Last Sicilian Storytellers

It is impossible to say you know Sicily without having experienced its traditions, its true essence. Three of them are a must-see. The Opera dei Pupi, which is part of the UNESCO list of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, the Tarantella (a dance in traditional Sicilian folkloric costumes), and the Tradition of the Storytellers

Poster by Rocco LIbrizzi – ph. Associazione Gli Ultimi Cantastorie di Sicilia

The romantic figure depicting the storyteller is reminiscent of the Bard from Ancient Greece: The singer who, like a prophet inspired and guided by gods, shared stories orally from one generation and, as a new Homer in his own way, recited verses to the tune of his zither.

True professional who becomes a joker and medieval trobadour over time. He uses different dialects to express his opinions. Undisputed keeper of cultural, folkloric, and literary popular heritage.

A dying art, but which is alive in Sicily thanks to 22 living storytellers. This includes 7 women who are driven by their love for culture and tradition and continue to pursue this amazing craft with love.

Sara Cappello, storyteller – ph. Associazione Gli Ultimi Cantastorie di Sicilia

It is the storyteller from Sicily! He is a street artist who tells stories about his country, including myths and legends as well as current events and news. His cultural background includes oral traditions, endecasillabe verses and musical stanzas. He is accompanied by his instruments and phantasmagorical illustrated board, which are colorful sets created by local artists. A complete artist, who is able to convey emotions and beauty in a few words.

This is how religious and popular songs, tales, and legends are relived through music and words. We can also learn about La Baronessa di Carini or San Giorgio, Padre Pio, and also the History of Salvatore Carnevale written by Ignazio Howevertitta Cavalleria Rusticana. These songs are folkloric and a deep-rooted tradition like lullabies.

Scene from the movie I Cantastorie, directed by Gian PaoloCugno

The storytellers’ language and style is an intangible cultural heritage of Sicily. It has been approved and protected today by the official registration in L Ibro delle pratiche expressive e dei repertori orali. These timeless artists are a true representation of the cultural and socio-historical history of a civilization.

(Cover photo: The storyteller Luciano Busacca – Associazione Gli Ultimi Cantastorie di Sicilia)

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Last Storytellers in Sicily

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