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Composer and Pianist Cettina Donato Joins Forces with Actor Ninni Bruschetta on New Album I SICILIANI, Honoring Poet Antonio Caldarella
(Published: May 03, 2021)

Cettina Donato, adept Italian pianist, conductor and composer has joined forces with renowned actor Antonio ‘Ninni' Bruschetta on I Siciliani, a brilliant new album due out May 14, 2021 on the AlfaMusic label. Their second collaboration together, this expansive musical portrait of Sicily features eleven Donato-penned originals based on the work of renowned Italian poet Antonio Caldarella.
The pair's previous theatrical collaboration came to pass in 2019 with "Il mio nome è Caino", a production by Claudio Fava. While "Il mio nome è Caino" moved audiences with its emotional script and powerful musical performance, "I Siciliani" offers a new facet of Sicily; the poetic and literary kind.
The artistic inspiration for this project comes from the Strait of Messina, a common homeland for both Donato and Bruschetta, and geographically speaking, the narrow strait between the eastern tip of Sicily and the western tip of Calabria in the south of Italy. Antonio Caldarella, whose poetry inspired "I Siciliani", crossed the same passageway throughout his life. Caldarella was a native of Avola in Sicily and raised between Naples, Messina and "the rest of the world."

Ninni Bruschetta lends his voice to I Siciliani, after performing Caldarella's poetry for years throughout the world. Bruschetta originally began staging the poetry of his friend Antonio Caldarella at small theaters in Sicily before it became a traveling show that consistently changed form.

"Poetry became song and these are our songs, or rather our stories," Bruschetta reflects. "Cettina's, mine, Antonio's and AlfaMusic's, all together; stories of jazz, poetry, alcohol and above all stories of love." Now, this dynamic duo is giving us the opportunity to experience their stories through record - configurations of passion, quality, and expertise that continue to evolve each time they are recorded, performed, and listened to.

With Ninni Bruschetta's brilliant and perceptive interpretations, Caldarella's poetry is brought to life on I Siciliani. The album strikes a balance between acting and singing, while showcasing Donato's evocative compositions and bringing her love for large jazz ensemble back to the surface. I Siciliani consists of 8 songs and 3 preludes for piano, all composed, arranged and performed by Donato's quartet with the assistance of the world class B.I.M Orchestra. As a product of musical, theatrical, and literary influence, this release is an innovative expression of Donato's proficiency as a composer.

Joining Donato is saxophonist Dario Cecchini (Lee Konitz, Natalie Cole Band, Kenny Wheeler Hot Eleven, Funk Off, Paolo Fresu, Enrico Pieranunzi, Dave Liebman), double bass player Dario Rosciglione (Cedar Walton, Joe Lovano, Randy Brecker, Phil Woods, Tony Scott, Danilo Rea) and drummer Mimmo Campanale (Paolo Fresu, Bob Mintzer, Phil Woods, Lee Konitz, Randy Brecker, Dee Dee Bridgewater). Actress and singer Celeste Gugliandolo, who has appeared on X Factor Italia in 2011 with I Moderni, is a featured special guest on one track.

Cettina Donato is an internationally acclaimed classical and jazz pianist, composer, arranger and conductor. Her highly original work often blurs the lines between genres: from jazz to classical, and from symphonic music to theatrical music. For over a decade, she has led the Cettina Donato Orchestra, a full-size jazz big band with a string quartet, featuring musicians from all over the world. Across the ocean, in Italy, Donato is the only woman that conducts classical symphony orchestras performing a jazz repertoire while also contributing with her own arrangements. Donato has conducted the Bari Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, the Vittorio Emanuele Symphony Orchestra, the Lucca Jazz Orchestra, the Molfetta Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the New Talents Jazz Orchestra, among others. To date, Donato has released five albums including Persistency in 2017 (AlfaMusic) with renowned drummer Eliot Zigmund.

The Messina-born actor Antonio Ninni Bruschetta.has directed over 40 theatrical works and has appeared in a plethora of film and television projects since the late 1980's. Along with prominent television roles in Italy, he has known for his work in Visioni Private (1989), Boris (2007), To Rome With Love (2012), and Quo Vado?, which was the highest grossing Italian film in Italy in 2016. Bruschetta received the Tony Bertorelli Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.

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