March 16, 2012 - New York


I love you madly - Musical reading of the novel "Il Duka in Sicilia." In New York
With: Vittorio Bongiorno- narrator, cigar box guitar
The King-leader of Tangiers Blues Band, New York

The “Duka” is not just a novel. Written originally as a screenplay (Sacher Prize, 2003), I had the jazz beat of Duke Ellington and Miles in my head while writing it, along with the guitar feedback of Hendrix and the torment which fanfares accompanying sacred processions in Sicily leave in their wake. All of this mixed up in my iPod is what went on to become the “soundtrack” of the story.

But it doesn't end there: during a few “turning points” in the book, I sampled a couple of tracks and selected just a few seconds which I listened to in loop over and over for hours. My writing gained speed in rhythm and beats: something like a Hip-hop novel.

This is why it was only natural to take the reading on stage with musicians playing live while I read, instead of the same old, boring literary presentations.

The music is in “Il Duka” like the statue is in the marble, and the reading of it is my way of letting everyone hear it.

As an amateur musician, I got on stage through the back door and thanks to  “Il Duka”, have been able to play with some extraordinary musicians.

What first seemed like an “experiment”, turned into a 15 date tour, where we play many instruments (guitar, upright bass, percussions and piano) together with music samples. The latest addition being the “cigar box guitar”, a small guitar which I built following the teachings of Mississippi Delta Bluesmen, who accompany their songs with the cigar boxes.

And it is from Sicily, where “Palermo Pop '70” (an International Music Festival) first saw the light of day, which I talk about in the story, and from that same city where I was born a few years later, that my “Il Duka” lands in New York today. The road is long, but with patience and a pair of good shoes it will be an amazing voyage. I'll throw in my dreams, Fiorentini+Baker, who I have lived next door to for almost ten years, and who I am, above all, a fan of, will take care of the shoes.

The reading, which will be in Italian and lasts around 35 minutes, will be accompanied by music in between the reading of some excerpts from the novel, with songs by Celentano, Bruno Martino, Bob Dylan, The Velvet Underground and Duke Ellington.


Vittorio Bongiorno was born in Palermo in 1973. He debuted quite young with the novel “La giovane Holding” (Comix, 1997), the psychedelic noir “In Paradiso” (DeriveApprodi, 2001) and the Bildungsroman “Il Bravo Figlio” (Rizzoli, 2006), receiving rave reviews by Fernanda Pivano in the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
He wrote “Il Duka” (Sacher Prize, 2003), which was published as a short story in Alias, the weekly supplement to Il Manifesto newspaper, and “Alma” (prize for Best Screenplay at BAFF (Busto Arsizio Film Festival, Italy, 2010).
He has written and directed music videos and the documentary “Buia era la Notte” (2010).
The novel “Il Duka in Sicilia” was published by Einaudi Stile libero in 2011. Vittorio Bongiorno lives in Bologna.

Matteo Zucconi is one of the most highly regarded, young Italian upright bass players on the Jazz Improvisation and Electronic scene today, and has performed in many prestigious national and international festivals.
He has recorded numerous albums to date and has collaborated with, among others, Garrison Fewell, Underdogs, Mimes of Wine, Carlo Atti, Gilad Atzmon, Guglielmo Pagnozzi and Fabrizio Puglisi.