My plan this week was to talk about the opening of the World Tour. It turns out it’s that and so much more. Over the past week many things have happened that need to be mentioned here. All that’s important in the lives of these three young men, Family, Country & Music, are up front and present in my story today.
We know that the Holy Father, Pope Francis has great love and respect for these young men. He sees them as an example of how young people should live their lives. They have respect for their families and for life in general. Always putting family first. And always trying to please everyone!
So, I will start my story today with an event at the Vatican which the guys will, at the request of Pope Francis, participate in! The World Meeting of Families ~ The Festival of Families
If there is one thing I can tell you for certain about these young men it is that they truly love His Holiness, Pope Francis. And I can tell you for certain that the Holy Father truly loves them. They have shared many wonderful moments together, but none greater than singing the Ave Maria Mater Misericordiae at World Youth Day in Panama in 2019.
This event is entitled “The Beauty of the Family.” The Press Office explained, “rather than giving speeches and theories on families, people will give voice to witness. The choice of presenters, artists and those who will speak is designed to promote their experience as Christian families. For this reason, the presentation is entrusted to Amadeus and his wife Giovanna Civitillo. As for the artistic presence, the young artists ‘Il Volo’ together with some of their relatives, will participate by recounting their own family experience and proposing some musical pieces.”
The Holy Father recognized that the families of Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca made many sacrifices so that these young men could go out into the world and present their beautiful Bel Canto.
In the beginning the boys were 15 and 16 years old and so it was necessary for a member of their family to travel with them. These families found themselves in a very difficult situation having to choose which parent would travel and which would stay home with the other children. These were very difficult times for them, and they made great sacrifices to do this. While they were with their sons, they left the other children behind. And when the boys were old enough to travel on their own another sacrifice had to be made; not seeing their sons for long periods of time.
The parents of Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca realized that the gift that each of these boys was given was a gift from God and through the presence of God in their lives they were able to deal with the situation and share their amazing sons with the world.
This truly is what this conference is about. Families sharing their love and supporting each other. The result of their story is these families gave to the world three truly amazing men who appreciate the value of family and put their families first above all else in life.
Congratulations to the families of Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca!
Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca had the honor of singing the Mameli, the National Anthem of Italy, on June 2nd Republic Day before Sergio Mattarella the President of the Republic of Italy.
Also, in the Grandstand was Pietro Grasso former President of the Senate. He was very pleased to see the guys again. You will recall Mr. Grasso was the man who sang every song along with the guys when they did their Christmas Concert for the Senate in December 2014.
Mr. Grasso left the Senate to become the Acting President of Italy when Giorgio Napolitano resigned as President. He was the president from January 4, 2015, to February 3, 2015 when Sergio Mattarella the present President was sworn in.
For these young men, singing the National Anthem was a very proud moment in their lives because they are proud to be Italian and they are proud to be Ambassadors representing their country through song around the world
Anyone who knows Il Volo knows one of their signature songs is “Caruso.”
Lucio Dalla was the composer of “Caruso” (1986), a song dedicated to the last days of Italian opera tenor Enrico Caruso. The song, dedicated to the tenor became an Italian national anthem abroad. It was the identifying song for the world of Dalla’s entire career. Nine million copies were sold. It was reinterpreted by among others Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli. And most recently and most importantly it was reinterpreted by our guys, Il Volo and it became one of those songs we look forward to hearing in their concerts.
A Concert tribute to Lucio Dalla was held at the Verona Arena on June 3rd with many stars singing Dalla songs, including Il Volo. This thrilling event was prerecorded at the Arena di Verona on June 2nd and presented on Raiuno on June 3rd. The presenters of the evening were Carlo Conti and Fiorella Mannoia.
The Concert in tribute to Lucio Dalla at the Verona Arena was a great party in the name of the music of one of the most loved songwriters of all time.
The World Tour Begins
Go out into the world and share the voice God gave you!
The new World Tour is about the old and the new and the two years in-between. It’s the best picture of what the guys have been doing these last two years when they were separated from us.
The big thing, they worked on new songs. Thus ~ Il Volo Sings Morricone!
They came on Instagram and Facebook and sang for us! One memorable moment from those songs is included in this concert.
They expanded their own horizons! Read what I have to say about Piero.
