A Braver Kind
Eclectic acoustic brushed with hues from Mediterranean folk is the avenue on which the band Villa Palagonia perches—yet the side streets and dusty alleyways that these musicians travel offer engaging timbres that are woven together by songs imparting tales of the old world and the new.
Founded in 2013 by multifaceted guitarist Joe Ravo and multi-instrumentalist and singer Allison Scola, Villa Palagonia calls upon its members’ southern Italian roots and American know-how to create original music peppered with elements from traditional Sicilian and Italian folk songs. Joe Ravo is a versatile guitarist who has performed alongside the likes of Dave Brubeck and Stanley Turrentine and traveled around the world as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Department of State. Allison Scola is most familiar to folk audiences because of her performance as part of Chicks with Dip’s Joni Mitchell’s Blue Celebration. As a solo artist, she has performed at venues as grand as Shea Stadium, as kitschy as CBS Morning News’ Living Room Live, and as intimate as her cousin’s patio in Bagheria, Sicily where the world-renowned chateau Villa Palagonia exists.
Allison’s paternal grandmother, who immigrated to New York in the 1920s, grew up in Bagheria in the shadow of Villa Palagonia. It’s a place she and Joe have visited many times; and the villa, a place that they find intriguing and inspirational because of the 72 odd and mystical monster-statues that line the estate’s grounds. Bagheria is at the crossroads—between barons and peasants, between lemon orchards and fig orchards, between mountains and sea, between Europe and Africa, and between ancient mysteries and modern realities. Both the historic site and the band capture a unique essence—capture a place: where north, south, east, west, and humanity collide.