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photos of Nando Citarella and I Giullari di Piazza
History & Politics, Music, Theater & Dance

Sacred Drumming for the Seven Black Madonnas

La Tammorriata delle 7 Madonne Nere

October 19, 2022
6:00 pm

In accordance with NYU Covid Safety Precautions, in order to attend in person, all audience members MUST:
– show a valid government-issued photo ID
– show proof of being fully vaccinated and boosted (if eligible)

Masks are encouraged, but no longer mandatory


Concert / Presentation
Sacred Drumming for the Seven Black Madonnas
La Tammorriata delle 7 Madonne nere

Alessandra Belloni, vocals & percussion
John La Barbera, music director, guitarist & composer of I Giullari di Piazza

Steve Gorn, bansuri flutes, saxophone, clarinet
Francesca Silvano, dancer
Peter De Geronimo, dancer

Special guest (live from Italy)
Nando Citarella, Neapolitan singer, percussionist, teacher


This new concert and lecture presented by the Directors of I Giullari di Piazza will provide a full immersion into the ancient drumming traditions and devotional chants in honor of the Black Madonna from the region of Campania.

This powerful journey will introduce and transport the audience to a time and place where an unbroken and ancient tradition continues today with folk music, processions, devotional drumming, and dance. It will feature Alessandra Belloni’s field research taken during her most recent pilgrimage in Campania in August, 2022, with her students. It will provide a panoramic view of the sacred sites of the Black Madonna in this region, known in the Italian folk tradition as “the Seven Sisters.”

According to the local legend, there were seven Madonnas, all of them sisters. The last one was believed to be the ugliest so she ran away to a high mountain, Mount Partenio, so that the pilgrims would have to search very hard in order to find her. Having found her, they discovered that she was the most beautiful of the sisters, was Black, and they called her “Mamma Schiavona,” the nurturing, serving mother, that can now be found in Montevergine.

These Madonnas are connected to the seven Goddesses that are part of the ancient worship of Mother Earth and the Moon Goddesses, and the archetype of the African Mother, especially Isis from Egypt and Cybele from Anatolia (Turkey).