Category Archives: Entertainment

TV Pick for Ciao Stl Readers: Gomorrah Series Season 1 on Netflix and Amazon Prime

Gomorrah is the inside story of fierce Neapolitan crime organisation the Camorra, as seen through the eyes of Ciro (Marco D’Amore), the obedient and self-confident right-hand man of the clan’s godfather whose loyalty is tested to its limits.

 

 

 

 

 

1. Episode 1

Ciro is a promising young foot-soldier on the rise under Camorra clan leader Pietro Savastano. He is sent to deliver a clear message to a rival boss, but the ambush stirs up a bloody turf war. However, Savastano is satisfied he’s come out on top. Meanwhile, Genny, Pietro’s only son and heir, provokes the wrath of another local boss.

2. Episode 2

The authorities discover and seize a shipment of cocaine belonging to Pietro Savastano hidden in a larger shipment of canned goods. The boss is furious, he wants to find out which of his men tipped them off, but is preoccupied with settling the feud Genny has sparked.

3. Episode 3

Ciro is given an opportunity to climb the clan ladder. He meets with the financial advisor who launders money for the clan and brings along the immature Genny, but his actions only show he isn’t yet ready to lead.

4. Episode 4

A Nigerian crack-dealing gang attempt to leverage their trading terms with the clan. The situation is unsustainable and Lady Imma, the tough boss’s wife, thinks Pietro should be more concerned, but he has bigger fish to fry.

5. Episode 5

Franco Musi, the Savastano’s financial advisor, invests money in a business venture without telling Pietro, thinking the boss would never find out. He must, however, answer to the cunning Imma.

6. Episode 6

Imma sends Ciro on a dangerous mission and decides it is finally time to give Genny a lesson in what it takes to become a clan leader. Imma assures him that he will soon start earning respect like that of his father.

7. Episode 7

Imma gathers the colonels of the family, and explains the new strategy to keep firmly in control of the entire drug market, despite pressures and mistrust from those within the operation.

8. Episode 8

A hardened Genny seizes a political opportunity to enable the clan to manage their business undisturbed. Now much surer of himself, the young Savastano continues restructuring the affairs of the family while Ciro, relegated once again to the role of foot soldier, looks on.

9. Episode 9

Genny has become a true leader, completely shedding the image of the impulsive, spoiled brat he once was. Meanwhile Ciro, increasingly frustrated and impatient, takes steps to regain his own power.

10. Episode 10

An old enemy is provoked into action and mistrust spreads once again. Genny must deal with the fallout and deal with the impending threat to the Savastano’s reign.

11. Episode 11

There’s an air of discontent within the Savastano organization, with the colonels resenting the new recruits Genny has brought in. Imma, fearing the Savastano family appears weakened by conflict, pleads with Genny, urging him to take control of the situation.

12. Episode 12

There is all-out war within the Savastano clan; stopping for neither the living nor the dead. Trust has all but gone and the Savastanos learn that, in Naples, blood is thicker than water.

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Negrita: The heart and soul of Italian alternative rock

March 2017 |  By: Tony Marotta

Tra le tante rock-band Italiene spiccano i Negrita, band originaria della Toscana che ha collezzionato negli anni successi dopo successi. La loro avventura, iniziata nel 1991, li ha portati in giro per l’Italia ed il mondo. Non ostante un cambio di formazione la band ha ancora tanto da dire. Con ben nove album pubblicati all’attivo i Negrita rappresentano una delle piu’ affermate rock-band Italiane.

Negrita is an original Italian alternative rock band that specializes in a high-energy style that over the years has featured elements of blues, grunge, reggae and Latin sounds and rhythms. Their story begins in the village of Capolona (Arezzo, Tuscany). In 1991, founding members Paolo Bruni, (lead vocals and guitar), Enrico Salvi (guitar), Cesare Petrecich (guitar), Franco Li Causi (bass) and Roberto Zamagni (drums) decided to circulate some demo tapes of their early compositions to various independent radio stations and producers throughout the underground musical circuit.

