Joys of folk songs
Members of the original choir.

Kavisha Mazzella and the Joys of the Women Choir will this week celebrate the 20th anniversary of a landmark documentary about their journey to preserve the Italian migrant songs of Fremantle.

They will perform live at a screening of the film The Joys of the Women, at Luna Leederville at 7pm on Thursday, presented by the Armadale Film Festival and the National Film and Sound Archive.

Directed by Franco Di Chiera, The Joys of the Women film touched a chord around Australia, introducing the choir to a national audience and launching Mazzella’s Aria Award-winning career.

Di Chiera’s film documents the activities and colourful characters of the Fremantle Italian Women’s Choir and traces Mazzella’s search to rediscover the Italian folk songs at risk of being lost in Australia.

The project began life in 1990 in an old Fremantle church hall where Mazzella was singing songs learnt from her grandmother and some Italian women in the audience started singing.

“I was amazed how beautiful the songs sounded when the women sang them in a raw, earthy kind of way I had never heard before,” she said at the time.

The screening will be followed by a Q and A session with Mazzella and Di Chiera, who grew up in Armadale and is the patron of the Armadale Film Festival, which runs on Friday and Saturday evenings at Memorial Park, Armadale.

The West Australian

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