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Alessandra Belloni : percussion
Alessandra Belloni

Tarantata - Dance of the Ancient Spider

The mystical-erotic trance rituals of southern Italy...haunting prayers to the Black Madonna and the Goddess of the Mediterranean...the breathtaking love songs of its storied islands - from the dawn of Italy's magical-spiritual song tradition comes Alessandra Belloni's new release, TARANTATA: Dance of the Ancient Spider. With her soaring mezzo-soprano and mesmerizing tambourine rhythms, Alessandra casts a spellbinding web of sensuality spun from the tarantella-the ecstatic rites used to cure young women of a mysterious affliction known as "the bite of the ancient spider."

Alessandra Belloni - Singer, Percussionist, Dancer, Actress, Director of Italian theatre Group I GIULLARI DI PIAZZA, Artist in Residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.

A REMO Signature Series Artist with her line of Italian tambourines.

A REMO ARTIST, Alessandra is the first to introduce her line of Italian signature series tambourines especially designed with the internationally renowned REMO INC, leader in the industry of percussion. She is also the Artistic Director/Founder/Lead Performer of "I Giullari di Piazza", Italian Music, Theatre and Dance, Artists in Residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, in New York City.

Often called a "MEDITERRANEAN VOLCANO" Alessandra Belloni is a singer, tambourine virtuoso, dancer and actress, she was born in Italy, and is committed to preserving the strong and rich traditions of her culture. The only woman in the U.S. and in Italy who specializes in Southern Italian percussion combined with ritual dances and singing, that she learned from the old people in the field research, and also with the legendary Italian percussionist Alfio Antico. She has spent more than twenty years participating every Summer in the authentic drumming Festivals in remote areas of Southern Italy, held in honor of the Black Madonna and as rituals of purification.

She has also created a special collaboration with master drummer Glen Velez, with whom she has performed and recorded her last CDs. Under invitation of Nana Vasconcellos and Gilberto Gil, she was featured in PERC PAN '98, in Bahia, Brazil, one of the best Percussion Festivals with artists from all over the world. She was nominated among the three best drummers of World Percussion by DRUM MAGAZINE, along with Baba Olatunji, Mickey Hart, with Arthur Hull winner of first prize. She recently had feature stories in Modern Drummer, Rhythm & Drum Magazine, and wrote articles for Percussive Notes Magazine. In the last years she has created a new World Music Sound, cross-cultural operas and percussion ensembles.

With her one woman show "Rhythm is the Cure" she tours across the US and Internationally, performing and teaching workshops in places like WOMAD (Seattle), RHYTHM STICKS, Royal Festival Hall (London), Teatro Castro Alves (Salvador,Bahia) PASIC (Dallas, Los Angeles, Nashville) Drumming at the Pyramids (Egypt), Julliard (New York), Oberlin (Ohio), PERKUSIA (Warsaw), Berkeley World Percussion Festival (Boston) Monterey World Music Festival, Conservatory of Milan ( Italy), Italian PAS & I SUONI DAL MONDO (Trento, Italy) Royal Marine School School of Music (England), UHURU- Weltmusikladen , VALS, (Switzerland), Theatre of SESC Ipiranga (Brazil) with Siba from Mestre Ambrosio, Cultural Center in Tel Aviv together with master percussionist Zohar Fresco. Recently she has been featured on TV with Worldbeat (CNN)

Alessandra Belloni has studied acting at H.B. Studios, Voice with Prof. Michael Warren, Mime and Commedia dell'Arte with Dario Fo (1997 Literature Nobel Prize) at New York University. She has worked in theatre and film both in New York: "Next Stop the Greenwich Village" by Paul Mazursky and in Italy with Anna Magnani : "La Lupa", and Federico Fellini "Casanova".

She founded "I Giullari di Piazza" with classical guitarist/Composer John La Barbera in 1979, and was Artist in Residence at New York University for 10 years. Lately she has created cross-cultural productions dedicated to Mother Earth, featuring the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, African and Latin American Artists and is featured on the PBS documentary : "LA FESTA" with "The Voyage of the Black Madonna". She also won the Award as the Italian American Woman of the Year 1996, for her achievements in music and theatre, and the Community Arts Project Award from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. In the Fall 1997 she was awarded a special grant from the Carnahan Jackson Humanities Fund for a residency with the women studies at SUNY Fredonia.

Ms. Belloni teaches special healing workshops combining percussion and dance at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, and in Ialy and Brazil together with healing specialist Dr. Jose Bittar. As guest artist she cllaborates with the Cleveland Ballet Dancing Wheels Company, expanding her work in the origins of tarantella as music & dance therapy. At the Cathedral of St. John the Divine she holds regular classes on Italian tambourines and ritual dances.

She is the Company's director, writer, and lead performer of the Folk Operas:
"The Dance of the Ancient Spider"
premiered at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center
"Stabat Mater: Donna de Paradiso"
(Cathedral of St. John the Divine)
"The Voyage of the Black Madonna"
(Cathedral of St. John the Divine)
"1492-1992: Earth, Sun and Moon"
commissioned by Lincoln Center out of Doors Festival 1992
"La Cantata dei Pastori"
(Caramoor , St. John the Divine, Smithsonian and others)
"La Lupa"
(St. Mark’s Church, YALE, and others)
"The Adventures of Don Giovanni & his Servant Pulcinella"
(Carnegie Hall)

Ms. Belloni teaches children's workshops on Commedia dell'Arte, Italian folk songs and dances, at Caramoor Center for Music and Arts, Katonah (New York)., At the Cathedral of St. John the Divine she holds regular classes on Italian tambourines and ritual dances. She also started a special rhythm and dance program at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, and collaborated as guest artist with the Cleveland Ballet Dancing Wheels Company, expanding her work in the origins of tarantella as music & dance therapy.

