Author Alessandra Belloni with Matthew Fox
Healing Journeys with the Black Madonna
(Inner Traditions / Bear & Company, 2019)
Forward by Matthew Fox
Renowned musician and healer Alessandra Belloni in conversation with best-selling author Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox. Followed by a concert of sacred music in honor of the Black Madonna featuring ritual drumming and healing chants used in ceremonies from Southern Italy, France, Spain, and Brazil.
The concert will feature music from the CD ~ an enchanting journey of discovery of the seven Black Madonnas, following the ancient Neapolitan legend, known as the “Seven Sisters” in Southern Italy. This trip into traditional legends, miracles and history, transports audiences to a time and place where an unbroken and ancient tradition continues today with processions, drumming rituals, chanting and sensual dancing in honor of the Black Madonna. Alessandra Belloni will share about her book which is based on 35 years of academic research and fieldwork, which led her to write the opera “The Voyage of the Black Madonna” in 1991 and brought her to becoming the Artist in Residence at the Cathedral of St John the Divine, in New York City. The book is a musical-spiritual guide highlighting one woman’s mystical journey of empowerment and transformation and revealing the mysterious Black Madonna as a Christian tradition with origins in pre-Christian devotion to the Earth Goddess and the African Mother. It comprises 12 chapters and each one ends with the description of the ritual prayers, lyrics and notations of the chants. The traditional music includes the ancient chant to the Madonna of Montevergine (Avellino) from the region of Campania the Black Madonna known as Mamma Schiavona, the Serving Mother, who is considered the most important of the seven sisters. She continues to be venerated on a high sacred mountain, which pilgrims still climb barefoot while chanting and drumming in her honor. The drumming is known as TAMMORRIATA, a sensual dance which dates back to the rites of the Mother Earth Goddess Cybele, now worshiped as the Black Madonna. It also features new original compositions by Alessandra Belloni dedicated to the Earth Goddess, and the Yoruba African Orishas, Ochún, Yemanjá, the Black Madonna of the Gypsies from France and the Mary Magdalene.
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.
Matthew Fox was a member of the Dominican Order in good standing for 34 years until he was expelled by former Pope Joseph Ratzinger, who was a cardinal and chief inquisitor at the time. Matthew Fox was founder of the University of Creation Spirituality and the foremost proponent of Creation Spirituality, based on the mystical teachings of early Christian visionaries such as Hildegard von Bingen, Meister Eckhart, and Saint Thomas Aquinas. He is author of 36 books on Culture and Spirituality that have been translated into 72 languages including Original Blessing, A Spirituality Named Compassion, and most recently Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God…Including the Unnameable God. He is an Episcopal priest and visiting scholar at the Academy of the Love of Learning.