It was the fabulous 50s.
I was about 4 years old and music was my great passion. The drums found a lot of space between games and studies, yes of course, because I was already playing at 2 years old !!
Sicily told of a postwar period that had already expressed its strength in autonomy and the memory of a defeated land, of misery and violence. Democracy walked towards progress: as Levi and Sciascia told us.
Our family had moved for a period to the province of Catania for my father’s work as, a cashier at Banco di Sicilia. At that time he worked in Zafferana Etnea, the homeland of Etna honey, Sicilian pizza, tea leaves and many other delicacies.
Zafferana is a hilltop village at the foot of Mount Etna and is considered the “Pearl of Etna”, a town with an Arabic name. It takes its name from the colourful pistil which, in a soil as fertile as the volcanic one, still makes your eyes water during its flowering. As well as giving a great fragrance of Sicilian Baroque cuisine.
It was summer, I remember July, the same summer that in the afternoon still sees people flocking from the streets to Piazza Umberto I, after the heat has locked all its inhabitants in the house. Everyone was at the lookout to admire the horizon, where the sea embraces the sky.
Then, like today, people sat at the bar enjoying the coolness and refreshing themselves with the “cremolata”, which today we will call ice cream. At that time it was served in a metal cup and had the softer consistency of the “hard piece”, the Sicilian artisan ice cream with two flavours of Arab origin. But thicker than granita.
People occupied the bar until late in the evening, so the owner of the Bar Salemi, who had met my father at the bank, asked him to teach me and my brother Juzzo on weekends, respectively on drums and accordion.
I was 4 years old and Juzzo 12!
And, incredible but true, we also had someone who came to take our instruments and store them…. We played the Sanremo songs of the 1950s, the so-called “Cubans”, which had nothing of Cuban music at all because it was African American music, swing.
Swing… our great passion and the music that played on the radio!
I still can’t believe it after 70 years… they paid us 500 lire each evening plus a soft drink and the legendary pizza !!!!
We were an attraction!
People danced in the square until the end to the enthralling rhythm of two kids who made a dream come true, like few others!
From there later the “Trio Primavera“, “Cesare Bruno and his quartet” would be born. These were pioneering times and success came at the provincial and regional levels by participating in radio broadcasts for children and in television programs.
Up to even recording a disc !!!!
Let’s not forget that this is all in the 50s!
Music took us to 1961, when the “Kamels” were born with Pippo Ciavola on piano, Salvino Comes on bass, Juzzo on vibraphone and accordion and I, aka Kim, on drums!
The excellent consensus of the public and critics brought us to the end of the 60s with our latest band “I Cuccioli“!