“Sessanta SeCunti” for the Sicilian: Dario, the Palermitan who puts his face from Ireland

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For Dario, linguistics is not only knowledge but also and above all culture.
Making an idiom usable is his job but over time it has turned into a “mission”

Curious I monitor with great attention the Sicilian groups, authentic mines of history, tradition and knowledge, they are an inexhaustible and lively encyclopedic series.
Scrolling through the various groups I came across a big boy, who in the foreground, for a minute, tells a “cunto” in Sicilian, is Dario Cascio.

I immediately loved this performance, new modern, fast, full of pathos, intelligence and irony.
Thus began a correspondence with the author of the “Sessanta SeCunti”.
As we once did with faraway pen pals, we told each other, sharing the boundless love for Sicily, but also for Ireland, where he lives, and I own a piece of pasture land, where lazy and cute Suffolck sheep graze in absolute slowness and freedom.
From this exchange of messages and supported by the appreciation of readers, this writing was born.

Dario is from Palermo, he is 38 years old grew up between San Lorenzo, a place of villas of the nobility of the past and Cardillo the ancient baglio which later became a holiday resort.
The first house in via Filippo di Giovanni is a high-rise building with a balcony overlooking the Chinese building.
He is not a model student from elementary school to “Paolo Emilio D’Angelo”, middle school to “Pecoraro”, to Linguistics.
Then the L2 International Relations University.

He loves music and joins a Palermitan band, recording an album and DVD in Holland.
His first job is in an Alitalia Call Center.
In 2009 leaves Sicily and goes to Canada in Montreal, where he works as a video game tester and translator for projects such as Avatar, James Cameron and Mafia 2.

In our messages I ask him if it was his initial project to work abroad, he replies no, one project is to go home in some time.
I ask how he managed to choose a place like Canada where the winters are merciless and very long, he replies that it was not easy, but there he was trained as a person and a professional.
Distance often crushed him, but he knew he could count on family support.

From Canada to Europe, Hamburg and then Ireland to Dublin and beautiful Galway where he works for two localization giants.
Then a brief return to Italy, and the definitive choice to live in Ireland in Cork, a wonderful city crossed by the River Lee, with a large community of Italians, which he told in one of his documentaries “The Italians of the River Lee“.
He says: “In Cork I put my hat on“ and not only that, he starts a family with a girl from Monreale that he knew from before leaving, and two children arrive.

He tells me with a touch of pride that the children speak English with a typical Irish accent, and study the ancient Gaelic language.
For Dario, linguistics is not only knowledge but also and above all culture.
Making an idiom usable is his work, from the leaflet of pharmaceutical companies, to the translation of our mobile phones, to subtitles and translations of TV series, to video games.
It is a working world unknown to us made up of an army of professionals.

Today in Ireland he is a Chief Project Manager and deals with Internationalization programs.
From this activity and passion arose the desire to spread Sicilian, which Unesco has recognized the status of a minority language.
His worry as a linguist is to see that the Sicilian is losing strength, especially in the new generations, forgetting that he has an important literature and a structured grammar.

Thus was born “Sessanta SeCunti” 60 seconds for a cunto in Palermo.
The visual aspect is part of the project, he is not an actor, in direct recording and films his story, “focusing on immediacy and linguistic speed”, with a shot that leaves no space and no distractions: “Who looks and listens the cunto, focuses on the story but in the meantime thinks: How long were the eyebrows stu picciotto? “.

In this way, it aims to establish a contact between the past and the future.
He tells stories about him, but also tales of the places he knows and where he lives.
The aim is not to lose his language that “the fake respectability of the 70s, accompanied by an unjustified sense of shame, had stigmatized”.
I asked him who his source of inspiration is, he replies: “Giovanni Alamia, one of the sons of Palermo who reaped less than he sowed, often ignored by a class of intellectuals who should listen to Acqua di cielo, Trazzieri or Vanni again.
the fisherman”.

As we speak, I observe him, I ask him where he found the courage to “put his face”, not just reading as many do.
He replies that it is an internal contradiction, shame is a catalyst for him: “If you feel genuine childish shame, you are on the right path “.
Dario is determinedly prepared, this format is one of his passions along with the making of documentaries on youtube, where he is followed by 6000 people; there he tells about Ireland to the Italians and to the Irish, in English, Sicily.

His next documentary will be on the Irish national team that was in Palermo during the 1990s World Cup.
And “Sessanta SeCunti”? He tells me that three “cunti” were transmitted by the actor Gino Astorina, but his desire is to create “a tiny percentage of the culture of the Sicilian language” through a publication, thus counteracting the linguistic impoverishment of his land.

So far he has achieved 20 cunti, he would like to reach 60, “Susanna is a desire, but we need stalks”.
We say goodbye, we will hear from you soon, we still have so much to share and tell, he from the emerald island, I from that of eternal beauty.

This post is also available in: English