Slowly we arrived at the last two concerts in July:
July 26: OSTUNI The beautiful square of the Apulian town was waiting for Il Volo and welcomed them with great warmth.
ALL BY MYSELF
At the beginning of the video, Piero sees a woman holding a sign and tells Gianluca.
PIERO = Read, read what is written.
GIAN = (he reads) I have a (loving) relationship with Piero Barone but nobody knows, not even him.
PIERO = Me neither! (laughs)
GIAN = A platonic love.
PIERO = (He reads another sign) I am from Finland and I love you. We love you too, how do you say I love you in Finnish?
GIAN= (Reads another sign) I have a dream in my heart, singing with Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero Barone. Why did you write the surname to Piero and not us (him and Ignazio)? Ah, to rhyme, I didn’t get there !!
Then Piero talks about how they met and introduces Ignazio.
IL MONDO and SE TELEFONANDO
29 July, AGRIGENTO, the beautiful Valley of the Temples. It goes without saying that Agrigento is the province where Piero lives and therefore there was a lot of emotion and participation.
Here is Piero’s message before the concert.
I am excited for the concert in the Valley of the Temples.
I have been spending my holidays in San Leone for years and I love jogging here.
It’s great to see people stop me and tell me: “We got tickets. Piè (Piero, abbreviated), for the concert.” It fills me with pride.
This video was made by AGRIGENTO TODAY is a nice summary and I will translate the beautiful words of Piero.
GIAN = (He says to Piero) You are at home tonight.
PIERO = We are home. Sorry, but tell me something, but in Roseto, where you live, do you receive such a welcome? Let me understand! (applause).
GIAN = (On the nearby promontory you can see the ruins of a Greek temple. Gian points to the temple and says): What house, is that your house?
PIERO = From here you can see my bedroom, up there, see the one there.
(Then Piero turns to the audience).
Before I took the stage, I looked at you, and I thought: I have never taken for granted such great affection, such great love, from my fellow countrymen. Thank you! ❤ (applause).
I am, we are three extremely privileged guys, all thanks to you, for these 13 years of journey we have done together (applause).
Tonight we will sing the songs they have ….. (he sees Ignazio) but what happened? What are you doing back there? You speak, you do not speak, good evening …
IGNAZIO = No, I was looking at what seems to be in the Po Valley, you can’t see anything(Pianura Padana is the Italian plain in the north, Ignazio means that the expanse of people is as big as the Po Valley, moreover there is it is often fog and nothing is seen and the effect of the stage lights does not show anything to the singers).
PIERO = But in fact, turn off this talcum powder (type of diffused light), there are the ancient temples behind. Ignazio, why don’t you speak? Let me understand!
IGNAZIO = I was thinking about something, if that’s your room (part of the temple), did you save on the fixtures? (Laughter)😁
GIAN = Think in the winter that the air is blowing!
IGNAZIO = In summer everything is fine, but in winter, you die of cold!
GIAN = Then you don’t sing if you get a sore throat.
PIERO = (he turns to Ignazio) Do you want to introduce? Are not you happy? I understand that we are not in Marsala, (Ignazio’s city), today we sing in Agrigento ….. (someone from the audience throws a small red pillow at Piero) thank goodness they are cushions but they are red like tomatoes …. ( then Piero reads on the pillow) … ah I LOVE YOU !! , thank you honey, thank you my love, hello joy.
……….. we said that tonight we will sing the songs ………..
IGNAZIO = And then I’m sorry, I think this is also the concept that we two (him and Piero) give, that it doesn’t matter Agrigento, Marsala, Catania, it’s all Sicily. (applause) These are things that an Abruzzese does not understand !!😁
GIAN = I understand everything, I can speak in Sicilian with you (Gianluca pronounces all this in Sicilian) (applause)
IGNAZIO = But I was saying an Abruzzese, not you Gianluca.
GIAN = Shut up, don’t speak (Gianluca pronounces this again in Sicilian and then turns to the audience) Do you understand? huh !! (and gestures with his hand towards his ear which means that he is saying the Sicilian pronunciation well)
IGNAZIO = May I?
GIAN = You can, of course. I don’t mean to be rude.
IGNAZIO = A Sicilian would never have said YOU CAN, ever! If you don’t talk, you don’t have to talk.
GIAN = Go, I won’t interrupt you anymore, Mr. Boschetto.
IGNAZIO = But I have nothing to say …
PIERO = Tonight we will sing the songs that are part of our artistic path. We will also sing some songs that are part of our latest recording project, where we decided to dedicate an entire album to a great teacher, a great composer, maestro Ennio Morricone. (applause)
Sicilian friends also made pizza in honor of IL VOLO 😁
HERE’S TO YOU – L’AMORE SI MUOVE – MUSICA CHE RESTA
ECSTASY OF GOLD
Many beautiful articles in Sicilian newspapers, but among all I chose this one and I translate it for you:
I am referring to the concert last night in the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento by the trio “Il Volo”. Why with my friends? Because they were there, among that public in delirium for these guys who embody, at least for those of our generation, the best you can have: beauty, professionalism, Sicilianity.
For personal reasons I could not participate, but it seems interesting to tell you their impressions, which I fully share, since more than once I have also had the pleasure of being there. The most celebrated was Piero Barone, and the community of Naro, massively present to support that boy who grew up “on hard bread and milk” and today at the top of international fame. Yes, because even if our children wrinkle their noses, we, these kids, we love them viscerally. Because after having done so much apprenticeship, they have touched the sky. And last night, the illuminated Temples served as a worthy backdrop to their exhibition.