And they chose a set list that is very different from the past. All very beautiful songs. Something for everyone’s taste. Different…
The Ecstasy of Gold ~ Nessun Dorma ~ Un Amore Cosi Grande ~ Se Telefonando ~ Se ~ Your Love ~ Your Song ~ All By Myself ~ La Donna è Mobile ~ No Puede Ser ~ E Lucevan le Stelle ~ Hallelujah ~ My Way ~ Here’s to You ~ Delilah ~ Can’t help Falling in Love ~ Musica che Resta ~ L’amore si Muove ~ Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu ~ O Sole Mio/ Surrender ~ Granada ~ Libiamo Ne’ Lieti Calici ~ Caruso ~ Io Che Non Vivo Senza Te ~ Il Mondo ~ Grande Amore
There is so much to say about the production, but I will save that for another day. Instead, I will talk about the songs and the guys!
A good place to start is with the duets….
The duets in this concert were phenomenal! I will start with the duet between Ignazio and Gianluca. It is their prayer for those who were not as lucky as we were.
It’s very appropriate that Gianluca and Ignazio chose to present a prayer in this concert. Recognizing all that was, all that is and all that still remains, it is in the end, an expression of hope. The song Ignazio and Gianluca chose was the song Ignazio sang to us during COVID. You will recall each of the guys sang a prayer for us. Piero sang the “Ave Maria,” Ignazio sang “Hallelujah,” and Gianluca sang “You Raise Me up.” I remember this was at the high point in the pandemic and we were all very sad and very sensitive and they calmed our fears with their beautiful voices. We were all touched by this, and I wrote a column for each guy and his song.
This is what Ignazio had to say about the song they chose….
When we had to decide what to sing … We sang many songs together but this year we wanted something very special. So, one day I called Gianluca, and I said, ‘Why don’t we sing a prayer?’ We are living through a period of … I say it in Gianluca’s way… Bad time… We all have been through a very bad time and … We decided to sing a very significant song, it was in the pandemic, and it still is today. Let’s pretend it is a prayer, a prayer for everything that is happening and that has happened in the past months and unfortunately continues to happen. Let’s think about Covid…. now in Ukraine and Russia…. So, we want to address this prayer to those who are not making it, to those who are suffering, to those who are not as fortunate as us…
Their rendition of Hallelujah was very touching and very expressive. Ignazio articulates very well, and he has such beautiful diction, his words just flow on the air. Ignazio’s beautiful voice expresses the beauty of this song which leads us to a supreme experience. It brought me to tears. A truly beautiful delivery by both our tenor and baritone.
Next, I want to talk about the duet between Piero and Ignazio ~ “La Donna è Mobile.”
How did Piero feel about this duet…? Piero said when Ignazio proposed they do this duet, he replied that he was crazy, but then they tried to do it by themselves and they had fun, so they called the management and proposed singing this duet from Rigoletto.
This is a song everyone knows. For me, in this concert, it brought back memories of Ignazio’s childhood. You will recall in their book, Un’avventura Straordinaria, Ignazio said….
I always liked to sing, to be ‘in the middle’ of the music. And more and more passionately I began to understand how to use Nina’s famous pianola. I learned how to start the musical bases and flipping through them I discovered ‘La Donna è Mobile.’
In short, I began to like it so much that I sang with that base, inventing words. Now the exact words that I invented, I do not remember, but for sure my song was about Luciano Pavarotti. Why? Because as a child I always saw him on television and he always had a huge handkerchief in his hand, so I invented a text with Pavarotti and his handkerchief.
And so, I sang on the air of ‘La Donna è Mobile’not knowing what was on the horizon and what we would have to deal with in those years.
Was Ignazio thinking of his childhood, his first performance when they chose this song?
Beyond my memories of Ignazio’s childhood, I have to say their presentation was absolutely phenomenal! The tenor and the spinto tenor showed their true colors! They could have been singing on the stage of the MET! True opera singers in their delivery and expression! Absolutely phenomenal! Yes, Ignazio you do sing opera!
While I’m talking about Piero, I want to give you some of my thoughts about our spinto tenor. Piero’s voice which always was amazing, always was powerful, and his presentation which always produced phenomenal climaxes in the concerts, has now become such a vibrant sound in our ears! His voice has expanded so much in the last two years. Over this period, Piero has had the opportunity to spend unlimited time on his opera lessons. This is something that is not possible in his normal schedule. The intense opera lessons of the last two years have paid off with Piero standing at the door of the MET! The intensity of his voice sends shivers up and down my spine! A truly amazing voice that has become even more powerful than it was! Phenomenal! Bravo Piero!
