponsor a Traditional Latin Mass in honor of San Michele Arcangelo.
I pray others in our community recognize and appreciate the importance of this church and support its many efforts to promote our faith and culture. On top of the regularly scheduled events, plans to celebrate Saints Simon and Jude, Santa Lucia, San Francesco di Paola, San Calogero, Santa Cecilia, and others, are in the works, so there will be no shortage of opportunities to do so.
(L) Relic of the True Cross. (R) Relic of San Francesco d'Assisi
(L) Relic of Sant'Antonio di Padova. (R) Relic of San Gennaro
Also see:
Celebrating the Feast of Santa Teresa d’Ávila and the 99th Anniversary of Fátima
Celebrating the Feast of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina
Celebrating the Feasts of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary and the Madonna di Ripalta in NYC

October 21, 2016

The Black Cats NYC EP/CD Release Party

Photo by New York Scugnizzo
“Come Along for the Ride”

AHPresents: Gone! The Black Cats NYC EP/CD Release Party!

Friday, October 28th @ 7PM–3AM

Sidewalk NYC
94 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009

Everyone at AHPresents LOVES The Black Cats NYC (i Gatti Neri NYC) and couldn't be more excited to hear their brand spanking new CD, produced by the one and only Alan Rand. Come on out and help celebrate this huge milestone for our great friends with rock all night long.

7pm - Marloween Takez Manhattan & The Brooklyn Horns
8pm - Alan Merrill Trio
9pm - The Lord Calverts
10pm - The BLACK CATS NYC CD Release!!!!
11pm - Red Gretchen
Midnight - King Bee & the Stingers

As always, admission is free and all ages are welcome (bring your mama!) We pass the tip jar for bands, so PLEASE be generous. And DEFINITELY wear your dancing shoes. You won't regret it.


Caravaggio's Heirs - Baroque in Naples / First Comprehensive Exhibition of Masterpieces of Neapolitan Baroque Painting


From 14 October 2016 to 12 February 2017 the Museum Wiesbaden will present the exhibition Caravaggio's Heirs - Baroque in Naples, the first comprehensive exhibition of masterpieces of Neapolitan Baroque painting to be put together in Germany by a German museum. Starting point of the exhibition are the works by Luca Giordano and Francesco Solimena in the collection of the Museum Wiesbaden.

The arrival of Michelangelo Merisi, known as Caravaggio (1571-1610), in Naples in the autumn of 1606 marks the real beginning of the Baroque era in the city. Within a short period of time, Caravaggio became a much-admired model for generations of Neapolitan artists. His novel use of chiaroscuro and his provocative naturalism provided the impetus for the formation of a local school of European standing. Among his followers were a number of excellent artists such as Giovanni Battista Caracciolo, Artemisia Gentileschi and the Valencian Jusepe de Ribera who, together with a new generation of Naples-trained painters like Salvator Rosa, Mattia Preti, Luca Giordano and Francesco Solimena, developed Neapolitan Baroque painting and successfully sold astonishing numbers of outstanding works into collections all over Europe.

The works of this Golden Age of Italian painting testify to the splendour, sophistication and culture of the vibrant Mediterranean city at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. That Neapolitan artists were not blind to the everyday reality of their city is demonstrated by more than a hundred monumental paintings whose dynamic energy and striking realism also bears witness to the experience of poverty, brutality and decay.

Presenting more than 200 works by some 50 artists from as many lenders in eleven countries, the exhibition traces the development of Neapolitan Baroque painting. Prominent lenders are the Louvre in Paris, the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna and historic private collections such as the Graf Harrach'sche Familiensammlung at Rohrau Palace in Austria. Of particular note is the fruitful cooperation between the Museum Wiesbaden and the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples, which is generously supporting the exhibition with the loan of 18 exceptional works from its permanent collection.

The exhibition is held under the joint patronage of the Hessian Prime Minister, Volker Bouffier, and the Embassy of the Italian Republic in Berlin.

The exhibition is supported by the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain and the Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne.

The exhibition Caravaggio's Heirs - Baroque in Naples is accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue published in cooperation with the Art History Department at the Institute for Art History and Musicology of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and supported by the Ernst von Siemens Foundation.

