Alessandra Belloni is the artistic director, founder, and lead performer of “I Giullari di Piazza”, an Italian music, theatre, and dance ensemble who are artists-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. She is also the designer of a line of signature Italian tambourines made by Remo.
A tambourine virtuoso, singer, dancer, and actress, Belloni was born in Rome, Italy and is committed to preserving the strong and rich traditions of her culture. She has performed extensively with master drummer Glen Velez and was invited by Nana Vasconcellos and Gilberto Gil to perform in PERC PAN ’98 in Bahia, Brazil. Alessandra was also selected as one of three runners-up (along with Babatunde Olatunji and Mickey Hart) to Arthur Hull in DRUM! magazine’s “New Age/Worldbeat Percussionist” category in their 1998 awards. She was featured in Modern Drummer magazine and has written article for Percussive Notes.
In Italy, she has recently been featured in the Women in Music Series at Teatro Argentina in Rome, Perc Fest near Genova, and Tarantella Power Festival in Calabria. She also teaches workshops on Southern Italian folk dances and drumming at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. She holds annual healing dance and percussion workshops in New York and Italy together with Dr. Jose Bittar, healing specialist from Brazil.
She is the only woman in the U.S. and in Italy who specializes in traditional Southern Italian folk dances and percussion, which she learned from old fieldworkers in Italy and also from the legendary Italian percussionist Alfio Antico. She has spent summers participating in authentic drumming festivals in remote areas of Southern Italy, held as rituals of purification in honor of the Black Madonna.
Alessandra Belloni has studied acting at H.B. Studios, voice with Professor Michael Warren, and mime and Commedia dell’Arte with Dario Fo (winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize for Literature) at New York University. Belloni founded “I Giullari Di Piazza”—a company performing traditional Italian folk music and theatre—with classical guitarist/composer John La Barbera in 1979 and was artist-in-residence at New York University for ten years. Fluent in Italian, English, Spanish, French and Southern Italian dialects, Alessandra Belloni also speaks through her tambourine and drums.
Since then, she has created cross-cultural productions dedicated to Mother Earth, featuring the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, and African and Latin American artists. She is also featured on the PBS documentary, “La Festa” with The Voyage of the Black Madonna. For her achievements in music and theatre, she won the Award for Italian American Woman of the Year in 1996 and the Community Arts Project Award from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts as well as the Sons of Liberty “Citation of Honor” award in 2001.