Hi everyone! I am so enjoying being able to converse with all of you; and even though most of us have never met face to face, we are joined together by the admiration we share for our three wonderful young men, Gianluca, Piero, and Ignazio. We are all riding along with them, as passengers, on an incredible journey. We may not, as yet, know the destination, but we are here with them, enjoying both a scenic and eventful ride. As I said, we don’t know each other very well, so I thought that I might take this opportunity to tell you a little about myself, and hope for the best. If you haven’t guessed already, I am a W W W W W & H (who, what, when…) type person; you know, one of those who are, at times, referred to as “pains in the ______!” Neck, ladies! Neck! Affectionately, I hope! This can be either fortunate, or unfortunate, depending on your point of view. All I know is, it has saved me, several times, from saying or doing the wrong thing. However, my family has said, “mom, by the time you decide what color to paint a wall, we will have already moved, six months ago” and you’re still wondering. THEY LOVE ME, I know they do! After all, what’s not to love, right? Is there something wrong in asking questions, and considering outcomes? That’s just the way I was made. I’ve wondered why I wasn’t blessed with good looks, and a terrific voice instead, but I guess those qualities were being saved for some special ones, yet to be; and be utilized in a very profound way. Drat! Well, getting back to understanding me, and the way I was built; it is not unusual for me to begin conversations with myself regarding…….who knows what! This type of thing usually happens as soon as my head plops down on the pillows. Humm, maybeI need new pillows? Here’s an example.
One night, after my nighttime check on our guys, I started thinking about the comments I read, and how there was one word that is constantly repeated. That word is SMILE. Of course, that was all it took for me to start questioning. What is a smile, really? Can it be defined? Where does it come from?
I poured my cup of coffee, and picked up a dictionary. It defined, SMILE, as: making the corners of the mouth turn up. Factual, but not what I was looking for. I decided, instead, to look for related words. Sounds like me, right? The words that came to mind, were first,…EXPRESSION: a look that shows how one is feeling, or thinking. ie, a smile, as in an expression of joy, or a frown as displeasure or opposition. Yeah, we’ve seen some of those recently. Next, EMOTION: any particular feeling, such as love, hate, anger or fear. HEART: thought of as the part of the body that feels. And lastly, get this, SOUL: the part of ones “BEING”, that is thought of as being the center of feeling, SEPARATE FROM THE BODY. Ah, that’s more like it; but simply reciting these words, in this order, doesn’t really say a lot. Then I thought about something I had heard, a long time ago: If you’ll take the time to look at things in a different way, you may find that what you see, looks way different than you saw it before. So, I decided to reverse the order of the words to read; from SOUL, to HEART, to EMOTION, to EXPRESSION, to WHAT? A SMILE? and there it was! Exactly what I was looking for. For me, it definitely was saying that, a smile is not just muscles flexing on our face, nor is it something that we can consciously cause to appear. I now, tend to believe that it begins in our soul, our inner self, based on it’s own sense of well being. It responds first, and that response (feeling) then flows through our body in this progression, until it ultimately manifests itself on our face. WE, don’t have any control over this outward “thing” that occurs. You could say, that our face is the display panel for, or the visible picture of how our soul is reacting to the moment. WE, have labeled this facial gesture as smiling, or what we call a smile. I know, I know, but for me, my inquiry had been satisfied. Keep in mind though, that this was just my interpretation. You certainly, may have your own understanding.
We are all aware, however, that this smile, when shared, tends to have the ability to completely alter things. You, personally, might be able to recall some little incident where you’ve had a sudden change of heart, that possibly was brought about by the presence of a smile. I can think of several, especially where children are involved; I call them “give ins”. Here though, is a lovely quote that I like very much. Unfortunately, the writer is unknown, but obviously had to be someone with total awareness as to a smile’s worth. ” A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive it, without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor, that he cannot be made rich by it. Yet, a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone, until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much, as he who has no more to give.”
I found some old songs, entirely dedicated to this subject. They speak of that same awareness of the influence that a smile often plays in our lives; whether it be, again, for us personally; or for someone to which it has been given. Strangely enough, I had to go back a very long way to find any. Odd, but then that’s a whole different study. Anyway, do you remember these?
JUDY GARLAND age 14 “SMILES”
IF YOU JUST STOP TO THINK, HERE’S A LESSON FOR YOU, WHAT A WORD OR A SMILE CAN CONVEY. WITH A WORD YOU CAN MAKE SOMEONE HAPPY OR BLUE, WITH A SMILE,MAKE THEM SAD OR GAY. SO,BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY, AND BE CAREFUL HOW YOU SMILE, IT’S SO EASY FOR US,TO MAKE SOMEONES LIFE WORTHWHILE.
