Performance includes healing chants, ritual drumming and trance dance ceremonies from Southern Italy, France, Spain and Brazil that honor the Black Madonna.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 7:00 PM
Cathedral of St. John the Divine, St. James Chapel
1047 Amsterdam Ave. (at 112th Street)fs
General Admission $25
Box office: 866-811-4111,,,
Presented by I Giullari di Piazza, artists in residence at Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
Running time: 2 hours including speakers and book signing.
Photos are available for download at:
Music, dance and theater critics are invited.

NEW YORK, February 19 -- On March 19, Alessandra Belloni and her I Giullari di Piazza performance troupe will return to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave., with a concert, "Healing Journeys With The Black Madonna," and an accompanying book launch. The launch is for Belloni's book, "Healing Journeys With The Black Madonna" (Inner Traditions - Bear & Company), which is presently No. 1 on Amazon pre-sales in the category of Folk dances. The book contains a forward by bestselling author Matthew Fox, the foremost proponent of creation spirituality (based on mystical teachings of Hildegard von Bingen, Meister Eckhart and Saint Thomas, among others).

An ensemble of nine will perform live versions of healing chants, ritual drumming and trance dance ceremonies that are found on the CD accompanying the book. These include rites of the Tammorriata, the transgender rite of Femminielli, and the erotic "spider dance" of the Tarantella, which has been used for centuries in the Mediterranean for healing.

Belloni's book is an experiential guide to the ancient healing rituals surrounding the Black Madonna legend, which can be traced to pre-Christian times. It has roots in ancient devotions to Isis, the Earth Goddess, and the African Mother and recalls an era when God was not only female but also black. Sacred sites of the Black Madonna are still revered in Italy and shamanic healing traditions of the Black Madonna are alive and powerful today.

The performers will be: Alessandra Belloni (lead vocal, mezzo-soprano, southern Italian percussion), Steve Gorn (bansuri flutes, saxophone, clarinet), Joe Deninzon (violinist and arranger), Wilson Montuori (classical and acoustic guitar), Giuseppe De Falco (Neapolitan singer), Mara Gerety (violin, vocals), Kevin Nathaniel (Vocals, mbira checkere) and dancers Francesca Silvano and Peter De Geronimo.

The event will include a book signing and remarks by Dr. Gabrielle Francis (author of "The Rock Star Remedy"), Dr. Joseph Scelsa (founder of New York's Italian American Museum) and Jesus Puerto (founder and director of the Cubanakoa Foundation, dedicated to cross-cultural collaborations).

Alessandra Belloni and her performing troupe, I Giullari di Piazza, became Artists in Residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in the 1980s. This program will take place as part of The Value of Sanctuary: Building a House Without Walls, the latest in a series of Cathedral-wide initiatives focused on the intersections between spirituality, contemporary social issues, and human rights and dignity. With this exhibition, the Cathedral’s sacred space will be host to numerous perspectives on another essential element of human life: the right to shelter, and beyond that, an exploration of what shelter and sanctuary mean in a world divided by sectarian discord, cultural migration, and ongoing refugee crises.

Following this concert, Alessandra Belloni will tour with the book presentation and offer concerts on the West Coast and in Italy.

Alessandra Belloni's book, "Healing Journeys With The Black Madonna," is the product of more than 35 years of research and fieldwork at sacred sites around the world. Belloni takes the reader on a mystical pilgrimage of empowerment, initiation, and transformation, explaining how her love for Italian folk music led her to learn the ancient Tammorriata musical tradition of the Earth Goddess Cybele and the Moon Goddess Diana, leading to her discovery of the still-living cult of the Black Madonna in the remote villages of Southern Italy. Sharing chants, rhythms, and sacred songs, accompanied by 12 audio tracks, Belloni details how she uses these therapeutic musical and trance practices to heal women and men from abuse, trauma, depression, and addiction and shows how these practices can be used for self-healing and transformation, including her personal story of using the Tarantella to overcome cervical cancer.

