A series of recent email exchanges concerning the now inextricably conjoined topics of Italian identity and hip hop linked such disparate places as Marseilles (France), Turin (Italy), Kenosha (Wisconsin), Oakland (California), Syracuse (New York), and good old Brooklyn.
Searching the web for references for Neapolitan music in the United States, I came across a fascinating video clip of American folk singer Pete Seeger performing an English version of “C'è la luna." Recorded for the 1967 “Rainbow Quest” TV series, Seeger’s tune is labeled “The Butcher Boy,” followed by Ralph Marino (I couldn’t find anything on him) singing in Italian.
There have been numerous versions of this ethnic pop classic, from Lou Monte’s 1958 “Lazy Mary” to Morgana King’s (as Mama Corleone) rendition in The Godfather. This song is usually attributed as a “Sicilian folk song.”
(Luciano Pavarotti singing Rossini's "La Danza.")