THERE ARE SMILES,THAT MAKE US HAPPY, THERE ARE SMILES, THAT MAKE US BLUE, THERE ARE SMILES,THAT STEAL AWAY THE TEARDROPS, LIKE THE SUNBEAMS STEAL AWAY THE DEW. THERE ARE SMILES, THAT HAVE A TENDER MEANING, THAT THE EYES OF LOVE ALONE CAN SEE, BUT THE SMILES THAT FILL MY LIFE WITH SUNSHINE, ARE THE SMILES THAT YOU GAVE TO ME.
DORIS DAY 1964 “WITH A SMILE AND A SONG.
DON’T LET LITTLE WORRIES GRIEVE YOU, IF YOU WEAR A SMILE, YOU’LL DISCOVER THAT THEY’LL LEAVE YOU, IN A LITTLE WHILE. DON’T LET LITTLE CLOUDS UPSET YOU, START RIGHT IN TO SING, DON’T LET LITTLE SHOWERS FRET YOU, THEY DON’T MEAN A THING.
WITH A SMILE AND A SONG, LIFE IS JUST LIKE A BRIGHT SUNNY DAY, YOUR CARES FADE AWAY, AND YOUR HEART IS YOUNG. WITH A SMILE AND A SONG, ALL THE WORLD SEEMS TO WAKEN ANEW, REJOICING WITH YOU, AS THE SONG IS SUNG.
THERE’S NO USE IN GRUMBLING, WHEN RAINDROPS COME TUMBLING, REMEMBER YOU’RE THE ONE, WHO CAN FILL THE WORLD WITH SUNSHINE.
WHEN YOU SMILE AND YOU SING, EVERYTHING IS IN TUNE, AND IT’S SPRING, AND LIFE FLOWS ALONG, WITH A SMILE AND A SONG.
Now, here we are, back to today; listening to a trio of young men singing their beautiful songs in a way that only they can; and what was one of the early ones they chose? Yep, Charlie Chaplin’s, “SMILE.” Yes, it did make us smile, and even shed a few tears of remembrance. Their choosing of an old song like this one, their desire to reintroduce it to this generation, as well as to our memory; somehow feels to me that maybe we’re coming full circle. For joy, for joy!
Earlier, I mentioned reading comments, I always like to see what people have to share. Here are a couple that have stayed close to my heart. One woman wrote: I love Il Volo very much, but I have to be careful about outwardly letting anyone here know. They will think me crazy, and spread rumors; so I take my tablet with me when I go to bed, pull the covers over my head to hide the light, and I listen to their songs as quietly as I can. I look at all the pictures, and follow them wherever they go. They make me smile. ANOTHER WROTE: I’ll always vote for Il Volo, because they are so deserving. My 93 year old Italian mama has Alzheimer’s. She doesn’t remember much anymore, and she seems to get worse everyday; every night, I pull up You Tube and play O SOLE MIO,that the boys sing so beautifully. She sings along, and she smiles. Thank you, Il Volo. Well, that pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? What more could you hope for, than to be someones reason to smile. For millions, and millions yet to come, our young singers have become that reason. Personally, I’m very content with taking this closer look at all the different aspects regarding the how’s and why’s of this little word; actually, a very big and important word, that should never stop appearing. You know what? I think we’ve been pretty darn accurate, when we describe Il Volo’s music as coming “straight from their souls.” It is just so natural, and free, but at the same time, so intense! Little did we know, or did we? So, the next time that smile comes to light up your face, or anyone else’s, take notice; your SOUL, your “inner self”, or theirs, is wonderfully expressing it’s joy….by way of a …..SMILE.
Gianluca, Piero, and Ignazio, you are loved for oh, so many reasons; and You Are “Love”, in every kind sense of that WORD. Today, I/we hope you know that:
WHEN YOU’RE SINGING, WHEN YOU’RE SINGING, THE WHOLE WORLD SINGS WITH YOU. WHEN YOU’RE SMILING, WHEN YOU’RE SMILING, THEN WE’LL BE SMILING,TOO. AND IF YOU’RE HURTING, OR JUST FEELING BLUE, PLEASE KNOW WE’RE PRAYING, FOR COMFORT FOR YOU, SO YOU’LL KEEP SINGING, AND YOU’LL KEEP SMILING, WHILE WE KEEP STANDING NEXT TO YOU.
