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     Louis (Luigi) Biamonte:  Oral History Transcript Summary

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Louis (Luigi)

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Year of the Coal Miner September 2003 - 2004

A summary of the oral history transcript of Luigi Biamonte in which he describes his early years in Alberta, his extended family, his occupation as barber, and the role music played in his life.  He relates the circumstances of meeting his wife, who, in turn, describes her family's (Rusconi) pioneer life in Naples, Alberta.

  • First impressions - lost, young (brother was here), homesick1908 brother came, fireman at Black Diamond Mine in Clover Bar, Edmonton1905 - cousin, was chief engineer at mine  Worked for 4 years at mine.  Came at age 13, no work available at first, nothing to do, went to school for awhile, musician (came with a musical background), played in band (Music was his salvation).

  • Biamonte Family; Tony Biamonte is his nephew (son of his oldest brother)- media celebrity1st Italians to be established in Edmonton were the Biamonte family.  Another brother, also a musician, had a large 85 member band - Sergio(?) Biamonte

  • First job, hard labor $3.20/day only 1 water boy for railroad on Coal Branch - CNR - From Edson to Alaska 25 cents/hour;

  • Another brother, Napoleon also came - cut lumber on farm. After 4 years wanted to go back to Italy, someone convinced him to go to barber school; started barbershop on Jasper Avenue 1930; depression; people wanted haircuts on credit. (too difficult to understand garbled sound)1925 Came to Edmonton? (I guess after Coal Branch days) talked about Colbertaldo, Losa

  • Italian Society 1932? Christoforo Columbo - social gatherings -lasted to mid 1940s

  • How he met wife

Interview continues with Mrs. Biamonte

  • Mrs. Biamonte born in Edmonton, father came to Canada in 1905 the first time. Her father settled in Naples, Alberta - an Italian community near Barrhead, 85 miles northwest of Edmonton   - nobody went back to Italy even though they talked about it, because they didn't earn enough money to go back. Had no church there, held mass in school. Went with mother & brothers to Naples [Alberta] when father returned to Italy to get them. Discusses pioneer days, hard work. Cut down stumps to make Jasper Avenue. Father & his brother worked so hard, died young at age 65. New immigrants don't realize how hard the pioneers worked.

  • Poor pay - Mrs. Biamonte discusses early farm life in Naples; had fun in spite of hardships. Everybody got together - her mother said those were the best times of her life.  Got married 1936 after moving back to Edmonton and meeting Louis.

Interview continues once more with Louis Biamonte :

  • Relationship between Italians and non-Italians was good. Traveled to Naples to play with his band once a month. Special camaraderie felt with countrymen.

  • Happy that he came to Canada? Only thing he regrets is the weather - winter always bothered him. Wonderful country.  A person can earn enough to go on Hawaiian vacations.

  • Politics - Mr. Aberhardt & Mr. Manning had contact with them - band played for Social Credit gatherings; came into barbershop- thought it was an honest government. Would never have been approached in Italy, him being a barber, by someone important in politics.


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