My Way is the one song of the duets that has been presented before. And now as then it is amazing! Gianluca’s love of Frank Sinatra is something that brings joy to him and grace to their concerts. I know that Gianluca aspires to be like Sinatra, but I have to honestly say, if Sinatra was alive, he would aspire to be like Gianluca. Sinatra was and still is greatly loved and admired by his fans but Sinatra although a baritone like Gianluca could never achieve what Gianluca has achieved. Yes, he had great fame and was admired worldwide but he didn’t have the range that Gianluca has. Sinatra could not sing the full range of a baritone like Gianluca does. Gianluca, you have it all wrapped up.
Let’s turn to the solos….
Before he begins his solo, Ignazio tells us about his solo….
We meet again year after year, and I wonder what I am doing this year because what I tried to do in recent years was too ambitious. I sing what some men have never sung but at least if I make a fool of myself this year it is over a very famous person, a great artist who I hope sooner or later to have the honor of singing with. This is taken from the album of Celine Dion. ~ ‘All By Myself’
Before beginning his song, “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” Gianluca spoke about his choice of this solo and why he chose it….
Tonight, I will sing a song that was part of my adolescence of my musical inspiration. I grew up with many singers starting from Andrea Bocelli, definitely a great one! All the Great Americans Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin and the greatest of all Elvis Presley. I have been singing this song for years I have also grown a little with her because tonight I want to dedicate it to a person who is here (pointing to Elenora Venturini Storaro in the audience) and I will sing it for her.
Before beginning his solo, No puede ser, Piero said….
I am accompanied by a great musician. I always watched his videos and tonight I invited him to accompany me ~ Maestro Andrea Grinelli
A beautiful interpretation Piero! This aria is about a man’s love for a woman who everyone says is wicked but he doesn’t believe it. Piero’s expression shows his trust for the woman he loves and that he believes that she is good! Magnificent!
So where do we go from here?
Before they sang, Ignazio takes a moment to thank the fans….
I have to thank the fans, not only for their great affection, but also because coming to these concerts doesn’t just mean spending money on tickets, but for many people, also spending on travel and hotel expenses …. and therefore, we thank you for always being with us and we dedicate to you: ‘Un Amore Cosi Grande’
After the song Piero says some beautiful words as to why he gets excited when he sings this song. It’s about being Sicilian and who he is….
Piero:To pursue his dream as a director, Toto leaves his homeland. He is forced to leave his homeland. Every time I leave for a tour, fortunately I am a privileged guy, when we leave our homes, our cities, we leave them for good things, for what we are doing tonight, but there is always that….
Ignazio: Melancholy ….
Gianluca: That basic nostalgia ….
Piero: That incurable nostalgia and therefore I cried a lot, (watching that movie) because I see myself in that child. When I sing this song, those who know me well, see me quite moved by it.
And we end with a song you are all familiar with in Italian and English….
This is just a small part of the concert. I couldn’t fit all 27 songs into this article but over the next few weeks and as we continue the concerts, I will include all of them.
The importance of today’s story was to show you that the guys love what they do but they don’t forget who they are and where they came from. For them it’s about Family, Country & Music not always in that order. It’s called stepping up to the plate and that is something they do well!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
Daniela, Ale and Stefi at the Concert! Wish I was with them.
Today I want to thank three ladies who help me with photos and translations: Daniela, Ale and Stefi. I also want to thank my proof readers. Thanks for catching the errors! Pat in English and Daniela in Italian
If you would like to share a story with me, please email: email@example.com
Now we have arrived at the part of the story which is the main event ~ Ti Lascio una Canzone! I’m going to say a few words about it for all the new fans out there and then I am a going to skip to The Night the Lion Roared. Why? Because everyone who knows Il Volo knows their amazing story! But I will share a few important facts and some videos of that amazing night.
Their amazing 1,2,3 win, as important as it was, was not the most important part to this story. The the biggest win of all was ~ Il Volo!
