Book: Global Tarantella

Global Tarantella: Reinventing Southern Italian Folk Music and Dances
Incoronata Inserra, Virginia Commonwealth University

Book: Global Tarantella

In Global Tarantella (University of Illinois Press, 2017) Incoronata Inserra ventures into the history, global circulation, and recontextualization of tarantella, a genre of Southern Italian folk music and dance. Examining tarantella’s changing image and role among Italians and Italian Americans, Inserra illuminates how factors like tourism, translation, and world music venues have shifted the ethics of place embedded in the tarantella cultural tradition. Once rooted in a world of rural Catholicism, tarantella now thrives in urban, secular, migrant, and ethnic settings. Inserra reveals how the genre’s changing dynamics contribute to reimagining Southern Italian identity and shows how its global growth promotes a reassessment of gender relations in the Italian South, helping create space for Italian and Italian American women to reclaim gendered aspects of the genre.

Calandra Italian American Institute
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St. Joseph Altar Celebration in Des Moines, IA

— Patricia Civitate, Italian-American Cultural Center of Iowa and Director of Il Trattenimento Italiano Folk Dance Troupe

This year marked the 21st anniversary of the St. Joseph Altar Celebration sponsored by the Italian-American Cultural Center of Iowa. This event was successful because of the many hours that numerous volunteers spent making sure that this would be a truly traditional and spiritual undertaking. Sincere thanks to all those who made it happen.

Central St. Joseph Altar

Kathy Foggia and Mary Romanelli began early in February setting up the hall with the backdrop curtains and the three-tiered steps that formed the altar. They covered the steps with linens, attached the table skirts, and then proceeded to add the decorative breads, altar identification cards, and other symbols of faith. John Heldreth and Joseph Boehm donated additional fruits and vegetables and completed the decoration of the altars. Continue reading “St. Joseph Altar Celebration in Des Moines, IA”


From Leslie Gigliotti in New Orleans

IFAFA President Leslie Gigliotti returned home from New Orleans today, but she shared these pictures from an altar that she viewed over the weekend. From Leslie:

Local St Joseph’s Day altar in New Orleans

Saint Joseph’s day isn’t until Monday, but a hotel here put their altar up earlier this week. Churches, supermarkets, parochial schools, private homes all have viewings. The paper here puts out a listing.

Alligator made of bread and a crayfish too! And traditional wheat design that they showed us in our vestedde class that some of you may have made in the workshop at last fall’s IFAFA Conference in Rockford, IL. Continue reading “From Leslie Gigliotti in New Orleans”


St. Joseph’s Feast Day in New Orleans

(originally published by Nicole Jankowsky in “The Salt” from NPR <https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/03/18/519987433/move-over-st-patrick-st-josephs-feast-is-when-italians-parade>)

[Photo courtesy of The Italian American St. Joseph Society]
The St. Patrick’s parade is over and the Irish (and honorary Irish) have gone home to sleep off their annual bout of intemperance, but the multi-generational marchers of the Italian-American St. Joseph Society in New Orleans are only just dusting off their tuxedos and straightening their bow ties. Once the shamrocks and shenanigans have vanished from the narrow streets of the French Quarter, and the keg of green beer is empty, another parade — in honor of an entirely different saint — is beginning to gear up. Continue reading “St. Joseph’s Feast Day in New Orleans”