Rita Botto & la Banda di Avola

Terra ca nun senti

The origins of the Band of Avola are lost in the Bourbon nights but only in 1996 is reformed thanks to the commitment of the master Sebastiano Bell’Arte and for some years it has been one of the most important and original musical realities of Sicily, revolutionizing the concept of the band. If once popular orchestras had the role of making everyone know that music that was the privilege of only those who could afford an opera stage, thanks to the band arrangements of many masterpieces by Verdi, Rossini, Bellini and Mascagni, The Band of Avola aims to rediscover and safeguard popular traditions. In the repertoire we also have the Traviata, the Cavalleria Rusticana or compositions for bands, as well as songwriters, jazz, but thanks to the meeting with Roy Paci we understood the importance of remaining tied to our traditions. With the Ionic Band I recorded a CD of funeral marches that made the audience go crazy at the concerts we held in France, Austria, Germany and in the North of Italy».


Rita Botto voice
Sebastiano Bell’Arte direction


From the encounter with the eclectic trumpeter of Augusta in 2002, “A banna”, the first record company of the Banda di Avola. Then came the collaborations with Lello Analfino dei Tinturia, Giovanardi dei La Crus, Mirco Menna and other Sicilian artists. Until the meeting with the “priestess” Rita Botto, guardian of the most ancient popular roots, with which in 2012 a sort of association was born. Together they rework the pieces of the most ancient Sicilian tradition and Rosa Balistreri and perform on the occasion of the Night of Giufà in Noto. They record the cd “Terra ca nun senti”, produced by Roy Tarrant for the record company Recording Arts with twelve songs of the Sicilian tradition. A perfect record that tells the meeting of two important realities of Sicilian music: that of the sound of a band, which characterizes the popular festival and the sacred and processional tradition, with the magnificent vocal cords of Rita Botto, Catania doc heir to a culture full of charm that has never denied the remote past of ancient music, nor the next with collaborations with Franco Battiato, Carmen Consoli, Lautari, Kaballà, Roy Paci. Superlatives are also his tribute
(renewed also in this job) the greatness of Rosa Balistreri, star voice of the island folk as well as the contamination cultured with Arab music.


The opening is of absolute tradition with “A virrinedda” (also taken from Balistreri) and the famous “Mi voto e mi rivotu” which has the echo of Rossini and Mosè (“Dal tuo stellato soglio”) but also of many sacred and popular music that has suggested to Bellini unforgettable pages. Sono marcette (belle “Don Nuzzo” e “Fatti li fatti toj” del maestro Bell’’Arte e della stessa Botto) e filastrocche come “Me mugghieri unn’avi pila” e “Mamma vi l’aiu persu lu rispettu” della Balistreri che fanno il pieno con la superlativa “Terra can un senti” of which is offered a masterful version full of lyricism and melodrama that is also reflected in the beautiful “Amuri Amuri”. In closing the classic “Cantu e cuntu” perfect synthesis of an immortal art that we all have the duty to defend and not to forget.
With this album, in 2014, Rita Botto and the Band of Avola win the National Award city of Loano for traditional Italian music. A clip of the videoclip of “Cantu e cuntu”, one of the tracks of the album, was inserted among other video excerpts of the most illustrious Sicilians (Giovanni Falcone, Paolo Borsellino, Leonardo Sciascia, Ignazio Buttitta, Franco and Ciccio, Peppino Impastato, Rosa Balistreri, Giuseppe Tornatore), in a video show that represents the beauty of Sicily and launched into the stratosphere at over 30,000 km high.


About Us

Rita Botto is a singer who finds in her Sicily the energy to take back the sound roots that today are back in the news. It is the voice of the Mediterranean woman who tells stories and feelings of an ancient land. Versatile artist, self-taught, whose main gift is communication, boasts a powerful Mediterranean voice, ductile, but also ironic.
Born in the baroque Catania, musically debuts in Bologna, a real springboard for his artistic future, where he embraces styles and repertoires ranging from Italian light music to Brazilian, through the African-American registers of blues and jazz. Only later did he discover the desire to give voice to the sounds of his own language: Sicilian.
The warmth of the timbre of the voice, the passion, his way of staging a certain expression “theatrically” Mediterranean fit perfectly for the beginning of this new experience that concerns the popular Sicilian song.
Thus began the concert activity; 2004 is the year of the first international tour with Banda Ionica and Roy Paci, in important festivals in Seville and Barcelona, but above all the year of the real recording debut with “Stranizza d’amuri”produced by Recording Arts of Roy Tarrant, which launch it among the protagonists of the new music of Sicily.
Also for the same producer, Rita will record later 3 more albums – Donna Rita/Ethnea 2008, Ninnaò 2012 -, of which the last “Terra ca nun senti” recorded with the Band of Avola, winner of the prestigious “Premio Città di Loano” 2014, as best popular music record.
Among the most significant artistic encounters with Carmen Consoli in the tour “La Musica Antica del Nuovo Millennio” 2007 together with Lautari and Alfio Antico, and always with the Singer L’ “Omaggio A Rosa Balistreri” 2008 with artists such as Ornella Vanoni, Nada, Giorgia, etc.
In 2010, unpublished encounter in the show “The journey of Ulysses” between the rhythms of percussionist Toni Esposito and the melody of Rita Botto, Cortile Platamone of Catania.
In 2015 at the invitation of the director Guglielmo Ferro, he participated in a suggestive video mapping show “Balconi in Cornice” in the cast the singer Mario Venuti and the actor Franco Oppini, at the Palazzo degli Elefanti in Catania.
In 2021, lucky meeting with the Sicilian Opera Choir directed by Francesco Costa, for the “Franco Battiato Tribute” together with the singer Daniela Spalletta and the actress Lucia Sardo, in the different theaters in Sicily.
Between singing and acting, in 2022 with original music by Carlo Cattano and the orchestra conducted by himself, Rita is a guest in “Suoni Corsari”, with explicit tribute to the poet Pier Paolo Pasolini, concert of 1 September, for “Catania Jazz”.


The Band of Avola comes to life from the initiative of the Maestro. Sebastiano Bell’Arte who in 1996 founded the Association A.L.MUS. (Avola Laboratorio Musicale) establishing a School of Music for wind instruments and percussion, thus creating the prerequisites for the rebirth of the glorious Band of Avola directed by Masters Falbo and Tarantino. In July 2002 the band recorded the CD ‘A Banna! for the FELMAY label with the production of Roy Paci and Fabio Barovero.
In May 2006, for the celebrations of the Decimo la Banda, he performed in Avola in Piazza Umberto I with Roy Paci and saxophonist Carlo Actis Dato. In October of the same year, Banda di Avola parades through the streets of the historic center of Turin performing in Piazza Castello for the SLOWNIGHT event on the occasion of the Salone Internazionale del Gusto and the Festa di Terra Madre. In the summer of 2007 he performed in Avola with the Sicilian singer Lello Analfino, voice of Tinturia. In August 2008 Banda di Avola was invited by Roy Paci to the Sikula Reggae Festival on the occasion of the X of the project Roy Paci & Aretuska. Their performance is included in the DVD Bestiario Siciliano.
In 2009 he began collaborating with the Bolognese singer-songwriter Mirco Menna.
In July of the same year they performed together at the Rocca Sforzesca in Imola at the XXIV edition of the Cross Over Jazz Festival and recorded at the Teatro Vittorio Emanuele in Noto the CD “…e l’italiano ride”. The CD was released in February 2010 and was produced by Fabio Barovero for the Felmay label and distributed by EgeaMusic.In April 2010 Banda di Avola recorded at the recording room La Posada Negro in Lecce seven tracks written by Roy Paci for the column sonorous “Ristabbanna” by Gianni Cardillo and Daniele De Plano, a film presented in 2011 at the XIV edition of the Shanghai International Festival. In 2011 for the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy Banda di Avola performs in Milan in Piazza della Scala within the event Sounds of the Regions of Italy representing the Region of Sicily.
In 2012 began the collaboration between the Band of Avola and the Sicilian singer Rita Botto. Together they rework pieces of the most ancient Sicilian tradition and perform on the occasion of the Night of Giufà in Noto. From this meeting comes the idea of recording at the Teatro Garibaldi Avola the cd “Terra can un senti”. The CD produced by Roy Tarrant for the record company Recording Arts contains twelve songs of the Sicilian tradition.


Maestro Sebastiano Bell’Arte was born in Avola on 13 November 1971 and began his musical studies at the age of seven, graduating in horn at the Vincenzo Bellini Music Institute in Catania in 1991.
In 1993 he took part in the courses of specialization and orchestral training of Lanciano studying with the M somebody. Franco Traverso. In 1996 he studied horn in Rome at the school of the Vatican with the Maestro. Luciano Giuliani. He has collaborated with many bands, chamber groups and orchestras, including the Orchestra del Liceo Musicale di Catania, the Orchestra giovanile Siracusana and the Orchestra del Teatro Massimo di Catania. In 1996 he established in Avola a School of music for wind instruments and percussion, thus creating the prerequisites for the birth of the current Band Città di Avola. He studied conducting with Masters Thomas Briccetti, Daniele Carnevali, Lorenzo Della Fonte, Jacob de Han and Jan van der Roost.
In 1997 he began collaborating with Roy Paci and Fabio Barovero as the first horn of Banda Ionica. With this training he has participated in numerous festivals both in Italy and abroad. With Banda Ionica has recorded the CD “PASSION” and “MATRI MIA”. In 2003 with Banda di Avola he recorded the CD “A BANNA” with the production of Roy Paci and Fabio Barovero for the label Felmay. In 2004 he was called to be part of the project CORLEONE by the Sicilian trumpeter Roy Paci with whom in 2005 he recorded the record WEI WU WEI.
In 2008 he began his collaboration with the Bolognese singer-songwriter Mirco Menna. From this experience came the idea of a CD. In fact Sebastiano Bell’Arte arranges eleven songs and also writes the unreleased Evviva for the cd “…. and the Italian laughs!” The CD was released in 2010 by Felmay and was distributed by Egea Music. In April 2010 he recorded with Banda di Avola the music for the soundtrack of the film “Ristabbanna”, composed by Roy Paci. In 2012 he began collaborating with singer Rita Botto. From this collaboration comes the cd “Terra can un senti” of which Sebastiano Bell’Arte has edited the arrangements and direction. The album won the Premio Nazionale Città di Loano for the best Italian Traditional Music record for the year 2013. Since 2012 he has been part of some jazz projects: Carlo Cattano Orchestra with which he recorded the Hiccup disc, MagmArtOrchestra directed by Paolo Sorge with which he recorded the RingLike disc, the Sikelè Orchestra directed by Stefano Maltese with whom he recorded the Winging Flock disc. Since 1996 he has directed the Band of Avola and the annexed School of Music.

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