Let’s begin with Episode Four…
It is the fourth episode of Ti Lascio Una Canzone and the boys are given the music for “O Sole Mio” but in three parts. They thought it was strange because until then they were singing alone or doing duets.
They walked out on the stage, sang “O Sole Mio” and it was like they had been performing together for years. Flawless!
But before the trio came together, there were some amazing performances….
Let’s talk about some of the people they performed with on the show. Really great names in the Italian music industry. Massimo Ranieri, Fausto Leali, Al Bano, Adamo, Piero Mazzoccheti.
What I witnessed in those performances were great performers who were in awe of these three teenage boys who were singing, in some cases, their songs and they were totally amazed. It was written all over their faces. They could not believe what they were hearing.
What was going on behind the scenes? Well, we certainly know that the idea to put the three together was the genius of Roberto Cenci the artistic director and director of the program. But there was so much more happening!
We know when Michele Torpedine heard them sing for the first time, he thought the three possessed an incredible vocality for their age.
He instinctively knew signing these kids would be for him the find of a lifetime!
Michele says, “The next day I am a volcano. I want to talk to everyone: producers, managers, families.”
Michele continues, “Another great story started, a new story at a time when it seemed to me that there was no future for me, for my profession: a breath of oxygen in my environment.”
After years of disappointment, loss of trust and gratitude, missing or denied, with Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca, Michele rediscovers the values of gratitude. Michele says, “The boys allowed me to really go back to my job.”
And the results….
They were the first Italian artists in history to sign a contract with a major American music label.
Universal Music signed them immediately. Michele said, “It is important to give due recognition to the man who made all this possible, the great record manager Peter Lopez. Peter immediately sensed the enormous potential of our artistic project. To him we owe an incredible international contract signed simply trusting that the boys would have audiences all over the world.”
But what did they bring to the table to win over the kids, the parents, and the grandparents? They had an idea and it worked….
Their music was Operatic pop or Pop-Opera. What was this new movement? It’s singing Opera in a more modern style. While opera is very strict and regimented, Pop-Opera is more ethereal it has a lighter feeling, and it moves freely. It takes away the hard edges of opera and replaces it with a more ethereal feel while still presenting the drama and the high notes of the opera. This along with the classical Neapolitan songs became a big draw. Why did it work? One reason is three amazing voices! If the voice wasn’t there, the song wasn’t going to sell.
They started their career in America and immediately went around the world! There was no stopping them. Everyone everywhere loved them and their music. There are some great memories along the way but that’s a story for another day….
So now I will flash forward six years and tell you about The Night the Lion Roared….
When I read Un’avventura Straordinaria, the story that I loved the most was the story of Sanremo. The decision by the guys to take on the Sanremo Festival. This story brought out their personalities, their differences and how they are so bound to one another that they could make the decision of a lifetime together even if it meant they could lose what was so important to them, their country and their people!
We know 2014 started out as a bad year, but suddenly things were happening. They were invited to sing at the Italian Senate. This was an event of immense importance for them. It said Italy was finally noticing them so, it only made sense that it was time to take a giant step!
But this story doesn’t start with Sanremo, nor does it end there! Sanremo was the door opener!
They will tell you that the decision to go to Sanremo was a good one but, in contrast going to Eurovision may not have been their best decision. My reply, going to Eurovision was an excellent decision!
Let’s see how these decisions were made and what path they chose….
So where do you begin to make the decision. Well, you have to start with….
Who’s in and who’s out!
From day one, Gianluca wanted to go. He was so convinced that they would win that he never backed down from it. He had no doubt in his mind that they would win.
Always the pessimist, Ignazio. He said “No, we can’t win. It’s too hard.”
So that leaves Piero! Piero at first was not on board but Gianluca persuaded him. Gianluca said, “No one trusted, no one believed it. It was I who persuaded Piero to persuade Ignazio to go to Sanremo. Because I told them: ‘Guys, if we go, we’ll win it, I’m sure, I’m sure’”.
Piero said, “We said to ourselves: ‘Guys, make it or break it, in the end, we were not anyone here in Italy, at most we would not be anyone even afterwards.’”
Decision made! It’s official the guys go to Sanremo!
Then there’s the second problem, the song!
At Sanremo you must perform an unpublished song. How do you begin to find such a song?