 

Their first efforts were unsuccessful until they met Fabrizio Barbacci, a young producer whose body of work includes the likes of noted Italian artists such as Ligabue, Gianna Nannini, Francesco Renga, Roy Paci and Piero Pelù. He was so impressed with their style that he immediately signed them to a recording contract with Black Out Studios, a label of the PolyGram division of Universal Music.

The final step was to change their name from Gli Inudibili to Negrita, which was derived from The Rolling Stones song, “Hey! Negrita.”

In August of 1993 they gathered at IRA Studios in Firenze and began writing the songs that would be a part of their debut recording, Negrita. The album yielded three singles: “Cambio,” “Rumore” and “Lontani dal mondo,” and achieved gold status. Their success and rave critical reviews allowed them to close out the year with a lengthy 140-club tour throughout Italy.

Upon their return from the road, Negrita entered the studio and recorded the follow-up mini-album, Paradisi per illusi (1995), which contained 6 songs including a lengthy 15-minute ghost track. The release achieved sales of over 60,000 units, again reaching gold status, and spawned two singles, “Oltre il confine” and “Io sono.”

The band conducted another exhaustive domestic tour, which included fewer dates, but this time in front of bigger crowds in larger venues.

Negrita began pre-production work in preparation for the release of their next album in February of 1997. Surprisingly, they chose to return to their hometown of Capolona and set up a studio in a farmhouse on the outskirts of town. The band then flew stateside to Kingsway Studios in New Orleans, LA to complete the recording of the songs with the final mastering of the album taking place at Village Studios in Los Angeles. The end result was the release of their third recording, XXX. This album was a commercial success as it achieved platinum status, selling over 100,000 units and yielding four hit singles: “In un mare di noia.” “Sex,” “Ho imparato di sognare” and “A modo mio.”

The DVD release of XXX immediately followed and captured the band’s entire American recording experience. The XXX Tour saw them opening up for legendary Italian rocker Ligabue as they performed in stadiums throughout Italy and Europe until the end of the year.

Having achieved incredible success in four short years, Negrita took a short break from the music scene and decided to construct their own recording studio facilities. Hollywood Garage was built in Arezzo and afforded the band the opportunity to complete the recording of the soundtrack to the film Cosi é la vita (1998), which starred popular Italian comedians Aldo, Giovanni e Giacomo. The single “Mama Maé” was taken from the movie soundtrack and was included in the band’s fourth release, Reset (1999). This album featured a more electronic feel and achieved an even greater success, reaching double platinum status.

Negrita released three more successful singles: “In ogni atomo,” “Fragile” and “Hollywood” and closed out the millennium by receiving a nomination at the 1999 MTV European Music Awards as “The Best Italian Group.”

After a pause of 18 months, Negrita returned to the studio refreshed and went back to a more hard-edged rock sound with the release of their fifth album, Radio Zombie. Although the album achieved only moderate sales, it was still certified gold and the three singles “Bambole,” “Non ci guarderemo indietro mai” and “Vertigine” received ample playtime over the airwaves.

The group chose to compile their best songs from the previous decade into a greatest hits package entitled Ehi! Negrita and included three new songs, “My way,” “Magnolia” and “Tonight,” the last of which they presented at the 2003 Sanremo Music Festival.

The grind of constant recording and touring took its toll on the group as original member and drummer Roberto Zamagni chose to leave the band in order to dedicate more time to his family. Despite the loss, Negrita persevered and released two more platinum-selling recordings L’uomo sogna di volare (2005), which features some songs that have a decidedly reggae-like feel, and Helldorado (2008), which was influenced by Latin sonorities. Both albums contained numerous hits and the band recorded Spanish versions of these singles where they sold well in Spain and Latin America.

The band is firmly entrenched as one of Italy’s top rock acts and their tour schedule now includes stops worldwide, where they enjoy particularly great success in South America. For more information visit their website at www.negrita.com.