New release SPRING 2000:
Ellipsis Arts 2000
Lyrichord 1995
Rounder Compilation 1997
Ellipsis Arts 1993
Shanachie 1989
Shanachie 1985

Alice Tully Hall & New York City Ballet, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Carnegie Recital Hall (New York) & Carnegie Hall in Pittsburgh, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Caramoor Center for Music and Arts, Madison Square Garden Felt Forum, Symphony Space, Metropolitan Museum,The Cloisters, St. Mark's Church, Theatre of the United Nations (NY), World Music festival in Hawaii (Leehman Arts Center) Teatro Castro Alves, Bahia, Brazil - Teatro SESC Ipiranga in San Paolo, Cultural Center in Tel Aviv, Israel, Cleveland Palace Theatre & Cleveland Museum of Art with Dancing Wheels Monterey World Music festival, World Festival of Sacred Music (Los Angeles) Epcot Center (Walt Disney World), Universal Studios and UCLA in Los Angeles, YALE University, Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., Kennedy Center (Washington DC) Field Museum Park in Chicago.

JULLIARD CONSERVATORY, ROYAL MARINE School of Music (England), UHURU-WELTMUSIKLADEN (Switzerland) UNESP University of San Paolo, BATUCADAS 1000, San Paulo, Baltimore Rhythm Fest 1999, Minnesota Day of Percussion, PERC PAN '98 BAHIA, BERKELEY World Percussion Festival '98, Conservatory of Milan & Trento, Manny's DRUM MANIA (with Terry Bozzio & Horacio Hernandez), University of North Texas, Sam Heuston University, Drummer's Collective, California Institute for The Arts, L.A. Music Academy, PASIC '96 & 97 - Anaheim, California & Nashville Convention Center - Mc Gill University - Montreal, Canada - Cornell University, Syracuse University, Virginia Day of Percussion, Penn State, KOSA Workshop, Johnson State College VT, Akron University, SUNY at Fredonia, Buffalo University.

Italian American Woman of the Year
Achievement in Italian Folk Music
The Carnahan Jackson Humanities Fund
Women Studies
The Community Arts Project Award
Lincoln Center
The New York State Council on the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts
The Department of Cultural Affairs
The Harriman Foundation
The Martin Gruss Foundation
special award from the City of Los Angeles
Mayor Tom Bradley
The Sons of Italy.
“LA FESTA” New Jersey Channel, PBS WNET, National Endowment for the Arts
"TARANTELLA” and “CHILDREN OF FATE” (Winner of Sun Dance Film Festival), PBS in Vermont.
"The Godfather Part II", Francis Coppola
"Casanova", Federico Fellini
"Next Stop the Greenwich Village" Paul Mazursky
"The Moon in the Gutter", Jean Jack Benait

PBS WNET CITYARTS, ABC Special “REVIEWS", New York, Good Day New York, Bob Wallace Show (Chicago), RAI Italian National Network, (New York and Italy), Brazilian TV & MTV, THE MAURIZIO COSTANZO SHOW, Channel 5 Italy, CUNY Television

Italian, English, Spanish, French, Southern Italian Dialects, Portugues & Latin.

What the reviewers say:

"Alessandra Belloni...TARANTATA Dance of the Ancient Spider - (Sounds true) is a revelation ... The Music is utterly fascinating in addition to its revelatory presentation of Italian roots music, it is timely as well, given the current surge of interest in the healing powers of music"
Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times

"Invocations and work songs, exorcisms and lullabies shared the program of RHTHM IS THE CURE in the Chapel of the cathedral of St. John the Divine.... driven by tambourine patterns so fast that the drummers hands became blurs. Ms. Belloni sang in an exultant voice. The songs blazed with an age-old momentum."
Jon Pareles, New York Times

"Armed with a detailed knowledge of Italian tradition, a mastery of percussive techniques, and her customary tambourine, Alessandra Belloni summons powerful healing forces... she is a Mediterranean Volcano; she can erupt artistically and emotionally at any moment with a passion that spills to a powerful effect..."
Iris Brooks, "Rhythm Music" & "Percussion Source"

"With an earthy presence like Anna Magnani and a passionate voice all of her own, Alessandra Belloni has revived a Renaissance art form for 90’s audience. ....Alessandra Belloni - Earth Mother, muse, Artistic Director, and self styled Black Madonna, 'the dark side of the Moon' dominates the stage, as usual."
Anamona Hartacolis, "New York Newsday"

"Alessandra Belloni’s singing is enthusiastic, emotional, and exudes confidence and pride"
Al Reiss, "Dirty Linen"

"Alessandra Belloni’s rich voice is absolutely intoxicating... I dream of running away with the Gypsies.."
NAPRA Review

"Non-stop theatrical and musical energy ... Belloni plays an unusually vivacious Mary .... riotously entertaining, curiously haunting and even profound"
Alex Ross, "The New York Times"

"Conceived by Alessandra Belloni and adapted from a Medieval poem by Jacopone da Todi “STABAT MATER: DONNA DE PARADISO” was something truly different ...a lavish Passion... slickly produced and smoothly executed"
James Ostreich, "The New York Times"

"Belloni is such a sexy and sure performer that her character remains the most sympathetic on stage” “Belloni not only wrote and directed but sings and dances as the Virgin Mary, giving birth and slaying a dragon without dropping her castanets"
Robert Massa, "The Village Voice"