Evelyn Bergner
Tel. +49(0)611-335-2189

SOURCE: Museum Wiesbaden

October 20, 2016

A Look at the 117th Annual Feast of Saint Gerard Marjella in Newark, New Jersey

Evviva San Gerardo! 
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Sunday, my friends and I joined thousands of other pilgrims at the 117th Annual Feast of San Gerardo Maiella at Saint Lucy's Church, the national shrine of Saint Gerard, in Newark, New Jersey. Still one of my all-time favorite feast, I offer my sincere and heartfelt thanks to the men and women of St. Lucy's Church for their hard work and giving us this wonderful opportunity to celebrate our faith and our culture. Viva San Gerardo!
After the National Anthem, a standard bearer heralds the arrival of the saint
San Gerardo emerges from St. Lucy's Church with much fanfare
It's always great to see our friends from the St. Joseph Society of Lodi, NJ
(Above & below) Unable to attend the Fiaccolata di San Rocco in Astoria, Queens the night before, I was delighted to see our dear friends from the Societá Gioventú Quagliettana. Buon Onomastico to our buddy Gerard!
(Above & below) devotees make generous offerings
(Above & below) large capes of money are wrapped around the Saint
Our pals Paul and Frankie at Buon Antipasto
While waiting for the procession to start, I enjoyed the live entertainment
and a delicious hot sausage and peppers sandwich
After a couple of hours of pinning money on to the statue, the procession left the parade grounds and slowly made its way through the neighborhood
Devotees lined the procession route with their offerings
Also see:
Newark, New Jersey's Feast of San Gerardo Maiella in Pictures
Pix from the 113th Annual Feast of Saint Gerard Maiella in Newark, New Jersey

October 19, 2016

Feast of San Pietro d'Alcántara

Photo by New York Scugnizzo
October 19th is the Feast Day San Pietro d'Alcántara (St. Peter of Alcántara), Mystic and Confessor. Patron saint of night watchmen, he is also invoked against virulent fevers. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a prayer to St. Peter of Alcántara. The accompanying photo of Saint Ann and a young Virgin Mary with Saint Lucia and Saint Peter of Alcántara by Pietro Bardellino (Napoli 1728-1820) was taken at the Museo Civico di Castel Nuovo in Naples. Evviva San Pietro!
Prayer to St. Peter of Alcántara
St. Peter of Alcántara, you were a tireless watchman of God. Your Vigils were the most difficult and remarkable of all the austerities which touched the heart of God himself. We put in your hands our petitions. St. Teresa of Avila attested that all she asked from God invoking your name, God did not refuse. Use your influence with God for our petitions in this novena (mention your request here). Help us face our daily sufferings and enable us to pray as you did through the nights. We promise on our part to take seriously our life of prayer and live simply, sharing what we have to the poor and the needy. We ask you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Solemn High Mass for the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude at Most Precious Blood Church in NYC


October 18, 2016

The Sicilian Tenors at MHS Performing Arts Center

For more information visit www.siciliantenors.com

Feast of San Luca Evangelista

Viva San Luca!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
October 18th is the Feast Day of San Luca Evangelista (St. Luke the Evangelist), patron saint of artists, physicians and surgeons. Venerated across southern Italy, he is also the principal protector of Praiano (SA), San Luca (RC), and Motta d’Affermo (ME), among others. In commemoration, I'm posting a prayer in honor of Saint Luke. The accompanying photo of San Luca was taken at the Basilica Santa Trofimena in Minori.

Prayer to St. Luke the Evangelist
Almighty God, you inspired Your servant St. Luke the Evangelist and Physician to set forth in the gospel the love and the healing power of your Son. In faithfully detailing the humanity of Jesus, he also showed the divinity of Jesus and His genuine compassion for all human beings. May St. Luke intercede for us that we may deepen our understanding of the gospel and grow in compassion of Jesus. May his intercession enable our new parish to follow Your way and plan for us. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Titan of the South: Luca fà-Presto

San Nicola in gloria by Luca Giordano
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
[The following article was originally posted on October 18, 2009. I've since added photos of San Nicola in gloria (Museo Civico) from my visit to NaplesSaint Sebastian Cured by Saint Irene from the Philadelphia Museum of ArtKing Tiridates Before Saint Gregory the Armenian from the Boston Museum of Art and The Flight into Egypt from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which I inadvertently left out the first time around. Also included, for illustrative purposes, is a reprint of a photo of Giordano's St. Benedict and the Miraculous Sacks of Grain from the Abbey of Montecassino, destroyed in 1944. For more on the lost works from the Abbey see, "Montecassino" by Robert Enggass, p. 41-55, A Taste For Angels, Yale University Art Gallery, 1987.]
Today I treated myself with a trip to New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The occasion was in celebration of one of my favorite Southern Italian artists, Luca Giordano. I thought I would pay homage to the Baroque master on his birthday by viewing some of his works in person. Continue reading

October 17, 2016

Photo of the Week: Single Standing Column at the Sanctuary of Venus in Pompeii

Single standing column at the Sanctuary of Venus in Pompeii
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

