Macquarie University
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L'Ottava Isola: studies on music, heritage and cultural identity between Sicily and Sydney

posted on 2022-03-29, 01:24 authored by Cristoforo Garigliano
This study presents the results of a research on the relationships between music, heritage and cultural identity, focusing the attention on the Sicilian migrant community in Sydney. Chapter one has been designed to introduce the unfamiliar reader to basic information on Sicily, Sicilian history and society, history of migration (including to Australia) and statistics. Chapter two presents the theoretical framework which sustains this thesis and includes an overview of selected anthropology and ethnomusicology studies on Sicilian folk. The chapter concludes in reporting the field and desk research I undertook in order to initiate field research, both in Sicily and Sydney. Chapter three presents my on site research on musical activity in Sicily, with special focus on the localities where most of the migrants to Sydney originated. This research was undertaken previous to my arrival to Australia. Chapter four presents the results of my Australian research, divided into different sections, corresponding to different contexts music is played in and to different genres. The Chapter ends with study cases on two musicians and on two concerts, the reflections upon which lay the foundation for the global analysis of the material found, which will be the main theme of the next Chapter. Chapter five is divided into four sections: starting from a categorization of the music and musicians found I pass to analysing such material in terms of political, cultural and social class consciousness. I indicate how these levels of consciousness shift from Italy to Australia and finally how Australian culture has contributed to the creation of a new 'Sicilianess', incorporating both archaic elements, drawn from the country of origin, and new elements, from the new homeland. The conclusions (Chapter six) expand on analysing the ways in which the historical, cultural and political contexts present in Australia at the time of migration shaped the cultural identity (and the music) of the Sicilian migrants. This chapter ends with a proposed identification of the processes which Sicilian cultural heritage has undergone since mass migration to Australia, also seeking to point the attention towards possible further directions of research on this topic.


Alternative Title

Studies on music, heritage and cultural identity between Sicily and Sydney

Table of Contents

Sicily to Australia: a retrospective overview -- Research methodology, Sicilian studies and institutions -- Field research in Sicily -- The contemporary Sicilian-Australian music scene in Sydney -- Categorization of genres and comparison -- Conclusions.


Includes bibliography (p. 237-244), discography (p. 246-253), filmography (p. 254) and webography (p. 256-263)

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (PhD), Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Media, Music and Cultural Studies

Department, Centre or School

Department of Music, Media, Culture and Communication Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Philip Hayward

Additional Supervisor 1

Denis Crowdy


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Cristoforo Garigliano 2009.




Italy Australia


xxi, 293 p. col. ill., maps, ports

Former Identifiers

mq:16411 1561983