“Magic and familiarity.” – says Maria Luisa. Two components that accompany any of their performances, but above all the concerts in Sicily, in which we hear them tell episodes of their childhood, we listen to their dialectal expressions, we feel them deeply rooted in our island reality, so colorful and colorful, so proud of their success.
“The word Agrigento unleashed a riot of festive screams,” Luisa tells me while now, Paola and Giuseppina tell me that it seemed to be in the family, for the confidential and empathic relationship they have created with the public. “It was a hymn to the beauty and harmony of Sicily – continues Luisa – happy people, families celebrating.”
Well, after having seen the recent film “Elvis” and previously “Bohemian Rhapsody”, with the inevitable pitfalls that the entertainment world inevitably manifests, I must say that these three guys, who are also in the hands of a great manager like Michele Torpedine , they do not show anything artificial in their interpersonal relationship.“ They are authentically friends and brothers“- says Dina and, after years of international tours and sensational successes, they remain the three Sicilian guys we have always known. Their solid family roots, always remarked by them with pride, I hope they keep them away from the bad sirens that almost always dominate the entertainment world.
And finally, thanks to my friends for their cooperation!
It was undoubtedly a concert full of emotion, but there is still an appointment for Il Volo and it is not part of the tour, Il Volo will open the MAGNA GRECIA Film Festival in Catanzaro, on July 30th.
Here they are on the red carpet!!
They sang only three songs, Ecstasy of Gold, Grande Amore and Nessun Dorma, greeted by warm applause, and even if the songs were only three, the people of Catanzaro enjoyed the articles in the newspapers the next day very much and full of beautiful words.
But look at the professionalism of our treasures, during Grande Amore, Piero’s microphone no longer works and, without any problem, Ignazio approaches Piero and offers him his microphone, Gianluca understands the situation and is close to the other two to make it seem that the song should be sung by all three neighbors. A second microphone arrives for Piero, but this too does not work, and the three of them go on without any problem and finish their performance. Really great !!!
During the Magna Grecia Film Festival, Michele Torpedine was awarded the Golden Column.
But also Il Volo was awarded with the Golden Column and it is the same goldsmith who made the prize to go up to deliver it. On his Facebook page Michele Affidato (goldsmith) writes this comment:
“On our journey we meet many people … with some a true friendship is born. Thanks to Michele Torpedine and the Trio il Volo for their presence at the Magna Graecia Film Festival.”
As they receive the award, the speaker says these words: “To Il Volo, which makes us proud in the world with bel canto.”
Il Volo is also rewarded with the Vela del Successo.
Some moments of the beautiful evening.
Beautiful events awaited our three golden boys at the end of July, but there is no time to rest, just one day at home to pack your bags, and then, off you go, Japan is waiting for you.
Have a good trip, come back soon !!
On March 19, at the Pirandello Theater in Agrigento, an event in favor of peace in Ukraine was held. It was called, SICILY FOR PEACE.
Piero Barone took part in this event.
The event was organized by Silvio Schembri, (journalist) and Lello Analfino (singer and producer), both friends of Piero.
When Piero was proposed to participate, he wasn’t sure if he would be in Sicily on those days, but then when he was sure he could be there, he surprised everyone by attending the event.
The video begins with Silvio Schembri coming down from the stage and arriving where Piero Barone is seated.
Silvio makes Piero get up and the people, recognizing him, applaud, then Silvio, imitating the voice of a woman who says:
“Did you see, I told you it was him,”😁😁
and then presents: “PIERO BARONE, there is no need for an introduction.”(applause)
Come with me. (Piero takes off his jacket) Make yourself comfortable.
PIERO: Tonight, I am really happy, honored, to be attending this event. I was fascinated by the Pirandello Theater, because I had never been inside the Pirandello Theater.
SILVIO: This is news that I discovered today, Piero Barone who sang on the most important stages in the world ……
MAN: You went directly to the Ariston (Sanremo stage) without going through the Pirandello Theater, we can say.
PIERO: I realized that it is something that I should have done for some time, because today I arrived 100 meters from the theater and I asked a woman for information:
“Madam, where is the Pirandello Theater?” and she replied:
“You are not Sicilian.”(laughter)😁
“Yes, but unfortunately I don’t know where it is.”
SILVIO: There was never an opportunity, but who knows, maybe this is the first of a long series of occasions.
(on the stairs of the stage)
And here we are, moreover you tour New York, Las Vegas, all parts of the world, but always in Naro, then you come back.
VOICE: (from the audience) Bravo, Naro in the heart !!❤
PIERO: A little while ago I was saying, while I was doing the interview with Silvio…. (There is the overview of the theater, but the interview returns in the backstage)
MAN: The truth is that you like Agrigento so much, when you can live it, we have seen you around, on the seafront, at the tennis club, in short, when you want, Agrigento is your life.
PIERO: Agrigento makes you feel protected, it is a fantastic city. I was born in this magnificent province, I was born in Naro, but I often frequent Agrigento in the summer, I bring all my friends and collaborators to Sicily, I make them all arrive.
(continues on the stairs)
In the city of Agrigento, I don’t know many people, because I frequented it (Agrigento) for the choir of S. Cecilia (as a child, before participating in Ti Lascio una Canzone), when I was a beginner, with Professor Bonfiglio, I spent my childhood there.
