Dominic Mancuso
Gig Seeker Pro

Dominic Mancuso

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2000 | SELF | AFM

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2000
Band World Adult Contemporary




"Comfortably Mine | Dominic Mancuso | Self Produced (2010)"

Comfortably Mine
Dominic Mancuso | Self Produced (2010)

Published: March 20, 2010
Raul d'Gama Rose [ Contact ]
CD Review Editor
Joined AAJ in 2003

When you hear great music, be prepared to be touched in your soul. More about Raul.

Dominic Mancuso is one of the most distinctive voices in music. He is a paramount storyteller; a premier Sicilian griot of these times. He wails with the best. He cries the blues from the depths of his soul—bringing great measures of duende to the music. Mancuso can swoop, flutter, and rush in to every nook and cranny to dilate the mind's eye when he sings. At times he is like that blithe spirit inhabiting the hidden breath of music, the one who makes the nape of the neck crawl with delight and who makes the heart skip a beat when he lets that distinctive rasp glide through to deconstruct and rebuild the song from its very depth. In this respect, he recalls the great Ray Charles at the height of his powers.

Comfortably Mine—his first CD since he graced Michael Occhipinti's award-winning Sicilian Jazz Project (True North Music, 2008)—is headed for the proverbial classic status despite its being a humbly offered self-production, the fate of much worthwhile music these days. On this album, Mancuso weaves in the warmth and passion of Sicilian folk sensibility with the sliding quarter notes of the myriad sounds of the Mediterranean rim with the vibrant elasticity of the idiom of soul and the wild swing of jazz and Romani freedom.

From the repertoire, even without a first listen, it becomes clear that Mancuso is driving for that zone that warms the cockles of his heart. His selection mainly of classic songs would have been the safest bet here but, being a restless spirit, Mancuso cannot bring himself to merely lay down music that the world is familiar with. He imbues every song with light and dark twists and turns and recreates them from the inside out. His artistic intensity drives the music with marvelous abandon. "Je So Pazzo" teeters on the edge like the drunken cliff-hanger that it turns out to be. Mancuso is positively puckish on the wonderful "Menamenamo" and his take on Gino Paoli's lyrics to the Jacques Brel song, "Ne Me Quitte Pas" is heart-breaking and seems made for his raspy voice. He imbues the classic "O Sole Mio" with a magic that is both drenched in a longing for that promise of living brightness.

But by far the most memorable tracks on the album are the popular Lucio Dalla song, "Caruso," which is sung with such an elemental sadness that it feels like a corkscrew through the heart. The legend of "Padre N'toni" is a classic as is "Sicilia Antica," a poem by Guiseppe Gennaro narrated by Venus and featuring Ernie Tollar's ney and the doumbek of Rick Lazar. On this album Mancuso also enjoys the company of a group of stellar Canadian musicians: guitarist Tony Zorzi, the singer's alter-ego, multi-instrumentalist Kevin Adamson, drummer extraordinaire Mark Kelso and bassist George Koller. This is a rare album indeed, quite simply one of a kind. - All That Jazz 2010 Raul D'Gama Rose

"A Trophy Turns The Tide for Dominic Mancuso"

Domenic Mancuso's lively stage presence is as well received as his tribute to his parents' generation.
John Goddard Staff Reporter

“No clichés,” he vowed when recording the worn Italian classic, “O Sole Mio.”

The song almost demands to be performed grandly, operatically — a suitor comparing his lover's face to the sun — but Dominic Mancuso interpreted it tenderly, like a lullaby.

He sang it as though to his newborn child, an astonishing rendition that helped him win this year's Juno Award for best world-music album, the only Italian-language disc ever nominated in any category.

“That piece was the most difficult of the whole record,” he says of the Neapolitan hit from 1898. “Just a delicate little touch on the guitar. I felt entirely exposed.”

At 41, born and raised in Toronto, Mancuso has been building an audience through a weekly residency at Lula Lounge, the city's premier world-music venue.