Preface: Ok, let’s start with giving a little credit, where credit is due. As you know, I am not Italian! Lol! I was able to buy two dictionaries at my local Barnes & Noble. I was glad I was able to see them in person and not just order them off the internet, as I had to look through quite a few of them to decide what would be the best. Both dictionaries are by Collins. The first one is: Collins Beginner’s Italian Dictionary, more than 84,000 entries. 2nd edition 2008. The second one is: Collins Italian Concise Dictionary 5th Edition, in Color. 2nd edition 2010. (even though the title says “5th” edition.) The third book I was able to see it in the store before I purchased it online, as it was a bit cheaper. I have the B&N member discount… was Easy Italian, Step-by-Step; by McGraw Hill. Both the dictionaries have special sections for concentrated categories, even shorthand for texting, etc. The McGraw Hill book is more like a real textbook, something you might use if you took a “live” class somewhere in school.
Ok, now on to the lessons….
Your first lesson will be hosted by Ignazio!
Buongiorno – Hello class! Today, we will start with basics. We start with the vowels and how they are pronounced. Ok…
a – sounds like “ah” – like in Ignazio and Ancora
e – has 2 sounds
Like a long “a” – as in Grande and Te
Like “eh” – as in Amore and Credo
i – sounds like “ee” – as in Piero and Bambino
o – has 2 sounds
Almost like an “au-o” sound – as in Come and Sole
Like a regular “o” sound – as in Boschetto and Volo (smile)
u – sounds like “oo” – as in Gianluca and Unico
Ok, now for the consonants. I will only go over those that are different from English.
c – has 2 sounds
Like a “k”, before a, o, u, or any consonant – as in Ercole and Gianluca
Like a “ch”, before i or e – as in Ciao and Cercano (from Romantica)
ch – sounds like “k” before i or e – as in Boschetto and Chi
g – has 2 sounds
Like English “g” before a, o, u and any consonant – as in Grande and Frega
Like a soft “g” before e or i – as in Gianluca and Gelato “we get gelato after class, yes?”
gh – is a hard “g” sound before e or i – as in Spaghetti and Funghi
h – initial “h” is always silent, as in honor – as in Ha and Ho
q – sounds like “k” or English “queen” – as in Quello and Questa
r – “r” is trilled…- no real English equivalent – will take practice – as in Roma and Piero
s – has 2 sounds
Usually like regular English “s” – as in Respiro and Boschetto
If between 2 vowels, sounds like a “z” – as in Cose (from Canzone Per Te) and Chiusa (from Ancora)
t – the “t” sounds like t, however, it is a “soft” t sound, where your tongue is more where your two front teeth, meet your gums. If you listen closely, you will hear it. It’s not a sharp “t” sound. You can hear it mostly with “me!” (Ignazio’s pronunciations…)
Now for sounds that are just in Italian…
The letters “g” and “l” together sound like a double “l” sound as in the English million. There are several versions and are usually, but not always, at the end of a word:
gli – as in orgoglio (from Canzone Per Te)
glie – as in sceglierai (from Grande Amore)
glia – as in voglia (from Ancora)
glio – as in voglio (from Canzone Per Te)
The letters “gn” – sound like “ny” as in English canyon – or as in Ignazio (smile)
The letters “sc” before e or i – sound like English “sh” sound – as in Nasce (from Grande Amore)
The letters “sch” sound like English school “k” – as in Pesche
Class, for part 2 of your first lesson, I leave you with a video of “us” teaching a little Italian to Min. This video is from a few years ago. Listen to the pronunciations of our names and other words. Listen for the consonants…
For your next lesson, we will go over some verbs and new vocabulary.
Here is my unprofessional, unknowledgeable review of how Il Volo works:
(Don’t look Myron!)First, Gianluca opens a song, any song, and lulls you in with his beautiful baritone. That old, smooth, romantic soul sets you up to grab the nearest person and kiss them on the neck (if you live alone a kiss on your dogs nose kinda works). By-the-way, He’s the best singer of the three.
Now, here comes Piero. Even this novice can hear those open vowels and those long notes that come out of that young man. I am in awe! You have to just freeze in place to assure yourself that you won’t miss a single one of those incredible vowels! By-the-way, He’s the best singer of the three.
Then BOOM Ignazio! That high energy, edgy tenor pops in as a surprise and not only raises the pitch, but pulls you right off the ground! Heart pounding! And Jeanine, his grunts and growls are back! Boy is going all jazzy lately too. By-the-way, He is…well…you know.
Then all three come together and OMG it’s life changing! (Can you see how slyly they brought you to this point?) Personally, it takes me to a place where I don’t know if I can take anymore, but wouldn’t stop listening if my heart burst or my ears fell off! I just figure that it’s as close to heaven as some of us are gonna get. By-the-way, They are the best Cantanti in the world!
I may not be able to fold a fitted sheet after all these years of trying or pull out just one baggie from the box without stuffing three back in, and I sure don’t know music like Myron, but I know what I like… THESE GUYS!!
(Myron, I told you not to look and stop rolling your eyes!)
Come in and share the love of life, friends and Il Volo!