John La Barbera?s MamboTangotella (guitar/mandolin)

For more than three decades, guitarist, mandolinist, and composer arranger, John T. La Barbera, has enchanted audiences throughout the United States, Europe and South America.He was awarded for the extraordinary role of the transmission and translation of Italian oral traditions from The Italian Oral History Institute in 2005 and recognized as one of the first transcribers of Southern Italian folk music in America.Immediately after graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree in classical guitar from the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut, he was awarded a scholarship to continue graduate studies in Siena and Florence, Italy. It was in Florence during the 1970’s where John launched his professional career. It was his selection as full time guitarist and arranger for the music and theater company Pupi e Fresedde, that honored his virtuosity and brought him acclaim in Italy and the rest of Europe. During these years, the group left an indelible mark and vast contribution to folk music in Italy. It was also when he started to transcribe a huge repertoire that had been passed down by oral tradition. Upon his return to the U.S., he brought back his experience and own transcriptions of this music to form I Giullari di Piazza, in New York City in 1979.As a composer, La Barbera has won several awards and commissions. From The Jerome Foundation he was commissioned to write a work for the ETHOS Percussion ensemble, The Marimba Suite for percussion, which premiered in 2001 and released on their CD Sol Tunnels; in 1996 by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The Martin Gruss Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts in New York, to compose The Dance of the Ancient Spider, which premiered at Alice Tully Hall; Funding from the New York State Council on the Arts and meet the Composer; commissioned by the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City to compose Stabat Mater-Donna Di Paradiso; numerous composer awards from ASCAP and finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Competion.Because of his expertise in Italian traditional music, LaBarbera has been a valuable resource for both film and theater directors. His film scores often include mandolin as the principal instrument, as in the Acadamey Award Nominated feature documentary: Children of Fate, (1992), Sacco and Vanzetti (2007); Pane Amaro (2007); and La Festa (1996) and Tarantella (1994). Other films include: What’s up Scarlet (2005) and Cuore Napolitano (2000).In Theater, his expertise as composer, arranger and musical director was valuable in the off-Broadway productions of Souls of Naples, 2003, (Theater for a New Audience) starring John Turturro (Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink) and the stage adaptation of Sicilian playwright Luigi Pirandello’s short stories in Kaos, 2006 (New York Theater Workshop) directed by Marta Clarke.Composer of original Folk Operas:

Stabat Mater: Donna di Paradiso 1995
The Voyage of the Black Madonna 1990
The Dance of the Ancient Spider 1996
La Cantata dei Pastori
La Lupa- the She-Wolf 1987
The Adventures of Don Giovanni and His Servant Pulcinella 1987

As founder and musical director of I Giullari di Piazza since 1979, together with singer/percussionist Alessandra Belloni, the group has presented legendary folk operas and hypnotic music and dramatic stories to the delight of audiences around the US. They are also “artists in residence” at the New York City’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, in Katonah, New York. La Barbera performs regularly in concert halls around the world including: the Montreal Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, Lincoln Center, UCLA, the San Franciso World Music Festival, the World Music Institute, and throughout Brazil.He holds a B.M. from the Hartt School of Music, (Univ.of Hartford), with graduate courses at William Paterson University, Hunter College in ethnomusicology, in Italy at the Villa Schifanoia (Rosary College), in Florence and in Siena, at the Accademia Chigiana’s film music seminar with Ennio Morricone.He currently teaches at the Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey and has taught at The Julius Hartt School of Music (University of Hartford ); The Guitar Study Center of the New School in N.Y.; Sessione Sienese in Siena, Italy; SASI in Bratislava, Slovakia; and SESC in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He conducts workshops and lectures on mandolin and acoustic guitar styles, ethnomusicology, world music, and has written for Acoustic Guitar magazine. His music has been recorded on Shanachie records, Meadowlark, Rounder Records, Lyrichord Disks, Ellipsis Arts, and Bribie records.

The group includes: Rob Curto on accordions, Vinny Sciala on percussion together with John La Barbera on guitar and mandolin