 

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Albano Prestia

March 2107 | Tony Marotta

Albano PrestiaAlbano Prestia

The life of a child who is born to immigrant parents can be challenging as they will be exposed to two different cultures and often they must choose one over the other. Assimilation into the new society is encouraged in order to “blend in” with the “locals.” South African guitarist/singer/songwriter Albano Prestia was faced with just such a dilemma. His father was originally from Mazara del Vallo on the extreme southwest edge of the Sicilian province of Trapani and his mother hailed from the small town of Itri located between Rome and Naples in the province of Latina. They met in the small gold mining town of Nigel on the eastern edge of the Gauteng Province in 1963 and they would later marry in 1970.

Albano was the second of two children and was born in 1974; just four years later his father would die. Living conditions at the time would be difficult for the young Prestia family as the language barrier posed a problem. They courageously faced and overcame the challenges and, in time, Albano’s mother would re-marry and give birth to another son. Italian was the first language he learned while growing up and later he mastered English in school. His parents were typical hard-working individuals and these traits were not lost on the children. Many of his friends were children of other Italian immigrants who originated from all different parts of the Italian peninsula. Italian music was a common staple in the Prestia home during Albano’s formative years and many of his parents’ favorite artists became very familiar to him. By nine years of age he was taking piano lessons, but his preferred instrument of choice would later become the guitar and by age 18 he formed his first music group named “BC Dance.”

His early Italian contemporary influences included the likes of Eros Ramazzotti, Biagio Antonacci and Gianna Nannini. His first compositions were written in English and he attracted the attention of Virgin Records who signed his group to their first recording contract thereby becoming the first band in South Africa to attain such an achievement. He found the directives of the record company, however, to be too demanding and restrictive for his own personal tastes. The agreement was terminated and, upon the advice of his mother, he returned to school and earned his degree in electrical engineering. Albano never distanced himself too far from the music scene so he chose to study vocal techniques under the supervision of Enrica Gozzi, who at one time studied opera in Milan and also performed at the prestigious Teatro alla Scala. After hearing how naturally and effortlessly he communicated his emotions when performing some of the Italian classics, she strongly advised Albano to consider singing in Italian instead. He complied and felt an immediate sense of connectedness to his parental origins which had only been a place he knew through stories and pictures.

Albano defended his decision to sing in Italian by stating that he personally felt it is “the most beautiful language” and “Italian music has the most beautiful melodies and music and, at the end of the day, is universal.” He was quite comfortable with his choice in spite of him living thousands of miles away in South Africa. Albano entered the studio to record his debut album “Diavoli e angeli” in the late fall of 2014. The release contains 11 songs and features a mix of ballads such as “Con te,” “Insieme” and Sei bellissima” to up-tempo songs including “Dio in me,” “Grazie a te” and L’autostrada;” all of which were spiritually inspired and written by him over the course of many years. The first single released was the poignant tribute “Mandela,” which he wrote in honor of the legendary anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist. It was released on the one-year anniversary of his death on Dec. 5, 2014 and dedicated to a man that Albano considers as one of his heroes.

He was later invited to perform at two music festivals in Italy in 2015: Milan’s Italian Music Talents competition and Rome’s Good News Festival. The contest judges included many notable Italian music industry dignitaries including legendary female vocalist Patty Pravo. In February of 2016 he participated in the Sanremo DOC music showcase which was run concurrently with the annual Sanremo Music Festival. The five-day experience included performances each night, interviews and inclusion of his new song “Ciao” on the competition compilation recording. Upon his return to South Africa, Albano released a mini-CD entitled “2016 Singles” which features the Sanremo DOC single along with three new songs. He has stated, “I love music. I love writing music and I hope that it inspires others the way it inspires me.”

For more information, you can visit his website at www.albanoprestia.com

Photo courtesy of www.albanoprestia.com

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