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Italian Beach Musicians

These were well known street musicians in Brighton, Carmine Amerena, Raffaele Alexander, and Joseppi Marcantonio.

I think that this photograph was taken in the early 1900s. Has anyone any information on this group?

If you can help, please leave a comment below.

Italian street muscians
From the private collection of the Amerena family.

Comments about this page

  • Put Frederick Alexander in the search box at the top of this page and you will have more on two of these performers, including family connections.

    By Pat Benham (07/03/2011)
  • Hi Richard, Thank you for a very interesting picture of a family that gave rise to a number of generations of Brighton musicians. I believe the names are incorrect and that they were Carmine Amerena, who was the oldest and born locally around 1874. The other two were brothers Raphaele (also spelt Raffaele) being the harpist and Giuseppe Marcantonio the violinist, both English-born sons of an Italian immigrant, Luigi Marcantonio. A whole enclave of different family members all lived in adjacent houses in Saunder’s Buildings around the turn of the century. Raffaele died in 1902 at the age of 21.

    By Andy Grant (13/03/2011)
  • Giuseppe Marcantonio was related to my husband through marriage – my husband’s Auntie was married to Vincent Marcantonio. The family had a fish and chip shop in Edward Street opposite Blaker Street – it was very popular, there was always queues out side the door. Also an uncle of Vincent use to go around with an ice- cream cart on wheels, I think a lot of people will remember him

    By Kathleen Catt (19/03/2011)
  • When I was out of the RAF and living in Patcham with my parents, I played Double Bass with the Doug Boniface Band – I think it was “The Modernairs”.  Doug was the drummer and played on a Pit kit – a very compact kit with all component parts mounted on an aluminium cast base (used by theatre pit musicians due to lack of space.) We played each New Year in The Royal Pavilion music room (the one that caught fire) and also in Hove Town Hall (the old one that burnt down!). I visited Brighton recently and found another venue where I played.  This was The Snipe pub in Carden Avenue Patcham / Hollingbury  Which I was surprised to find is now a Sainsburys small supermarket. It doesn’t pay to go back!

    By John Snelling (09/06/2018)
  • My stepfather – Frederick Aliandro, not Alexander – was the harpist and Giuseppe was the violinist, they were not brothers. Originally there was five musicians. Grandad used to play on the Paddle steamers along the coast.

    By Maureen Croke (24/01/2020)
  • Not sure if this is the same family but I have found this for no. 10 Boss’s Gardens, Brighton, 1911.
    Carmienzi Marcantorco H Violinist
    Lily Marcantorco W
    Raffaelo Aleandro H Harpist
    Florrie Aleandro W
    Norah Aleandro D
    Pasquale Aleandro S
    Joseph Aleandro S
    Levi Aleandro S

    By Linda Brand (19/05/2023)
  • My mum lived as a girl in the 1920s at 145 Edward Street almost opposite Boss’s Gardens and would often talk about the local Italian community, sadly often referring to the very racist attitudes that came about after Friday night drinking sessions in the local pubs when the locals were actively hostile to their Italian neighbours.

    By Dr Geoffrey Mead (20/05/2023)

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