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Percussive Celebration At The Cathedral of St. John The Divine to Bring Healing and Harmony to the New Year



A world premiere performance featuring Italian tambourine virtuoso Alessandra Belloni and Brazilian master percussionist Mauro Refosco

Outfitted with an extensive compliment of exotic percussion instruments, South Italian tambourine virtuoso Alessandra Belloni and Brazilian percussionist Mauro Refosco, a veteran of David Byrne's band, embark on a new cross-cultural collaboration celebrating and exploring the rhythmic similarities between two enticing and mysterious cultures. With music ancient and new, Belloni and Refosco create a bridge between Italy and Brazil, weaving Spanish/Portuguese and Arabic/African aural textures into a vibrant musical tapestry.

In this groundbreaking world premiere performance, these accomplished percussionists meld Southern Italian & Brazilian ritual drumming, chants and trance dance, putting a new spin to original and traditional arrangements from the artists' respective countries. The program includes electrifying performances of the tarantella, a purifying Italian healing dance used as an antidote to the mythical bite of the tarantula; processional chants and ritual drumming in honor of the Black Madonna; and love laments, lullabies and women's work chants from the dawn of Southern Italy. The show also features Refosco's innovative takes on Brazilian chants and rhythms, including samba, bahiao, forro, Cavallo Marinho and Capoeira.

Through powerful rhythms and haunting melodies, the Rhythm Is the Cure concert portrays the cycles of life, nature and woman using the symbolism of the Madonna/Mother Earth Goddess (birth/sex/death/rebirth) found in Southern Italian culture. Sensuality, eroticism, loneliness and fear of disease and death are expressed through these ancient prayers set to music, invoking the spirit world through trance and self-hypnosis.

In many cultures, ritual drumming and dance have the power to induce an altered state in the afflicted, opening the mind, soul and body to healing energy. Belloni and Refosco wish to usher in a harmonious New York New Year by reviving these ancestral voices, lending them modern-day context with contemporary musical elements and a variety of world rhythms. Alessandra Belloni, percussionist, singer, dancer and director of the Italian group I Giullari Di Piazza, first performed in Brazil in 1998 at the invitation of Nana Vasconcelos. That transforming experience moved Ms. Belloni to explore the many similarities between south Italian and northeast Brazilian music, resulting in several subsequent journeys to Brazil. She has since collaborated with musicians from Recife, Sao Paulo, Maranhao and Rio. Her dream to work with a true New York-based Brazilian percussionist was recently realized when she met Mauro Refosco. One fiery jam session later and their collaboration had firmly taken root.

Mauro Refosco, also of Italian descent, has a unique sensitivity to South Italian rhythms and revitalizes them with a variety of fresh colors and sounds coaxed from a number of instruments, particularly the pandeiro (Brazilian tambourine) and the haunting berimbau. Since completing his master's degree at the Manhattan School of Music in 1994, he has been a regular in David Byrne's band and worked as player and composer with Paul Winter and Philip Glass.

December 29th 8:00pm
St James Chapel at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine,
1047 Amsterdam Avenue & 112 Street
Tickets $20 & $15
Box office: (212) 662 2133 or Cityticks at (212) 581 1212

Funded by the Garibaldi Meucci Museum, Order of the Sons of Italy in America (Staten Island) and the NY State Council on the Arts.

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