SILVIO: Then at 14 you decided to become famous … right? (laughter)😁
PIERO: But I spend my holidays in San Leone (a seaside resort near Agrigento), it’s great, I take all my friends, my colleagues, I don’t go anywhere, they arrive here in Sicily …
SILVIO: Every now and then you also come to Siculiana Marina … (another seaside resort of Agrigento) 😁
PIERO: Because the best thing is to feel yourself. Today I called Silvio, but not only for this event, but also to ask him where we are going tomorrow, because the first phone call I make when I come to Sicily is to call Silvio Schembri (Silvio gives him a kiss …. applause and laughter)
SILVIO: Because he knows that I always take him to eat well, that you understand!! 😁
PIERO: Two weeks ago, Lello (organizer of the event) sent me a message, and I was far away (he was in the US), and I didn’t know what to answer, I would have said yes right away, but I don’t want to give a word, and then invent an excuse if I have a sudden commitment, because unfortunately I am here physically almost never, and now I am overjoyed to give my contribution. I don’t sing, without my colleagues (Gian and Ignazio), for various reasons, so today I called Ignazio and Gianluca and I told them:
“Any video you will see from tomorrow on the internet, don’t worry, I’ll sing in a theater, don’t worry”, and I’ll sing, we call it a song…. I want to sing a prayer, because everyone can come here and sing any song, but for an evening like this, I want to sing something special, an Ave Maria (Hail Mary) and it’s the only one way, for my part, to express my closeness, in such a complex and particular moment. (applause)❤
(The Ave Maria begins.)
MAN: Thanks to both of you, thanks to Silvio Schembri, thanks to Piero Barone, for what you are giving this evening to the Pirandello Theater, for the solidarity operation you are carrying out and which is not the first time, I also remember when the pandemic broke out, you took an important step.
SILVIO: With the help of many people who are also here, like Lello Analfino and Piero, in the midst of the pandemic, in the first wave, we immediately activated, with many other friends, to find funds.
PIERO: The idea was born during our phone calls: “Oh Silvio, what do we do?”
SILVIO: At the beginning of the pandemic our talks were about how to cook bread and pizzas, then we said: “But what can we do? Are we doing something concrete?”
Thanks to all of you.
(video resumes on stage)
LELLO: Piero Barone (hug) You are my nephews. ❤❤
And here is the full video of Piero’s entire performance, published by the Pirandello Theater.
SILVIO: I’ve dreamed of it for a lifetime (to introduce Piero) and tonight I have to do it myself: On the piano Maestro Salvatore Galante(applause), sings Piero Barone. (Applause – the Ave Maria begins, at the end, long applause, Lello Analfino enters, very excited, long hugs)
LELLO: You are like my nephews.
SILVIO: Yes, uncle, leave us some money later. (laughter)😁(To Piero) We talked about it before, now the concerts start again, the travels, the theaters full …..
PIERO: Yes, we start again on June 2nd after two years, in Italy, we start from the Verona Arena, we will also sing in Taormina, June 11th and 12th and maybe …..
SILVIO: .…. also, in other parts of Sicily, so to speak. Taormina is a fixed stop for Il Volo, as if it were a tradition …
PIERO: He is happy, because when he comes to Taormina, then we go to the disco.
LELLO: I know, he (Silvio) tells me crazy things.
PIERO: The last photo of the concert in Taormina ….
SILVIO: Be careful what you say there are so many secrets …
PIERO: …… it is not a photo of Il Volo on the stage singing, with Etna behind and the sea, but it is a photo of Silvio Schembri in the disco, without a shirt ….😁😁
LELLO: But did you have a bow tie?
SILVIO: I’ll explain why. We were in this disco, after the Il Volo concert, and all the girls were saying: “a photo”, Piero lifts his shirt and shows his abs and I thought, I can do this too …. and then I said: “Come here a second and I too will take off my shirt and take the picture, and the (the girls) came”😁
But one of the most beautiful things in Taormina, we tell this and then we let you go, it is a fixed stop, when I can, I always go there, and one of the fixed stops when Il Volo sings in Taormina, is Saretto al Bambar where we eat granite there in Taormina.
And when Il Volo arrives in Taormina, you can’t imagine what’s there, it’s all full, with their fans who come from all over the world, you hear them speak in all languages, and go inside the Bambar to get the slushes, with all these people, it’s packed, and so I pull away for a moment and put myself behind to let the fans get closer.
I put myself in a trajectory between Il Volo and two elderly people who were there eating the granita…. (while he talks he sees a woman in the audience laughing) “You already know this story madam? Already laughing?”😁
At one point the man stops eating and calls the waiter and asks: “Excuse me, this whole brothel (crowd of people)”
“You know, there are those from Il Volo.”
This man turns around and the first person he sees is me, he turns around and says to his wife: “How much has this become of Il Volo?”(he means: how much fat has this of Il Volo become)😁
I swear to you! 😁😁😁 It’s a true story !!
LELLO: And don’t you know that since Silvio goes to Bambar, they have made seafood granita😁
SILVIO: Piero, I don’t know what to say, thank you, thank you in my name and in everyone’s name.
It was a really good event and for a good cause.
In these days, Il Volo was live on a pop program of a Korean radio show. I saw them live and it was very strange, because that radio transmits very different music from the one Il Volo sings, but it was beautiful and also appreciated by the young presenter.
Here is the video of Il Volo’s participation.
Concert dates continue to be added here in Europe and also in Italy and it is with great joy that the date of BRESCIA has also been added. I couldn’t believe it, and the news came from OHIO (thanks Rose Marie). The concert will take place on September 2nd outdoors in the beautiful Piazza Loggia, the place where in 2015 I saw my first Il Volo concert.
I struggled a lot to get the tickets, something didn’t work in the presale, but in the end I made it, third row. I hope I can make some great videos for you, ideally I will take all of you with me!! It will be a great night.❤
Over the past week I have been thinking about where it all began for the guys. As you know, I have written excerpts from their story but, I thought it might be nice for some of the new fans to hear about where it all began for the guys. Three different stories but all with the same ending! This is the story of how they were discovered and of course their journey to Ti Lascio una Canzone.
Piero: The Beginning of the Journey
Most of you know that Piero was discovered by his grandfather. In the garden of his grandparents’ house there is a mulberry tree and hanging on that tree is an old-fashioned swing. Piero was swinging on that swing when his grandfather heard him sing for the first time! He was about four years old at the time. The following day Pietro had a recording made of Piero singing “Un Amore Così Grande.”
The evening of the recording would be the beginning of Piero’sjourney to stardom. As always, Piero’s entire family ate dinner together. The family consisted of his great grandmother, all the aunts, uncles and cousins who were like sisters and brothers to him. After dinner all the kids played soccer while the adults went outside to chat and enjoy the cool of the evening on the terrace. But this evening would be a little different because just one day earlier, Piero’s grandfather Pietro discovered that Piero had an amazing voice.
They had just finished dinner when *Pietro called his wife. “Rina, get the recorder.” Rina brought in the recorder and placed it in front of Pietro. The recorder was already prepared with the cassette that had the recording of Piero’s voice. Pietro turns to Piero’s dad and says, “Listen to this voice, Gaetano.” He pushes play and starts the recording of “Un Amore Così Grande.” Gaetano is amazed like he has just heard a good thing, and he says, “It’s beautiful, who is it daddy?” (He calls his father-in-law daddy.) Pietro says, “Piero.” Silence. Gaetano has a questioning looking on his face “How did Piero?” Pietro says, “So?”
On that night Piero’s life changed! His father did everything he could think of to start him on a musical journey. He wanted Piero to start the festivals but, he was too young. He needed to “put in a base” because the voice alone was not enough. Gaetano asked himself: “What must Piero start to do?” And the answer was: “Piero must start playing the piano”.
Piero began to study piano at the age of eight but, economically the family could not afford the costs of the lessons. So, Piero’s grandfather paid for everything, and not just from the material point of view. Stefano Tesè was Piero’s first piano teacher. The mother of Piero’s teacher lived on the floor below in his grandfather’s house and the master came to see his mother every Monday. Pietro made an agreement with Mr. Tesè to give Piero lessons every Monday at six o’clock.
Piero says, “The road was very short to my grandfather’s house, I could even go there alone, but here was the problem, to get there I had to face a dog that was going around in that neighborhood, that dog would approach and bark furiously. And I had a fear of dogs. Squeezed under my grandfather’s arm, he who being blind needed to be guided, I felt protected as behind a shield: when the dog approached, Pietro shouted: “Passa arrassu!” (fast pass), go away, and the dog went away.”
Piero confesses there was another problem, “Every Monday at six in the afternoon was a nightmare for me, because I did not like going to the piano lesson. Or rather, I liked it only when the lessons were good, when I could play, but at the beginning I was bored a lot with the hammers, solfeggios and all the things that you rightly have to learn to play the piano. Maestro Tesè was a tough guy and, I was always worried that he would scold me. After a while I started to understand how the piano worked and the lessons started to please me.”
The advice everyone gave Piero was that he should join the choir that met in the church of Santo Spirito in Agrigento. Originally Gaetano objected to this saying they would “break my sons voice,” but, eventually he came to the reality that this was the right thing to do. And so it was that Piero joined the Little Singers of the Philharmonic Association – Santa Cecilia of Agrigento.
And so it was that Piero started his classical musical education that would end at Ti Lascio Una Canzone.
Of the three, Piero is the only one who said, “…. if there is one thing I want to do in life, it is singing, living for and with music.”
The original story I wrote about Piero’s beginnings I called **The Mulberry Tree because Piero was swinging on a swing which hung from a mulberry tree in his grandfather garden. Around the time of this event, I was at home in New York busy writing a screenplay. The name screenplay was “The Mulberry Tree!”
Ignazio: The Beginning of the Journey
In this story, Ignazio leaves his friends and his school in Bologna and starts all over again in Marsala. He fought this move every step of the way but this move would bring him to the start of his journey to stardom!All the What if’s, come into play! What if the family didn’t return to Marsala? What if Caterina didn’t open the pizzeria? What if that customer didn’t hear Ignazio sing? What if Ignazio decided not to take singing lessons? Ignazio’s story begins shortly after his arrival in Marsala
In 2004 there was a great change for Ignazio’s family. Ignazio’s mom had regained her health and finally the family was financially stable so, they returned to Marsala.
Ignazio’s story of the building of the pizzeria was so inspiring that I called my original story, “A Slice of Pizza with Ignazio on the Side.”
During the first year they were back in Marsala, Ignazio’s mom had gone back and forth every day to the center of Marsala to be able to secure her great dream: to open a pizzeria of her own. In order to open the pizzeria, she needed to do certain things. First thing: she had to get the permits and all the bureaucratic things that she needed to do. Second thing: she used the ovens of friends and made pizzas. Ignazio said: “I remember it very well. She went from one oven to another and tried so many types of flour, she tried the dough, she tried so many types of mozzarellas so, when she finally opened the pizzeria, she already knew how to prepare the right dough. It is different to make pizza in Bologna than making it in Marsala, take the word of a son and brother of a pizza maker: it is different because it depends on the humidity, the temperature and the type of flour. It’s not a simple matter to make a really good pizza.”
While Caterina was preparing permits and trying different kinds of pizza, it was left for the men to build the pizzeria. With the savings Vito accumulated over the years he began the work on the pizzeria. He was now working in a company that built wooden structures and being an experienced bricklayer, the dream could be realized, and the pizzeria could be built in front of the house.
Ignazio said: “For a whole year, in every free moment, my father dedicated himself to building the pizzeria for my mother and I loved to help him, so much so that when there were a few days of school vacation, I went to work with him.”
Ignazio continues; “You will think that I tell you about the pizzeria under construction, but I am not a pizza maker. Of course, if there had not been the pizzeria, perhaps I would never have started singing seriously.
While the pizzeria grew, a passion grew within me. It was a passion for electronics and music. I had started to be part of the elementary school choir and my dad, who was more passionate about electronics than me, had bought me a mixer, a microphone and two speakers, with which we started doing the easiest thing that could be done with those instruments: karaoke.”
Finally, in 2005 the pizzeria was completed and, Caterina opened the Pizzeria dei Desideri.
Within a few months Caterina already had regular customers and since the pizzeria was right in front of the house, when Ignazio was singing at home, even the customers heard him. One day a gentleman said to Caterina, ‘You know, my daughter is studying singing, why don’t you come with your son once? Even just to try.”
Ignazio said: “Like everything else, we talked it over within my family and everyone was enthusiastic about it. It was decided, I would go and see what these singing lessona were like.
I remember it as if it were yesterday! I was eleven. I wore a yellow shirt with green stripes, fashion was never my strong point. Arianna, the daughter of the pizzeria customer, who had heard me sing, and her mother and I waited, in front of the school for more than twenty minutes for Liliana Andreanò, the singing teacher.
Lilliana Adreanò, arrived in a grey Opel Astra. She got out of the car and immediately entered the school.
I was worried, almost embarrassed. Hard to believe, right? Even as a child I’ve never been the type to be speechless.
Lilliana begins to talk about music, what kind of songs do I like to sing. It was already a strange thing because usually I just sang, no one asked me why and how. You know, Liliana, I said, I like to sing Giorgia’s songs.”
Lilliana said: “Strange for a kid to sing this kind of song.” She asked, “And which song of Giorgia would you like to make me listen to?” “Gocce Di Memoria (Drops of Memory),” I said. “I didn’t even have a doubt. I start singing and Liliana was amazed by my extension but asks me to try a male song too.”
Ignazio thought a little bit and then he said he sometimes sang Con Te Partirò by Andrea Bocelli. He started singing and, when he finished Liliana told him: “Ignazio, this is your musical direction”.
From that first lesson Ignazio began to study songs like “Il Mare Calmo Della Sera,” “Un Amore Così Grande” and all those that came to mind, and he liked it. The songs approached that genre that was not lyrical, it was modern music but with something classic.
Ignazio was very comfortable with Lilliana and they understood each other immediately because she was a sociable person, simple, as are all of Ignazio’s family.
After several lessons, Lilliana proposed that Ignazio take part in a competition organized in Paolini. Ignazio wasn’t completely convinced that he wanted to go on a stage. Until that moment he had only thought about singing, but he never seriously thought that all his singing one day could bring him into the spotlight. In short, he was afraid. Fear of making mistakes. Fear of not being able to face the stage, but just to gain mastery on stage, Liliana urged him to participate, and so in the end he decided to do it.
Ignazio said: “I was about to get on the stage. My legs were trembling, the butterflies in my stomach were no longer butterflies but crazy swallows.
I decided to participate with Bocelli’s “Con te partirò” (Time to Say Goodbye), a song that I had studied and re-studied with Liliana, but as soon as the music started, I had a terrible fear of forgetting the words. So, what did I do? I looked down all the time. So, the audience, the place, what happened around me while I was singing, it’s not that I do not remember anything, I just do not know because I only saw the tips of my feet.
Fortunately, however, I remembered all the words and it is not so obvious because sometimes it happens that I forget the words even today now that I have become professional, the emotion continues to take us despite everything and.… I came in third.”
Once the ice was broken and the stage panic was over, that ended up being just the first of many competitions for Ignazio.
After two and a half years, three that he was studying with Liliana, one day Lilliana told him that for the genre that he was going to sing another teacher was better suited to give lyrical singing lessons. So, Ignazio was convinced and started to follow another singing teacher, Roberta Caly.
So now his life became complicated. He went to Lilliana for singing lessons and interpretation. He went to Roberta for lyric singing. And he took a diction course from Lilliana and Roberta. He also went to a diction course with Lilliana and a diction course with Roberta but taught by other teachers in the school. And he also attended a jazz workshop.
Ignazio went to class every day except Sunday when he went to see Nina’s soccer matches. Nina was now playing in Serie B.
Between the school, the singing lessons, the piano lessons and diction Ignazio was always busy, so much so that he was forced to leave the school of soccer.
Ignazio could not do everything because of the economic conditions of his family. At this time Ignazio found another thing to do: an extracurricular musical laboratory. Ignazio was so busy but, he did not want to give up that workshop, it was about setting up musicals. Ignazio said, “It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.”
In 2007, Ignazio stopped studying with Roberta. He met Giovanna Collica, a very good soprano, who gave lessons in Siracusa. Even though Giovanna was in Siracusa, which was a long journey from Ignazio’s home, she was too important to give up. She was a very good soprano, she had even sung a duet with Luciano Pavarotti.
Ignazio concludes, “It took a lot of money to cover the travel expenses, the lessons and the registration for competitions that in many cases were not free. So, it was at a certain point, mom and dad found themselves not having enough money to send me forward. They were more hurt than me. Having always worked and being accustomed to face sacrifices for the family, they did not want to surrender to this obstacle but at the same time they did not know what to do. In the end, it was necessary to make a decision. The decision was to ask a person dear to us for a loan that, as soon as mom and dad had settled a little, would be returned.
This person has helped us with great generosity, so as, to allow me to continue to pursue this dream.” Next stop Ti Lascio una Canzone!
Gianluca: The Beginning of the Journey
So, finally, we come to Gianluca. I must tell you Gianluca’s journey to stardomwas different from Ignazio and Piero. The end result was the same but, the beginnings were different. Gianluca says: “Yes, we were lucky all three to have the families we had. Ignazio and Piero were able to study music thanks to the sacrifices, big sacrifices, of their families. I’ve never studied it, if I have to tell the truth, but the music at home has always been there.
Mom and dad tell me, when I was three years old, I sang ‘O Sole Mio’ in the town square in front of all the elderly gentlemen friends of my grandfather who were sitting around in the square.”
This was the beginning of Gianluca’sjourney to stardom.
Gianluca says, when he sings, he “doesn’t forget instinct.” What does that mean? Gianluca has never studied singing. He learned to ‘use’ his voice only thanks to his musical ear. He listens to the music and, it transmits everything he knows. And, for this, he is especially thankful to the Little Choir of Roses.
When Gianluca was about eight or nine, all those who knew him gave him the same advice: go sing in a choir. In Roseto there was the Piccolo Choir of Roses directed by the master Susy Paola Rizzo. They sang the songs of the “Zecchino D’oro” or other famous songs with arrangements in that style, with music for children. The Mago Zurlì, that was the presenter of the situation, was Gianluca’s dad, Ercole.
The choir was nice because they studied the technique of singing, the songs. It was different, because they did not study the notes and how to do them, rather they studied instinctively, following what the teacher said and what their ear heard.
Gianluca said: “If I think of 2009, the year in which I met Piero and Ignazio at Ti Lascio Una Canzone, it seems to me like yesterday.
Ignazio’s story shows that things come and you do not have to force them to arrive. It is not different from mine. Maybe, a little bit different because, apart from the Little Choir of Roses and those modest performances with my father’s theater company, I’ve never done anything else, no competitions, no festivals. I did not want to do them, I never thought about it.”
Gianluca participated in the Festival of the Adriatic, in 2006, and he won it. In 2007 he participated in Ascoli Piceno, for young talents. He sang at weddings, that’s it. He recalls, “I sang Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria’ and they paid me. My first money earned with music. And for fun, in 2007 I recorded a CD in a studio in Roseto degli Abruzzi, it was called “Start from Here.” It was a study by Vincenzo Irelli, a very good musician.” Verilli heard Gianluca sing, probably in one of the Little Rose Choir’s performances, and he said to Mr. Ginoble, “Bring him to me.” Gianluca recalls, “We spent a couple of weeks recording the CD and then we gave it to all the relatives. If I think about it today, it makes me smile. Never, never would I have thought that it would not be the only one, that I could make music my life. I tell you I only sang because it made me feel good, I was happy.”
Then what happened? In his story, Gianluca said: ‘I do not know exactly, what happened, because everything happened very quickly. If I think of 2009, the year in which I met Piero and Ignazio, it seems like yesterday. Instead, six years have passed. To tell you the truth, seven years passed from the casting sessions because it was 2008 when my father received a call from Licia Giunco.
Who is Licia Giunco. She’s an incredible woman, known throughout Italy for being the creator of an annual event called Sport for life, a great international ice-skating gala. For the gala, skating champions come from all over Europe to participate. The reason for Mrs. Giunco’s phone call was Gianluca’s performances with the choir. “We have a great talent here in Roseto,” Mrs. Guinco told Mr. Ginoble. “I would like to bring him to RAI (Italian TV Station).” Gianluca says, “My father had never thought about it. My parents had never even imagined that I would participate in competitions, let alone send me for an audition for television.”
“Let’s try,” Mr. Ginoble replied, “It would be a great opportunity.” “Dad thought it was just a different experience something that could make me have fun. Mrs. Giunco made available her contacts, we talked to Franco Fasano, whom Licia knew, and he would take us to audition with Roberto Cenci for the broadcast of RAI. Maybe this is what I liked, the idea that it was only a life experience to do, an experience that would allow me to sing for a while. My parents, as they had always been until then, did not force me in the least. They left the decision to me. I had not the slightest idea of what awaited me, but I decided instinctively, with my belly, that yes, that audition I really wanted to do it.
At the studio, when they called my name, I entered the recording room. Roberto Cenci was there. It was the first time I saw him. The impact was big because he has a very tough character and, he did not convey much sympathy at the first meeting. But the essential thing is that I start to sing: I wanted to be a little alone to think, you know. I had chosen ‘The Voice of Silence.’ I remember it perfectly. I was thirteen, the first audition was in November 2008 and, I already had this deep, baritone voice.”
And so, we have arrived at “Ti Lascio una Canzone.”
These were the guys’ beginnings, but the real beginning was when they stepped on the stage and sang “O Sole Mio,” and began their real Journey to Stardom.
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
I’m sure by now you figured out that Piero loves Pasta. So, I will make Pasta with Tomato Sauce.
In Sicily they use a very rich tomato sauce. But, before I get to the recipe, let me tell you a little bit about the town Piero lives in.
Naro is a small medieval town in the province of Agrigento,not far from the Valley of the Temples.
The hill town offers stunning views of the surrounding hills, all the way down to the sea.
This monumental city has a very ancient history, dating back to theSicani, the most ancient inhabitants of the island. According to ancient Greek writers, Sicans, where the original inhabitants of central Sicily. The Greek historian Thucydides believed the Sicani to be Iberians from Spain who were driven out by the invading Siculi into the central parts of the island. (From Sicans and Siculi derives the name Sicily.) They were also invaded by Arabs, Normans and Swabians. We can find remnants of their presence everywhere: from the ancient city gate, the only one left from the seven gates, to the mosque which was transformed into a Norman Duomo. There is also an ancient Jewish quarter and the Medieval Chiaramonte Castle which rises high above the city.
The monuments, also, tell us about Naro’s important history. The city received the title Fulgentissima (Splendor) and had a seat in the Sicilian Parliament. There are many churches, in particular, the Church dedicated to Maria SS Annunziata (Our Lady of the Annunciation). Within the church we find many treasures including the statue of the Madonna of the Chains by Antonello and Giacomo Gagini.This beautiful church also has a medieval baptismal font.
Note:When the Spanish invaded they brought along Empanadas which Piero mentions in his story and calls by its Sicilian name “impanate.” This is how Piero described them, “Impanate are rolls of pizza dough with vegetables inside, a typical dish of my area.”
In Naro, there is an old tradition which says, “The righteous, before going to paradise, take a tour of the island to say farewell to seven ‘special’ places in Sicily: the Castle of Naro, which is windswept day and night;Caltabellotta,coiled up around the rock; Mount Erice, that looks towards Africa; Ustica,a small island in a green colored sea; Stromboli,the volcano that mingles with the waves; Ortigia,the ancient Greek island…” (I count six – I checked and couldn’t find seven). Piero, do you know what the seventh one is???
The most important event for the inhabitants of Naro is the Feast of San Calogero, the black Patron Saint, who is celebrated on 18th and 25th of June. In nearby Sciacca you can visit the Sanctuary of San Calogero.
Now to the Tomato Sauce.
I’m going to give you two recipes. One is the actual recipe with whole tomatoes. It’s wonderful if you want to do the work. The other is a simpler version which is very easy to make. The sauces in this region are very rich.
Tomato Sauce from the region of Agrigento
2 1/4 lb. of ripe tomatoes (you can use vine tomatoes or plum tomatoes)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 onion sliced thin or diced if you prefer
fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
pasta of your choice
Wash and dry the tomatoes, cut them in half and crush them. Put the tomatoes in a saucepan together with garlic, (If you were making this for Piero, you would have to leave out the garlic because he’s allergic to it.), onion and basil. Add a small amount of water. A half cup should do. Cook for about 15 minutes. Remove the tomatoes and puree them. I’m sure you don’t have a mill to puree so, I suggest you take a colander and place it over a saucepan. Add the tomatoes to the colander and crush with your hands. Be careful it’s hot. You could use a spoon to do this.
This will allow the sauce to flow through and what will remain are the skins and seeds. Next, put the tomatoes back in the saucepan, add oil, salt and pepper and heat over a low flame to thicken the sauce. Cook for 30 minutes. While the sauce is cooking, boil the water for pasta. Add salt.
When the water boils, add the pasta. Follow the cooking instructions on the box. Try to have the pasta ready when the sauce is ready.
Before I get to the simple recipe, I want to mention Strattu. Strattu is Sicilian word for tomato paste. The Sicilians jar their tomatoes in the summer for winter use. While doing this, they take some of the tomatoes and spread them out on a ceramic or wooden tray and leave it out in the sun for two – three days, constantly stirring it, to turn it into tomato paste. It takes about seven pounds of tomatoes to make one jar of strattu!
The first sauce I gave you the recipe for is a plain sauce that would be used alone or with fish. When making a pork (ex. sausage) sauce or any meat sauce (meat balls) you would add strattu (a couple of tablespoons) to it because pork will thin your sauce and, strattu gives it a thicker consistency.
Simple Tomato Sauce
In place of ripe tomatoes use one can of plum tomatoes. Crush the tomatoes with your hands.
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 onion sliced thin or diced if you prefer
fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
pasta of your choice
In a saucepan heat the olive oil, add onions, garlic (remember Piero is allergic to garlic) salt & pepper. Sauté a few minutes and then add tomatoes. Now add the basil. After the sauce bubbles, lower the flame. Let it cook for 30 minutes. While the sauce is cooking, boil the water for pasta. Add salt. When the water boils, add the pasta. Follow the cooking instructions on the box. Try to have the pasta ready when the sauce is ready. If you want to make a meat sauce add tomato paste (two or three tablespoons) as a substitute for strattu. Serve with red wine. Of course, my choice, is always Montepulcino d’Abruzzi.
In these days of quarantine, there are live videos, between our boys and their friends.
This is Piero with Jovanotti. I state that Jovanotti, (also called Jova, but his real name is Lorenzo Cherubini) is a famous Italian singer-songwriter, rapper and disc jockey.
The live is very interesting and therefore I translate roughly for you.
Friendly greetings between Piero and Jovanotti.
Piero says that he returned three days earlier from the US where Il Volo was on tour, but they did not realize from there what the situation was like in Italy.
He is now in Naro, and is in quarantine. He says that quarantine stimulates creativity, he must commit the days, the mind, he takes advantage of it to study, and read.
Jova asks where the other two are and Piero replies that everyone is at home, Gianluca is in Abruzzo and Ignazio in Bologna.
Jova asks if there is someone at home with him and Piero replies that he is alone, that he has not yet seen his parents and his sister. Piero says that in America they didn’t have the feeling of what was going on, that if you put on gloves and a medical mask, maybe you looked badly.
Now also in the US the situation is different.
Now everyone looks to Italy, also as an example and then we receive many messages from all over the world of solidarity and we must be proud of this. Jova asks if they were on tour and Piero replies that they were on tour since January and they have had to cancel the last three concerts.
Piero explains how fortunately they managed to return to Italy, because he says that after Trump’s speech where he said he would close all flights from Europe, and for Europe, Alitalia, sent a completely empty plane to the US to take the compatriots who wanted to return to Italy.
Jovanotti says that Italians always show the best side when there are emergencies. He says it is in these cases that Italy proves to be a united country.
He says his daughter was also in the US for study and managed to catch one of the last flights.
Then he asks Piero if he is afraid.
Piero replies no, because he is convinced that we live in the safest country in the world, even if he admits that in Sicily, the health facilities (hospitals) are not exactly vanguard, but there are many people of good will. Therefore, by contacting some friends from Agrigento, they thought that, for now there are few cases in Sicily, but if the contagion were to come as strong as in Lombardy, the health facilities would collapse immediately.
And so he and these artists from Agrigento decided to start this fundraiser to help these hospitals. They will channel the donations to this bank account, but they will not give the money, but they will ask what the hospital needs and will buy it and give it to them. All coordinated with local authorities.
Piero says that the duty of the artists is to spread this initiative and says that today there are no records sold or concerts. Today there is only one concert, that of staying united and carrying out this great battle.
Jova greatly appreciates Piero’s speech and tells him that he is “great”. He remembers that they met quickly in a waiting room of the Catania airport and exchanged their contacts.
Then Jovanotti (who has many followers) invites everyone to follow this beautiful initiative, very important.
Then he tells Piero that he wants to hear his voice, he says that he knows that Il Volo sings all over the world bringing the Italian melody, especially the songs in Italian, and says that they are a rarity.
Piero replies that it’s nice to see Americans, even the Japanese, who get excited even if they don’t understand the words.
At this point Jovanotti asks Piero to perform the NESSUN DORMA.
Piero says that his neighbors will be tired of hearing him, as long as he always sings. Jova says they told him that the summer rental agencies have requests to rent apartments near Piero’s !!
So Piero shows the view from his balcony and Jova says it is a beautiful place, a real historical center.
Then he tells Piero that he appreciates Il Volo, because they also love to joke and play down their image, also lending themselves to slightly different interviews, such as the one they did with Fiorello, proposing Il Volo in a rock version.
Piero confirms that they try to bring the message of bel canto to the younger generation too.
Jova asks if they have ever sung in China and Piero confirms yes, in 2015, the year of the dog. Then they do a search and discover that when Piero was born, it was the year of the rooster, then they try, laughing, to make a symphonic version of Jova’s song.
A message from Fiorello arrives (on their video) and recalls a Sicilian song and immediately Piero sings a piece of it. Jova is not Sicilian and does not understand the meaning, so he asks Piero who tells him to ask Fiorello. (It has a mischievous meaning, that’s why Piero replies like this.)
There is also a message from Ignazio saying that they have abandoned him. Jova says no and asks where Ignazio is, Piero replies that he is in Bologna and that due to the jet lag he cannot sleep
So they talk about the importance of sleep to have a rested and fresh voice before the concerts, and Piero also recommends eating apples, and also cold water.
Jovanotti asks Piero if he ever met Pavarotti and Piero says that he missed by two years before their start as Il Volo.
(In this 2013 video there are Pavarotti and Jovanotti in a song by Jova, during “Pavarotti and friends.”)
So they talk about the performances on people’s balconies, these days, and confirm that it is the most beautiful thing, that those videos have gone around the world and that everyone imitates us for this, because it is the most beautiful thing in the world.
Piero tells Jova, that his dad, when he had the auto bodywork shop, put him on the hood of customers’ cars and had him sing UN AMORE COSÌ GRANDE and GRANADA.
Jova says that he is almost 54 years old, Piero’s dad, Gaetano, is only two years older.
Piero says that La Boheme is his favorite opera and Jova says he saw it a year ago at the Metropolitan.
Then Piero sings a piece of the Cavalleria Rusticana.
Piero confirms that he is studying to do an opera, but it takes months and months of study and tries to do lessons via skype with his teacher from Bologna.
Jovanotti tells him that when he debuts at the opera, he wants to be there, then asks if Gaetano wanted to be a singer, and Piero says no, but his grandfather was sincerely sought for singing and says that he and his grandfather have the same voice and he tells how his grandfather noticed his potential.
So Piero tells of the economic difficulties that his father has suffered, in order to take him to various competitions or singing lessons, and Jovanotti says they seem like stories from centuries ago, instead they are recent and very beautiful stories and Piero says that Ignazio and Gianluca also have similar stories.
Jovanotti concludes that now that everyone has time, they must use it to rediscover many things that are not done during busy days.
Then they say goodbye with affection.
Piero has also made specific messages to persuade people to collaborate to raise funds for hospitals in Sicily in the Agrigento area.