Every Friday since January, he has cultivated a following with his broad range of musical styles, variety of musical guests and energetic, almost boisterous, stage presence.

The Juno boosted his efforts.

Invitations to summer festivals have poured in — “from Kamloops to Charlottetown,” he says — and agents have dropped by to ponder his international potential.

“All I ever wanted to be was a hockey player,” he says of his teenage self one recent evening after a show, “until somebody ran a stop sign and I jackknifed on my motorcycle and fractured my seventh vertebra.

“I had to rehabilitate for a good year,” he says. “I took up an instrument to keep my sanity.”

Mancuso took up bass guitar. On finishing Grade 13, he played clubs in rock bands for six years. In 1994, he entered York University's music program, switching to acoustic guitar.

Three years later, he followed Tania Cologna, now his wife, to northern Italy where she studied piano and for several months he became a type of wandering troubadour.

“That's when I really started to play guitar and sing,” he says.

Making a record in Italian sprang from an urge to pay homage to his parents and their generation of Italian immigrants.

“They came here in the 1950s, post-World war II,” Mancuso says. “And they weren't just people from my (Sicilian) hometown. They were from various regions and that (Toronto) community was family to me.”

For the album, he chose songs in various Italian dialects. He picked nostalgic pieces, such as “O Sole Mio” and “Menamenamo,” and more contemporary numbers of singers he admires such as “Caruzo” by Lucio Dalla and “Je So Pazzo” by Pino Daniele.

But the album is North American, not Italian, Mancuso says.

“I'm embracing North American instruments like the B-3 organ,” he says. “I'm playing jazz harmonies. I'm doing little funk approaches and taking some New Orleans shuffle-funk meters and rhythms, and juxtaposing them on old Sicilian melodies.”

He titled the work Comfortably Mine. One of the first people to embrace it was Lucy Pillitteri-Friesen, of the Pillitteri Estates Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake and of Sicilian background.

“The whole feeling of his music, it wasn't something he had to explain to us,” she says of one reason why the company gave away 10,000 Mancuso albums in a wine promotion last year, getting it circulating.

After a Quebec tour, Mancuso's Lula Lounge residency resumes June 4. - The Toronto Start Newspaper

"Sweet and Bitter: Sicilian Jazz"

Michael Occhipinti Sicilian Jazz Trio
at the TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival:

"How can I choose from among the high points of this show? The husky tenor of Mancuso’s vocals were so full of longing and gutsy bravado, casually, effortlessly in the centre of the pitch, and so Sicilian in the way he subtly showed the Arabic influences that have passed through that island and left a mark on the music. "

Tova G. Kardonne-Live Music report - The Live Music report

"The Sicilian Jazz project Sizzles"

Like, suppose Gil Evans, the late great musical genius arranger/composer who sired the Birth of the Cool for Miles Davis, got hold of musicologist Alan Lomax field recordings of old Sicilian folk songs that were wildly popular fare at weddings, dances and parties and worked his magic on them. What would they have sounded like reshaped for a cool modern Canadian jazz band? Last night in the Jazz Tent, Michael Occhipinti's Sicilian Jazz Project came oh-so close to providing the definitive answer.

First. A great entrance. In single file, the band strode on stage from the wings singing a folk song acappella. In position, instruments at the ready, the players were introduced in song. Barry Romberg on drums, Roberto

