Akragas

Historical-Cultural-Musical References

The group has precise references to folkloristic activities of some eminent personalities of Agrigento that occupy themselves with Folklore in various ways.

First of all Professor Enzo Lauretta, writer and essayist, president of the National Center of Pirandellian Studies, tourism expert, who founded the International Festival of Folklore, a preeminent aspect of the "Sagra del Mandorlo in Fiore" ("Festival of the Almond in Bloom") and who has initiated rigorous activities in the Folkloristic sector.

Friend and associate of Professor Lauretta, is Professor Ugo Re Capriata, a passionate lover of popular traditions who died during a Folkloristic exhibition while playing popular music with this beloved bamboo flute. His is the "Contradanza" which almost all the Folkloristic groups of Agrigento perform.

His wife, Ina Re Capriata, who continued the activities of her husband. She diligently cared for a collection of Folkloristic articles; hers are the words, among others, of the "Canto dei Mietitori" ("Song of the Harvesters").

Other personalities in music and in song, include Maestro Pasquale Gallo, expert bamboo flute player. He is also known for his expertise in popular chants, he is a singer and entertainer in the field of popular music, graced with great ability and kindness, beloved by members of folk groups who he directed in exhibitions of typical and popular Sicilian choruses and songs. Composer of such musical pieces as "Canto dei Mietitori" and "Picciotti Giurgintani" among others are performed by the group.

Toto Campione, with the stage name of Gian Campione, a folk singer/songwriter, writer of an endless array of songs such as "Jetta la riti," "A Cammaratisa," "Lu Tisoru di Raffadali," etc. Simple and humane, he was admired for his beautiful voice, rich with inflexion and nuances with reference to both traditional and modern songs, rich with rustic, sea-faring, and sentimental feelings. For his exceptional talents he was given the title of "Ambassador of Sicilian Song in the World," wherever he went he brought with him the ways of Sicily and of Agrigento.

The maestro Franco Li Causi, the most important musical figure of post-war Agrigento, he is famous for his song "Vitti 'na crozza" which was the soundtrack to an important film; his is also the final "Tarantella" ("Mandorlo Fiorito") ("Bloomed Almond Tree") which the group performs in every show.

Pippo Agozzino, choreographer, discovered by Professor Lauretta and sent to Hungary in order to study choreographic technologies in the early '60's. Graced with striking imagination he created numerous dances which have roots to popular Sicilian dances and which form the basis of the dances for all folk-groups in Agrigento and beyond. Almost all the dances that the group faithfully performs in their shows are his, the ones which are most the evident are "Tarantella" ("music by Maestro Li Causi), "Sicilian Polka," "U Chiovu," "Mazurca Siciliana," "Festa in Campagna" (also known as "Veni Cą, Bedda" of Maestro Buzzurro).

Giovanni Moscato, folk singer/songwriter, discographer, theatrical manager, still carries on artistic pursuits.

Pino Cirami, painter and sculptor, but also a "Tammurinaro" (drummer). His is the sculpture entitled "Tempo d'Oro" which is given every year as a prize to the winning group at the International Folk Festival of Agrigento.