The Tarantellas

Melodies Italiano!

Who we are / BIO

The Tarantellas began in 2005 with Richard Sclafani and Pete Cicero, lifelong musicians who grew up in Italian-American families and neighborhoods during the 1950's, the hey-day of the Italian-American crooners. They were asked to play some Italian love songs for a wedding, which set them off on a quest to learn all those great melodies that they remembered  from childhood.  In the ten years that followed, they played over 750 performances in Seattle and throughout Puget Sound.  They are on the Touring Artists Rosters of Arts Northwest, 4Culture, and the Ethnic Heritage Council. They have performed at numerous Summer Festivals, including Northwest Folklife, Festa Italiana, Bellevue Strawberry Fest, Oak Harbor Music Fest, Marysville Homegrown and Street                                 

 Festivals, Wedgwood Arts & Music Festival, Meeker Days in Puyallup, Anacortes Arts Fair, San Gennaro Festival, etc.  The Tarantellas also work regularly at many Italian Restaurants, including Vito's, Vivendo, Capri, Perche-No, LaTraviata, Tutta Bella, Ciao Amore, etc.  And they love to entertain Senior Citizens at Retirement Communities throughout Puget Sound. (too numerous to name!)  They've also performed at both the Seattle Art Museum and the Bellevue Art Museum, The Sorrento Hotel, The Fairmount Olympic Hotel, the Seattle Sheraton, Seattle Downtown Hyatt, etc.

    Sadly, Peter was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2013.  Despite the rigors of extensive medical treatment, he continued to perform until February of 2015, when his condition worsened and he finally passed away on July 27th, 2015.  But with Pete's blessing, The Tarantellas continue as a Duo, and today Richard performs with a number of world-class musicians, depending on who is available on certain dates, including Accordionists Bonnie Birch and Lenny Luzzi, and Guitarists Juan Barco, Nick Heiting, and Tom Falcone.  All are consummate professionals, well versed in Italian Music, and thanks to them, The Tarantellas Duo continues in it's mission to share the joy and beauty of Italian Music throughout Puget Sound!

   

Richard Sclafani...

Born in an Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, Richard started playing guitar and singing at age ten, and learned mouth organ at 16.  He has performed over the years in bands ranging from Country (The Pride of Country West), to Blues (Young Richard and the Fountain of Blues), to Rock and Roll (The Funatics), and as a Singer-Songwriter under the name of Young Richard Young. He fell in love with the Italian Mandolin in 2001, and has been fascinated by its unique sound and the beauty of Italian music ever since. He has been the Bandleader for The Tarantellas for over 10 years, singing and playing Mandolin, Harmonica, and Sicilian Flute.  He also performs regularly as a Soloist in his "Melodies Italiano" show.

Peter Cicero...

IN MEMORIAM

An original, founding member of The Tarantellas, and it's Guitarist and Harmony Vocalist for over ten years, Peter grew up in the San Fernando Valley in California. He learned to play guitar in his teens, and played in the L.A. area group The Seeds of Time. He is a skilled songwriter, and wrote the music for the novelty tune "Pencil Neck Geek", one of Dr. Demento's top ten novelty songs of all time! His love of Italian music goes back to memories of his Grandmother singing Italian opera around the kitchen, and his ability to create and sing harmony vocals has greatly contributed to the unique sound of The Tarantellas.

 Peter has been greatly missed since his passing in July, 2015, not only for his consummate musicianship, but even more for the gentle, witty, and wonderful human being that he was. Rest in Peace, Dear Friend.

BONNIE BIRCH...

Bonnie Birch is one of the Northwest’s finest accordionists, performing a versatile repertoire of American, European Continental (French, Italian, etc), and classical music.  She performs as a soloist as well as working with a wide variety of local area musicians and singers, including La Mezzanotte Trio,  Fortissimo!, The Bonnie Birch Band, and now The Tarantellas.   Bonnie is president of the Northwest Accordion Society and chairman of the Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration.

To watch a short video of Bonnie and Richard together, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4lQwKGjbvQ 

 



LENNY Ray LUZZI...

Lenny Ray Luzzi was born in San Francisco and has been playing Accordion since the age of eight.  He's been a fixture in the Seattle Italian Music scene for at least 20 years, performing both Solo and with his Duo, The Rigatones, and his Trio, The Primo Basso Band.  The consummate "Strolling Italian Musician", he sings in both English and Italian, and brings a joyful intensity and love for his Italian heritage to each and every performance!  

Juan "Giovanni" BARCO

Born in Lytle, Texas, Juan Barco is best known as a Tejano Folk Musician/Songwriter.  But his skill as a Guitarist has brought him acclaim in many genres, from the Mariachi, Banda, and Norteno traditions of his Mexican heritage, to Blues, Jazz, and Rock n Roll!  Now, as the newest member of The Tarantellas, he has quickly absorbed the nuances of Italian Music with amazing taste and passion, keeping alive our original, traditional format of a Mandolin/Guitar Duo.