A Bilingual Life: Interview with Dario (The Sicilian Wanderer)
Welcome to another episode of A Bilingual Life.
Today we’ll speak to Dario Cascio, also known as The Sicilian Wanderer. His nickname says it all, Sicilian heart, but global experience. Dario is a localisation expert that has never really left his land… even if he doesn’t live there anymore.
Dario, can you tell us a bit about your story? From Sicily to Ireland. When did your journey begin and how did you end up where you are today?
Hi, Giulia! First of all, let me thank you for offering me this space.
My journey started in the summer of 2009. All I had was a suitcase with some clothes in it, my Xbox 360, and a couple of video games, including Fight Night Round 4, one of my absolute favourites.
This was all I had, as well as a one-way ticket to Canada.
This experience introduced me to the world of localisation and video games, and above all it allowed me to spend two unforgettable years in a city that I consider among the most beautiful in the world, Montreal.
Whilst there, I worked on titles such as BioShock 2, James Cameron’s Avatar, and Mafia 2, and I met a lot of friends who I’m still in touch with, despite being far away from them and being busy.
I then moved to Hamburg, Germany, again to work in the gaming industry.
And finally, I arrived on an island that I’ve loved since the very beginning, Ireland.
In the winter of 2012, Dublin welcomed me at the airport with a huge green sign saying, “Welcome Home”. And home is what it certainly became.
I had amazing work experiences in Dun Laoghaire, Galway, and finally Cork, both as a vendor and as a client, but they also gave me the opportunity to call this island home too, as much as my beloved Sicily.
How did languages first come into your life and what role do they play now?
When I was growing up, I wanted to move to Sydney, where my uncle lived. I was off by around 16,019 km though, that‘s the distance between Montreal and Sydney!
I think knowing foreign languages is crucial to exploring and learning from others. Communicating in different languages allows us to greatly expand our horizons, enrich our life with elements that were unknown before, and get to know and understand others and their culture in depth.
So, you end up absorbing everything and deeply changing your soul, going beyond your preconceptions and biases.
There’s nothing more necessary and poetic than a language.
On your social profiles we often see your lovely family. What language(s) do you speak at home?
There are hundreds of different approaches and schools of thought on this subject.
We’ve decided to do it like this, I always spoke English to our children, while my wife talks to them in Italian. This is what we did until the beginning of primary school.
Once our children were at school, they were immersed in a completely English-speaking context, so we changed strategy; now we speak Sicilian or Italian at home so they can be in contact with both languages.
On YouTube and Instagram you share fun facts and itineraries from Sicily and Ireland. How did the idea of these pages come to you? What do you wish to convey?
I’ve had a YouTube channel for around 16 years. At the beginning, I uploaded videos of my music bands, but after that I abandoned the channel for over 10 years.
During the COVID lockdown, I felt the urge, like many other people, to find a way to let off steam and express myself again. For many years, I wrote music and texts and created videos, but then I completely closed the door to any creative project to make room for my job.
The inspiration came from my brother, who posted a video where he recited an old Sicilian nursery rhyme, U Re Bafè, in a wonderful way.
I was in Torretta Granitola in Sicily with my camera and Mac, so I decided to shoot, edit and post my first video, under the name The Sicilian Wanderer, thus breathing life back into my channel.
I’ve produced more than 300 videos since then, three documentaries, a lot of Shorts, and in particular the series Sessanta SeCunti, 60-second videos about Sicilian facts.
Be creative, always!
Protecting dialects and minority languages, like Sicilian, is a sort of battle of yours. What do you think we can do to protect this heritage?
Protecting, transmitting, and defending a language is a duty, not a hobby.
Today, we have a lot of different ways to allow a language to survive and rise back up, from videos to Shorts and from audiobooks to podcasts.
The digital format not only allows us to transmit a language, but also to listen to it, while discovering different accents and unique vocabulary specific to an area. Traditional books are not really able to offer this kind of experience.
I believe that instead of focusing on the few people who still speak endangered languages, we should concentrate on how we can create huge databases that can be easily used by those who want to learn those languages in the future.
We should broaden our horizons and introduce innovation instead of looking at numbers without searching for effective solutions.
One last question, would you ever go back to live in Sicily if you had the opportunity?
I’ll go back there.
I’ll definitely go back, sooner or later.