October 16, 2016

Celebrating the Feast of Santa Teresa d’Ávila and the 99th Anniversary of Fátima

Afterward, we joined Achille Pirro for a celebratory meal at Cha Cha’s In Bocca Al Lupo Cafe on Mulberry Street (Photo by New York Scugnizzo)
Saturday afternoon, I made my way to Most Precious Blood Church in NYC’s historic Little Italy to celebrate the Feast of Santa Teresa d’Ávila (Oct. 15th) and the 99th Anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fátima (Oct. 13th). Mass was celebrated by Father Atta, Parochial Vicar of the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
After Mass, devotees recited the Rosary outside the church on bustling Baxter Street as part of the 2016 Public Square Rosary Crusade. 
Special thanks to Achiile Pirro for organizing the Mass and the Rosary. It was an honor and a privilege to be a part this special day.

Feast of San Gerardo Maiella

Viva San Gerardo!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
October 16th is the Feast Day of Saint Gerard Maiella, patron of motherhood. To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting a prayer for expectant mothers.(*) The accompanying photo of the Saint was taken during the 2012 Feast of Saint Gerard at St Lucy's Church, National Shrine of Saint Gerard in Newark, New Jersey.
Prayer For Motherhood
O good St. Gerard, powerful intercessor before God and Wonderworker of our day, I call upon thee and seek thy aid. Thou who on earth didst always fulfill God's designs, help me to do the holy Will of God. Beseech the Master of Life, from Whom all paternity proceedeth, to render me fruitful in offspring that I may raise up children to God in this life and heirs to the Kingdom of His Glory in the world to come. Amen.
(*) Prayer For Motherhood was reprinted from The Feast of St Gerard Maiella, C.Ss.R.: A Century of Devotion at St. Lucy's, Newark, New Jersey by Reverend Thomas D. Nicastro, The History Press, 2012, p. 148
Also see:
• Newark, New Jersey's Feast of San Gerardo Maiella in Pictures
• Pix from the 113th Annual Feast of Saint Gerard Maiella in Newark, New Jersey

An Evening of Music, Voice, and Theater

Board Members of the Italian Heritage and Culture Committee of New York, Inc. Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the committee by inviting you to An Evening of Music, Voice, and Theater

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 @ 6:30 p.m.

The National Opera Center
330 7th Avenue, 8th Floor
New York

• Classical Guitar works of Mauro Giuliani performed by Thomas Millioto
• Two Short Plays with Mario Fratti
• Operatic Selections performed by John J. Cali School of Music, Montclair State
• Neapolitan Songs and Classical Mandolin works performed by John La Barbera (mandolin and guitar) and Antonio Guarna (voice)

Donation: $60

Cocktail reception with the artists to follow.

Make checks payable to: Italian Heritage & Culture Committee of NY, Inc. Mail to John Mustaro at 1156 62nd St., Brooklyn, NY 11219

Seating is limited. RSVP to John Mustaro 646-302-5399


October 15, 2016

Remembering a Hero

Salvo D'Acquisto
By Lucian
Salvo D'Acquisto was born in Naples on October 15th, 1920. In 1939, during the Fascist epoch, he voluntarily enlisted in the Carabinieri, which was at the time the first corps of the Italian army in addition to military/federal police (Gendarmerie).
A year later, shortly before the start of the Second World War, he was dispatched to Libya with the 608th Police Section. During his tour he was wounded but remained with his division until contracting malaria. In 1942 he returned to Italy, was sent to officer school and graduated as a vice brigadier (deputy sergeant).
After this Salvo was assigned to Torrimpietra, near Rome. In September of 1943, shortly after the remnants of the Italian government officially rescinded their alliance with the Axis, a German SS division was stationed near a derelict military installation in an area under the jurisdiction of Salvo’s outpost. This occurred during a very difficult time in Italy, their government was effectively useless and the country was under the direct control of either the German or Allied invaders. On September 22 two of these German soldiers were caught in an explosion while inspecting boxes of abandoned munitions. One was wounded and the other killed. Continued reading

October 13, 2016

The Anniversary of the Death of Gioacchino Murat

Gioacchino Murat, Palazzo Reale, Napoli
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
Today we remember the 201st Anniversary of the death of Joachim Murat (Gioacchino in Italian), Marshal of France and King of Naples.
One of Napoleon’s most celebrated cavalry commanders, Joachim Murat repeatedly distinguished himself on the field of battle. Marrying the Emperor’s sister Caroline in 1800, he was promoted to Marshal in 1804 and rewarded with the Kingdom of Naples on August 1, 1808.
Murat ruled under the title Joachim Napoleon for nearly seven years, introducing the Napoleonic Code and other reforms. While he tried to rule his new Kingdom independently, Napoleon was adamant that Naples would remain a French satellite. 
As Napoleon’s Empire began to crumble, Murat renounced his brother-in-law and began negotiations with Austria. However, with Napoleon’s return to power in 1815 (and the fact that many of the Allies at the Congress of Vienna wanted to restore the deposed Bourbons of Sicily back to Naples) Murat sided with the Emperor again. Continue reading

