Italian Power Radio: Blackfriars old scholar’s cultural quest

Blackfriars old scholar Jacques (Jake) Giacchino Graziani is hitting the airwaves to keep Italian culture alive in Adelaide.

Mr Graziani (BPS’03) is the host of a new podcast – Italian Power Radio – described as “a platform for the next generation of Italian Australians”.

“Our 3rd, 4th, 5th generations – those young ones aren’t going to the (Italian) festivals anymore. They aren’t going to church. The culture is fading away,” said Mr Graziani, who is also President of the Italian Power Radio Board.

“The grandparents who came here from Italy are starting to disappear and the young ones don’t know what it means to be Italian; how our upbringing got us to where we are today.”

Jake Graziani (BPS’03) with his children.

Mr Graziani’s own grandparents came to Adelaide from the Calabria region of southern Italy and settled in the western suburbs. They maintained close ties to their homeland through their involvement in the Catholic church.

But, Mr Graziani said, too few younger Italians were keeping those traditions alive today.

“We’ve gone to the young ones and asked, ‘What does it mean to be Italian?’ How can we promote our culture’,” he said of the creation of Italian Power Radio.

“As we venture into the future, Italian Power Radio aims to bridge the gap for the younger generation, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their fluency in Italian, can embrace their roots and heritage.”

He said the podcast – which discussed everything from drag racing, to mental health, to “growing up at Nonna’s house” – had received great feedback.

Mr Graziani, who was a Prefect and Lagrange House Captain while at Blackfriars, worked as an apprentice mechanic after leaving school, before stints in sectors including hospitality and retail.

After being made redundant at the start of the covid pandemic, the father of two started online business Saluti alla Famiglia, selling Italian pantry staples.

“We wanted to ensure everyone had access to great Italian products,” he said of the business’s beginnings.

Saluti alla Famiglia then expanded to include Saluti alla Cucina – a catering company serving up all manner of Italian cuisine, including wood-oven pizzas and zeppole.

Jake Graziani is working to keep Italian culture alove.

Both businesses now fall under the banner of The Saluti Project, which also includes Italian language classes, dance and music.

“We are always coming up with more ideas to help grow The Saluti Project … and keep our traditions alive,” said Mr Graziani, who juggles his podcasting and The Saluti Project commitments with a full-time job.

“I am very proud to be Italian and I want this younger generation to be proud, too.”

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