For St Anthony, June 13th

santantonioToday is June 13th and this was supposed to be a post about beautiful Sicilian drums. While I was leafing through some research on folklore and deciding on a quote to add about the drums, I came across this prayer which mothers would say when their daughters were of marrying age, “ Sant’Antuninu, mittitilu ‘n caminu!” They are asking Saint Anthony to bring a husband to their daughters. Interesting how I opened to this quote on the very day of the Feast of Saint Anthony…. I had to learn more so I kept studying the quote and discovered that not only did Pitre` himself document this prayer in his research, but he attributed it to part of a prayer that was said during births by midwives in Borgetto asking the saint to bring the baby. That a phrase, saying or prayer could be used for different ends or intentions is a common occurrence throughout many traditions so it was not the usage that threw me. It was that Borgetto is the town where my grandfather was born and Saint Anthony is a saint near to my family’s heart.

I’ve been rehearsing a song that is a story about Saint Anthony, a message he gives in a dream and a healing he grants. The song ends happily with a marriage and a celebration, thanks to the workings of the saint. This song has taken hold of my heart. At rehearsals, I don’t bring it up because it’s a long song and I’ve wondered if audiences would enjoy it. Excising some text would make things move more quickly to accommodate our modern and shortened attention spans. Yet, doing so would also leave out key parts of the story. It is as if the rhythm coupled with the complete narration makes the story leave the realm of fiction and materialize before our eyes. The characters become infused with life and we see clearly that simple faith moves love and happiness into everyday life.

Sometimes clear messages come to us in the daily rhythm of life. Sometimes, it feels as if the songs themselves long to be sung. Today is one of those sometimes…

Michela Musolino
Michela Musolino
Michela Musolino is a singer who specializes in the Roots Music of Sicily. She is known and loved on both sides of the Atlantic. Her CD “Songs of Trinacria” can be heard on radio stations in Europe and the US. Her music is featured in the film “Un Bellissimo Ricordo”. Peter Covino, PEN America prizewinning poet, summed up Musolino’s appeal on both sides of the Atlantic:: "Can you imagine the wild soulfulness of Tina Tuner and the earthy yet ethereal voice of Neapolitan songstress Teresa De Sio combined? Well imagine that; then think even more vibrancy, more urbanity, in songs that somehow also feel impossibly intimate...."

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