Pianofest with Maestro Gioacchino Longobardi

Sunday October 16, 2016 @ 7:00 pm

Music at Emmanuel Presents Pianofest with Maestro Longobardi performing unpublished works of Neapolitan masters transcribed from original manuscripts.

Emmanuel Baptist Church
275 State Street
Albany NY 12210

Admission Free/Donations Appreciated

Our mailing address is:
Neapolitan Music Society
37 Hendrick Avenue
Albany, New York 12204


October 12, 2016

Southern Italian Halloween Costume Ideas

Thomas made a fearsome Michele Pezza,
the Neapolitan folk hero better known as "Fra Diavolo" (Brother Devil) 
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Halloween is once again upon us and, in accordance with its tradition, children (and adults) must decide what costumes to wear for the festivities. Since we all have our favorite characters from Southern Italian history or folklore, we thought it would be fun and interesting to consider some of them for this year's costumes.

'O Munaciello, The Little Monk
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
• Munaciello  "The Little Monk" — This mischievous pint-sized Neapolitan spirit is blamed for almost everything that goes wrong, except when he wears his red cap, then he is associated with good deeds. He is small, pale and wears a monk's robes. It is best to stay on his good side.

• Bella 'Mbriana —  The most famous and beloved ghost of Naples, this princess' distraught spirit wanders the city. She has become a household guardian, and her name is invoked for protection and good fortune. The bella ‘Mbriana only appears for an instant, as a reflection in a window or through a curtain swaying in a breeze. She is associated with the gecko, a small lizard found all over Southern Italy.

Santa Rosalia
Photo courtesy of Thomas Rowe
• Patron Saints — Choose a favorite Saint or the patron from your ancestral hometown. Not only will they make great Halloween and All Saints' Day costumes, it’s also a fun way to teach the kids about their faith and heritage. Special thanks to Thomas Rowe for sharing his wonderful photo of ElenaMarie, who made an adorable Santa Rosalia.

La Janara, The Witch
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
• Janare (Witches) — There is no shortage of janare in southern Italy's myths and folklore. Also called magare or streghe, the most famous come from Benevento, known today as the "city of witches." Stories abound of witches singing and dancing with faeries in the moonlight around the sacred walnut tree near the Ponte Leproso, an old Roman bridge spanning the Sabato River. Cut down in the 7th century, legend says the tree was regrown and the rituals continue to this day. Others claim a branch from the old tree was transplanted to Stretto di Barba in Avellino and grown anew. Not to be outdone, Furore and Isernia (among others) have their own colorful tales of witches and witchcraft (stregaheria), including the little "crone” pictured here, based on the wicked hags from Castelvuovo del Volturno in Molise.

Il Cervo, The Red Deer Man
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
• Il Cervo (The Red Deer Man) — In the town of Castelnuovo del Volturno (Molise), they celebrate the last Sunday of carnival with a tradition of obvious pre-Christian origins. It’s called the rito del cervo, or Red Deer Man ritual. Dressed in furs, antlers and face paint, the Deer Man and Deer Woman perform an elaborate ritual which includes witches (Janare), a fairy wizard from the mountains (il Martino) and the Hunters (il Cacciatore). Any of the characters would make a fine Halloween costume.

• Paolo di Avitabile ("Abu Tabela")  A Neapolitan Soldier turned mercenary lord who ruled various foreign lands with an iron fist. He is still spoken of in those places, and his name has become legendary. To some Abu Tabela was a proud figure of authority and stability, to others he was like the Bogey man. Either way, he was not someone to be trifled with.

October 11, 2016

Neapolitan Multiplatinum Recording Artist Patrizio Buanne Honored in New York City

Cav. Charles Sant'Elia presents Patrizio with Certificate of Appreciation
On the eve of his 10th Anniversary tour of the US, International singer-songwriter sensation Patrizio Buanne was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation by the Comitati Due Sicilie USA for his dedication and continued promotion of the culture and history of the regions of the Two Sicilies to a global audience.
Patrizio returns the favor 
with an autographed copy 
of his new album 
"Viva La Dolce Vita"
Remaining dates to see the Neapolitan crooner perform his greatest hits and music from his new album “Viva La Dolce Vita” include City Winery in Chicago on Oct. 13th, Byham Theater in Pittsburgh on Oct. 15th, World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on Oct. 20th, Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield on Oct. 21st, the Highline Ballroom in New York City on Oct. 22nd, and NJPAC Victoria Theater in New Jersey on Oct. 28th.

