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My Italian Heritage

My Maternal Great Grandmother Francesca Rossetti was related to Dante Gabriel Rossetti (the Pre-Raphaelite painter) and his sister Christina Rossetti the poetess. He was fighting Garibaldi at the time and the government of Italy threw him and his family out. They migrated to England and Dante married an English girl who was the subject of MOST of his paintings. I feel like my musical ability comes from this part of the family and many of my relatives are artists and musicians continuing up to the present day.


My Aunt Alma Fontana has been with the Barker Playhouse, the oldest continuously operating theater in the country, since 1960. Mrs. Fontana has acted, sung and directed at the Playhouse in addition to being the President of the Players and is President Emerita for life. My Aunt is an accomplished oil and watercolorist and belongs to the Providence Art Club where she has held many exhibitions.

My Great Aunt Elizabeth Cappelli is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design. She excelled in portrait painting and became a renowned Rhode Island Artist.

My Grandfather Louis Vincent Jackvony Sr. was Attorney General of the State of Rhode Island from 1938 -1940. He was one of the Charter members of the Aurora Club, which was started by Italian-American men because they were not accepted into the college hill clubs. Now women are beneficiaries of what my Grandfather originated. All peoples are welcomed into the Aurora.


A Word from Shoshana

I consider my voice to be my “main” instrument although I have studied classical piano since the age of eight. I am a composer and have written over a hundred original pieces. My love for music comes from a
long line of family history on both my father and mother’s side. I am proud of both my Jewish and Italian heritage. My Father’s family came from Odessa in Ukraine, a hub for artists' in the eighteen and nineteen hundreds. My Father studied violin and trumpet and his cousin, Porky Cohen, was the renowned trombonist for Roomful of Blues. My Mother’s Italian family history comprised of many musicians artists and composers. The artistic strain came from my Great Grandmother, Francesca Rossetti Zambarano who was related (cousin to) Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the Pre-Rapahaelite artist and his sister, Christina Rossetti, the poetess. During the time in Italian history when Garibaldi was trying to unite Italy, the “crazy” Rosetti’s were blowing up railroad tracts in the North. The Italian government did not appreciate this and the Rossetti’s were exiled to England where Dante married an English girl who was the object of many of his paintings. My Great Aunt Elizabeth Cappelli graduated from RISD in the 1920s and became a fashion designer for Gladdings, then the finest department store in Providence. An accomplished artist especially known for her portraits, she was an exhibiting member of the Providence Art Club for many years.