Biagio Guerrera & Pocket Poetry Orchestra

Biagio Guerrera Voice
Simona Di Gregorio Voice, Organetto (small accordion)
Vincenzo Gangi Guitar
Giovanni Arena Double Bass
Riccardo Gerbino Tabla, Percussion

The Pocket Poetry Orchestra was born in 2007 from an idea by Biagio Guerrera, who followed and expanded on the experience of the poetic-musical encounter between Tunisian poet Moncef Ghachem and the Italo-Palestinian group Dounia, an experience recorded on the CD “Dalle sponde del mare bianco” and included in the eponymous book published in 2003 by Mesogea.

The PPO has a variable lineup that may include the four members of Dounia (Palestinian singer Faisal Taher, guitarist Vincenzo Gangi, double bassist Giovanni Arena, and percussionist Riccardo Gerbino), along with percussionist Marina Borgo, multi-instrumentalist Stefano Zorzanello, singer Simona Di Gregorio, and Biagio Guerrera as an actor and director. The core group is supplemented with poets and guest soloists according to the needs of different productions.

The PPO aims to be an ensemble dedicated to sound exploration between music and words, creating a homogeneous musical and vocal texture—a sonic flow that offers the listener a unified sound where the text’s words are complemented by music, never inhibited.

Biagio Guerrera, born in Catania in 1965, studied singing with Michiko Hirayama. He is among the founders of the artistic collective Famiglia Sfuggita, with which he presented “Idda” in 1992 at Santarcangelo dei Teatri, later included in his first poetry collection of the same title (Il Girasole, 1997). In 2003, he contributed to the creation of “Dalle sponde del mare bianco” (Mesogea, 2003), along with Dounia and Tunisian poet Moncef Ghachem. In 2009, he published his second poetry collection, “Cori niuru spacca cielu” (Mesogea), and in 2011, “Quelli che bruciano la frontiera” (Folkstudio ethnosuoni) with Moncef Ghachem and the Pocket Poetry Orchestra.

His interest in the Sicilian language led him to collaborate with playwright Carmelo Vassallo and work on texts by Salvo Basso and Nino De Vita, directing some productions based on poetic works (including “Idda,” “L’incittà,” ‘U spavintapàssari,” “Le vecchie e il mare,” “Nenti sutta u suli nenti subbra”). Guerrera is actively involved in cultural organizations such as Associazione Musicale Etnea, Festival Internazionale di poesia Voci del mondo, Leggerete, SabirFest. His texts have been published in various magazines and anthologies, both in Italy and abroad. “Casa Munnu” (Mesogea, 2021) is his latest collection.

In 2019, he won the Lerici Pea Prize “Paolo Bartolani” on the recommendation of Andrea Camilleri and Manuel Cohen.

2021 | 12° Edition, Europe, Italy, Sicily