The concert features music from the book's accompanying CD. Selections to be performed include:
an ancient chant to the Black Madonna of Montevergine (Avellino) from the region of Campania known as Mamma Schiavona and the ritual drumming in her honor known as Tammorriata.
new original compositions by Alessandra Belloni dedicated to the Earth Goddess, the Yoruba African Orishas (Ochun, Yemanja), the Black Madonna of the Gypsies (from France)` and the Mary Magdalen.

The book will be published in early March by Inner Traditions - Bear & Company and can be pre-ordered through Barnes & Noble and Amazon. More info, see:

In the Neapolitan tradition there are seven Madonnas who are seven sisters. The last one of these " sisters" was considered to be the ugliest so she ran away to a high mountain in order to make the pilgrims search hard to find her.  When the pilgrims found her, they discovered that she was in fact the most beautiful of all the Madonnas, and that she was black, so they called her Mamma Schiavona (The Serving Mother). She is known to the Neapolitans as la Madonna di Montevergine.

The Black Madonna is venerated on a high sacred mountain, which pilgrims still climb barefoot while chanting and drumming in her honor.  The location was formerly the sacred temple of the Goddess Cybele, whom people still worship with a ritual known as Tammorriata, a sensual fertility dance which will also be part of the concert.

It is believed that the Roman Poet Vergil went up the Mountain "Partenio " (Monte Vergine) to find inspiration for his poems. He evoked the response of the Goddess Cybele (Gaia) through the mythical Prophetess Sibilla Cumana (the Sybil). In her temple he passed his journey of initiation (seven stages) and became "Mago-Poeta" (healer/poet).

Alessandra Belloni is a world-renowned percussionist, singer, dancer, and actress born in Rome. Voted one of the best female percussionists in the world by Drum Magazine, she designed a signature series of tambourines for REMO, Inc. She is the founder and lead performer of “I Giullari di Piazza,” an Italian music, theatre, and dance ensemble, and is an Artist-in-Residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. She teaches workshops and healing retreats around the world and lives in Edgewater, New Jersey. More info: and

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Music, dance, and theater reviews are invited.
Photos are available for download at:


"Ms. Belloni sang in an exultant voice. The songs blazed with an age-old momentum." -- Jon Pareles, New York Times

"Italian-born virtuoso Alessandra Belloni is established as a unique phenomenon, not just a percussionist, but also an actress, lecturer, entertainer, and healer." -- Drum Magazine

"Belloni has done her homework and heart work, danced the dance, drummed the drums and tambourines, bled while doing so....a shamanic gift for our times." -- Matthew Fox, spiritual theologian, activist, and author of Original Blessing

“. . . transports the reader on an inner journey in which they experience the archetype of the Black Madonna within, so they may continue to keep her mystery and healing alive in today’s world. Read this book and be transformed!” -- Dr. Gabrielle Francis, author of The Rockstar Remedy

Alessandra Belloni and her book were featured with a special in depth interview January 25 with Ancient-Origins | Ancient Origins Premium - ONE THE BEST THREE books pick for the week in the Books Newsletter by Dr Micki Pistorius, Editor, Membership Coordinator – Ancient Origins Premium

"Alessandra Belloni and 'Tarantata: Dance of the Ancient Spider' is a revelation, utterly fascinating." -- Don Hackman, Los Angeles Times

Healing Journeys of The Black Madonna by Alessandra Belloni is an emotional tour-de-force that will leave you astonished by its power as you mentally cast the film adaptation. But I warn you “ this is not a book for those that are not ready to reflect deeply on their wounds, how they were created and the path of recovery. So, do yourself a favor and purchase two copies of this book, one for yourself and one for someone else. The Black Madonna will let you know who is in need.--Tayannah Lee McQuillar, Author of The Sibyls Oraculum: Oracle of the Black Doves

The Voyage of the Black Madonna promo for a documentary film by Alessandra Belloni:
Procession Of The Black Madonna from "Tarantata Spider Dance"

Alessandra Belloni Live Appearance on ABC-TV7 Chicago: