Singer Deana Martin promises encore performance at Enfield Italian Festival

By Jennifer Holloway - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Tue., Jul. 26, 2011
Deana Martin, daughter of Dean Martin, will perform at this year's Italian Festival in Enfield. Photos courtesy of the Mount Carmel Society.

It all started with a bowl of pasta fazool. Known in Italian as “pasta e fagioli,” the dish is exactly what its name says: pasta and beans. It is also a favorite food of acclaimed performer Deana Martin, daughter of the iconic Dean Martin. After reading the fact in her biography, “Memories are Made of This: Dean Martin Through his Daughter’s Eyes,” Enfield Police Chief Carl Sferrazza and his wife made a bowl to take with them to one of her concerts at Foxwoods. They were able to meet her and present her with the dish.

“It was so good,” Martin said, though it came with a bit of controversy. Martin’s grandmother always made pasta fazool with white beans, while the Sferrazzas used red beans.

“I’m glad I was so hungry that I tried it,” Martin joked. “It was absolutely yummy.”

As president of the Mount Carmel Society in Enfield, Sferrazza took a risk and invited Martin to perform at the organization’s annual Italian Festival. She agreed and sang at last year’s festival for the first time.

This year, at the 86th annual feast, Martin will be back once again.

“I get to sing this fabulous music, to bring Dean Martin and the Rat Pack to younger generations,” she said. “It’s a treat for me.”

Having now developed a friendship with the Sferrazza family and the Mount Carmel Society, Martin says she is “in it for the long run,” wanting to see the festival grow. In a time when similar groups are closing their doors and less importance is placed on understanding heritage, Martin is dedicated to her roots.

“I’ve seen towns suffer and people stop going to Italian dinner on Sundays,” she said. “We cannot lose this tradition. There’s something about being Italian that is so fantastic. We don’t want this to just fade away.”

Though busy with several projects, including recording a Christmas album, Martin is excited about coming to Enfield again.

“All the people in Enfield were so great about going last year,” she said. “The community came together with the food and wine and music.”

She will perform Friday and Saturday, Aug. 5 and 6, with her quintet. Also accompanying her are comedian Pete Barbutti, singing impressionist Bob Anderson and Vinnie Falcone, former musical director for Frank Sinatra.

The festival opens on Aug. 5 at 5 p.m. on the Society’s grounds on Park Avenue in Enfield. Not Italian? No problem. As Martin said, “That weekend, everybody’s Italian.”

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