For tickets and info visit patriziobuanne.com

Find Patrizio on Facebook or listen to him on YouTube: www.youtube.com/mondobuanne  

Also see:
Patrizio Buanne 2016 USA Tour
Patrizio Buanne Announces US Tour Dates

Announcing the 2016 Feast of San Trifone, Los Angeles, California


October 10, 2016

Photo of the Week: Cappella Beata Vergine del Rosario nel Duomo di Ravello

The Chapel of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary in the Cathedral of Ravello
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

October 9, 2016

The Search for our Ancestry (XXIX)

How Can DNA Results Help Our Search?
By Angelo Coniglio 
There are several DNA testing firms that cater to the general public. Most of them actively promote their services, and can be found on the internet. The ‘Big Four’, with the main thrusts of their services, are: 23andMe (medical, genealogical, and personal ancestry); Family Tree DNA (genealogical, personal ancestry); AncestryDNA (genealogical, personal ancestry); and Genographic by National Geographic (population genetics research, personal ancestry). The first three charge about $100 for a basic test, while 23andMe and National Geographic charge about $200 for a more comprehensive test. For a detailed comparison, see http://bit.ly/DNATestVendorsCompared
The premise behind all of these tests is that humans, like all living things, have a ‘genome’ – a set of biological ‘plans’ that determine the details of our existence: hair color; eye color; body shape; susceptibility to asthma, or cancer, or color blindness; ability to procreate, etc., etc.; the very things that make us individuals. These traits, however, have been passed down from our ancestors, via the ‘coding’ described by substances called Deoxyribo-Nucleic Acids – DNA. We receive some of it from one parent, some from the other. Since our parents had parents, they, too received some from each parent, meaning that part of our DNA is from our grandparents - and from our great-grandparents and our great-great-grandparents, back to the first humans.
Our DNA is contained mostly in our genes, in chromosomes, of which we have 23 ‘pairs’.  Most of it  is of a type called ‘autosomal’, contained in 22 of the 23 chromosome pairs. The 23rd pair is the one that determines our gender.  In males, the pair comprises one X and one Y chromosome, and in females it has two X chromosomes. The DNA in the Y chromosome (paternal, or Y DNA) is passed only from male to male. Another key form of DNA is mitochondrial DNA (maternal, or mtDNA), which is passed from a woman to both male and female offspring, but isn’t further passed on by male children. These characteristics mean that paternal and maternal DNA can be compared to known DNA characteristics of various ethnic and geographic groups that existed in the distant past.
I have previously said that one of the genealogical reasons for DNA testing includes the desire to know one’s broad ethnic or national origins.  Many people are intrigued by such questions. Do they have Black, or Jewish, or Native American ancestry, etc.? While the test vendors use DNA analyses to indicate a subject’s ‘ancestry composition’ I believe many researchers put undue weight on such descriptions.
For example, my 23andMe ‘ancestry composition’ shows 87.7% European, with 75.1% Southern European and 59.9% Italian. It found less than one-tenth of one percent of my ancestry is Irish or British. Not surprising, since I have previously found by traditional ‘paper genealogy’ that most of my ancestors back to the sixth generation, in the mid 1700’s, were from one of only two towns in central Sicily. It shows 5.1% being Middle Eastern or African: intriguing, but no more surprising. The ‘small print’ says that these estimates are for one’s ancestry approximately ‘500 years ago, before ocean-crossing ships and airplanes came on the scene.’
Results from other venues claim to define one’s ancestry as far back as 5,000 to 50,000 years, but I feel that such ‘ancestry’ simply refers to stages or regions that the familial forebears passed through during the long history of mankind. I happen to believe that all mankind descended from the first humans in Africa, so if the DNA studies were all completely accurate and extended far enough back in time, everyone’s ‘ancestral composition’ would be the same – 100% African. 
In the future, I’ll discuss what DNA testing can do to answer the questions I’m most interested in; those surrounding ‘personal ancestry’.
Coniglio is the author of the book The Lady of the Wheel, inspired by his Sicilian research. Order the paperback or the Kindle version at http://bit.ly/SicilianStory
Coniglio’s web page at http://bit.ly/AFCGen has helpful hints on genealogic research. If you have genealogy questions, or would like him to lecture to your club or group, e-mail him at genealogytips@aol.com