Occhipinti (Michael's brother) - bass, Louis Simao - accordion, Ernie Tollar - saxophones and flutes, Dominic Mancuso - vocals, percussion, mini-bass, and Michael Occhipinti on electric guitar. M. Occhipinti, slight, dapper, somewhat owlish behind large frame glasses, looked open, friendly and relaxed in a light blue short-sleeved shirt, pale gray slacks and a dark cloth cap. It bespoke of a good time vibe. The opening number, a tuna fishing song no less, set the tone and flavour for the rest of the exceptionally enjoyable set. Some fishing trip. Romberg's rippling assertive drumming and Roberto Occhipinti's crisp fast-fingered bass lines were less suggestive of a heavy diesel fishing smack engine than a finely-tuned powerplant beneath the hood of a sweet ride Lamborghini. Indeed when the band grooved with smooth, pulse-riffling, sophisticated ensemble playing, it was like we listeners were carefreely zoom-zoom-zooming along a twisting country road on a warm sunny day in an expensive Italian sports car with the top down, man. Lovely feature. The light baritone singing of Dominic Mancuso - lusty, emotive, freighted with passionate sincerity, lifted the folk tunes high up into the thrilling zone. The instrumentalists framed his vocalizing with stellar work on accordion, wooden flutes, soprano sax and smoothly crafted lyricism on the guitar. Solos sparked awe. Fiery licks, assertive ostinatos (short repeated melodic phrases) and luminous dynamics wowed the crowd who might never have imagined how simple Sicilian folk sngs could have been unconventionally reimagined into such hip and exciting musicality. In light of last night's performance, all that's left to say is: Michael Occhipinti, that's some una sola visione estatica."
By Graham Pilsworth - The Coast Halifax Website

"Comfortably Mine CD"

Una vera sorpresa! Dominic e' riuscito con il suo nuovo CD "Comfortably Mine" in un'impresa che pareva impossibile: infondere un afflato vibrante di verita' , freschezza e originalita' in composizioni musicali troppe volte ascoltate per riuscire ancora a sorprendere. E i pezzi originali che completano il Cd sigillano lo straordinario risultato raggiunto.”
- Martin Stiglio, director of The Italian Cultural Institute in Toronto

"Beautiful Inventions"

“I am not exaggerating, Mancuso’s Culture Race, off his debut CD, is one of the most important songs to come out of Canada in a decade. Standing there with the best songs by Claude Dubois, Bruce Cockburn and Jean-Pierre Ferland. Dominic Mancuso has been given the gift of beautiful inventions.”
Antonio D’Alfonso, writer/publisher, Guernica Publishing

- Antonio D’Alfonso, writer/publisher, Guernica Publishing

"The Mancuso Brothers: Sight & Sound"

“It was a privilege to showcase MANCUSO2 at George Brown’s Sight & Sound event for Nuit Blanche. The inspiring and moving musical performance transfixed the audience, and the projection of Vince Mancuso’s stream-of-consciousness, realized in digital paintings, was mesmerizing --- the audience couldn’t get enough!” - Helene Vukovich, Associate Dean,

"The Sicilian Jazz project at The Atlantic Jazz festival"

…Mancuso is the real sound of Sicily. His voice is robust and passionate and he wails in such a way as bring expressions like “ Sicilian blues” into mind, and also suggest how close in temperament and expressive style all the music from the rim of the Mediterranean Sea is, though also very different.”
, Arts Reporter -2008 The Chronichle Herald, Halifax
- Stephen Pedersen


2012 "Shine On: The Universe of John Lennon" (True North )
2009 Comfortably Mine Dominic Mancuso ( indie )
2008 "Sicilian Jazz Project" ( True North Records)
2004 Songwrirters Vol. 1 Sukha Records
2000 MANCUSO Calling Out ( indie )
1996 2ND Generation self titled CD
1991 Little Secrets self titled EP




An acclaimed singer, songwriter and producer, this Toronto native is defining a rich hybrid vibe, fusing the multicultural flavors of his home town with the savory sounds of his Sicilian heritage. A Juno and Canadian Folk Music Award winner, Dominic's brand of world music is underscored by an infectious on-stage energy, zeal for storytelling and a voice that is nothing less than " lusty, emotive, and freighted with passionate sincerity." Graham Pilsworth, Atlantic Jazz Festival

“ Dominic Mancuso is one of the most distinctive voices in music. He is a paramount storyteller; a premier griot of these times. He wails with the best, crying the blues from the depths of his soul — bringing great measures of duende to the music. His "Comfortably Mine" record is a rare album indeed. Quite simply one of a kind!“ Raul d’Gama Rose, All About Jazz

His recent incarnation evolved out of his acclaimed solo project. The idea was to establish a core group sound, driving his new multi-lingual compositions. Dominic continued his guitar collaboration with Tony Zorzi, who graced the acclaimed record “Comfortably Mine” with his multi-string instrument contributions. Their relationship has grown deeper, defining this project’s harmonic and melodic direction. Their synergy resonates! Tony’s harmonic facilitation, envelops, and at times, pads Dominic’passion filled vocals.

Complementing them is Cuban percussionist, Rosendo “Chendy” Leon, one of Canada’s most sought after percussionists. Chendy brings a love of all music and cultures, with a profound innate rhythmic facilitation. He drives the groups sound, alongside, Mexican bassist/composer, Francisco “Paco” Luviano. This rhythm section’s vast vocabulary, and affinity for Dominic’s composing, makes the groove sophisticated, seductive and never overbearing. As featured members of this group, they have asserted themselves as one of Toronto’s most emphatic rhythm sections.

The NEW CD “Sub Urban Gypsy“, truly transcends cultures and borders, defining the artist’s new vision, and it is testament to this group’s wandering spirit! To be released Spring of 2013.

Depending on context and the presentation, the Dominic Mancuso Group is augmented by some of Canada’s most forward thinking musicians in:

Jerry Caringi ( B3 Organ & Accordion ) Robi Botos ( Piano & Melodica ) Hugh Marsh (Electric violin) John Johnson (Woordwinds) Kevin Turcotte (Trumpet) Gord Myers (Trombone and Tuba) Yvette Tollar ( Vocals ) Rique Franks ( Vocals) Andrea Koziol ( Vocals) Maryeme Tollar ( Vocals )
Enjoy his hybrid sound, which is influenced by a culturally diverse world. Passionate WORLD FUSION, performed by some of Canada's finest.

Career CV Highlights
Recording his follow up record.
Featured member in the newly released SHINE ON : The Universe of John Lennon ( True North Records)
This past summer the project completed a cross Canada tour of all major Jazz Festival from St. John's Newfoundland to Vancouver B.C.
Completed the musical score for David Rocco's Amalfi Getaway. ( Breakthrough Entertainment)
-Canada's National Broadcaster records Dominic Mancuso & Kevin Breit in Concert for national broadcast
-The Alliance Francais, presents Mancuso in the Homage to George Brassens
-Spotlight.Italy features Mancuso twice during their 2 week festival honoring Italy's 150th Anniversary of Unification
-Radio Canada presents Dominic Mancuso in concert at The Plaza Theater in Montreal for national French Broadcast.
-Luminato-Toronto presents Dominic Mancuso on the main stage June 11th 2011, honoring Italy's 150th Anniversary
• 2010
-Juno Award for ‘Best World Music Album’
-Canadian Folk Music Award for ‘World Music Artist’
-Artist in residence at the Lula Lounge, Toronto’s premier world music venue, performing a weekly series entitled Mancuso Live & Intimate
• Performed on popular HIT TV show in Quebec ‘Belle et Bum’
• Wreckhouse Jazz & Blues Festival (St. Johns-Newfoundland)
• Markham Jazz Festival
• Southside Shuffle Blues/Jazz festival- Portcredit-Ontario
• PEI- Souris Hall in Souris
• Guitar des Monde Festival in Noranda Quebec
• Released 2nd solo CD “Comfortably Mine”
• CBC Radio 2 recorded Mancuso’s CD launch
concert to broadcast on their ‘Canada Live’ program
• Canadian winery Pilliteri Estates launched promotional
campaign at liquor stores across Ontario with 10,000 bottles
of wine accompanied by special 9-song CD of Mancuso’s music
• Toured Sicily, Italy, with The Sicilian Jazz Project and
performed at the 15th Edition of the Ragusani Nel Mondo
event broadcast on Italian national television
• Cross-Canada tour with The Sicilian Jazz Project at
the country’s major jazz festivals
• Juno Award nomination as part of The Sicilian Jazz Project
• Produced poetry CD with music for the Sicilian poet, Giuseppe Gennaro
• Performed at REX Jazz Club (T