Now this is the part of the story that’s really interesting and sometimes funny! Oddly enough, the one who wanted this the most was the one who did not agree to the song. I so enjoyed listening to this dialogue between the guys. This is where we begin to hear the guys make important decisions together. They’re really good. When they begin, they’re not agreeing but as time goes by…. well, why don’t I let them tell you how they finally got to Sanremo….
Gianluca:I did not agree to go with that piece. If I think about it now, I’ll say that the next time I must reflect better before judging, try to sing a song and then judge because our voices change the songs. We arrange them by cutting them on our voice, and I did not take this fact into consideration. The song when we first listened to it was not very ugly!
Ignazio:It’s not that we’ve heard only that, no. Do you think it is easy to choose a piece for Sanremo? We started to do a search and a selection of unpublished tracks. Our policy was: either we go with something strong, or we do not go, right?
One day this song comes to us through Michele: Grande Amore by Francesco Boccia and Ciro Esposito, two Neapolitan authors. As usual, I am pessimistic. I listen to it and it does not make me crazy. Not even Gianluca was convinced. The only enthusiast was Pie …
Piero (interrupts):I loved ‘Grande Amore!’ I did not believe that we would have won, but I was the one who pushed, I and Michele pushed for ‘Grande Amore’ because the audition that we heard was not beautiful, but we imagined it if it was made by Celso Valli and, I must say that we had guessed right.
Ignazio (interrupts): And I said it too if you let me talk. I was saying, in fact, that ‘Grande Amore’ was not as we hear it today. It was always called ‘Grande Amore,’ but it was totally different. So, we start to think: who can produce the piece? And Michele calls the great Celso Valli. After several weeks of work in the studio, we manage to churn out a song that could leave its mark at the Sanremo Festival.
Gianluca (interrupts): That’s why when we left for Sanremo I was very convinced we had the piece, the right project.
Piero:He wanted to influence us, but we are superstitious ….
Gianluca:Every day at lunch and dinner with Michele and the president of Sony, I say: ‘Guys, we will win Sanremo.’
Piero (interrupts):Do you know what a week like this means?
Ignazio:Piero and I were all day touching iron and the low parts. Gianluca was convinced that the little lion (the Sanremo award is represented by a lion) would be ours? And the two of us tried to keep the situation under control.
Gianluca (interrupts):What should I tell you? I am an optimist. They took it something like ‘he makes fun of us,’ but I felt it inside. I do not know why.
So many interruptions! Ignazio, before he was interrupted, was about to tell us about the first night they sang.
Ignazio:The 65th edition of the Festival begins on Tuesday, February 10th. We sing the second night, Wednesday the 11th. The strange thing is that normally my legs tremble before the performance, but mine trembled even after the performance! Perhaps too much adrenaline, it never happened before.
Piero (interrupts):Or maybe it was because we came back to the Ariston stage after going around the world. It was like coming home, because we experienced the beginning of our career here with Ti Lascio una Canzone. One thing that cannot be described: in Sanremo, in Italy, to sing and receive the applause of the Italian public. It cannot be explained.
Gianluca:Can you imagine for me this was also my birthday? I turned twenty on the Ariston stage! Of course, I was moved in the end, and it was too much emotion to my sensibility to play bad jokes at times. And then, we felt the pressure in the air. Even though I was optimistic, the tension was there.
Although we had taken care of the smallest details of the song, we had tried and tried again, and we had taken care of even the smallest details of the clothing. First evening look more rock: total black with leather jacket. Because when we do our work the image matters, too.
I really wanted to use the video of “Ancora” at Sanremo but I couldn’t get it to work so, instead I chose the one from Verona. Amazing no matter where they sing it!
Piero (interrupts):Count, of course that counts. But do you remember how we were dressed before? I remember that time at Una Notte per Caruso, in July 2009, it was the second time we saw Torpedine. Michele arrives with another white Range Rover, not that of Jesolo, and as soon as he arrives, we do not even say hello and we go to see the car. Let’s run, let’s open the car. Ignazio immediately goes up to the car. We went crazy for cars, one like that, we did not see every day. The day after we go for a ride in downtown Sorrento, a shopping trip, and we enter Gucci’s. Michele spent almost two thousand euros and we with that written number at the counter, we exclaimed: “Mizziga! (Damn!) Two thousand euro” with wide eyes. And we still have those clothes, at least I personally still have them.
He had bought us a jacket, but above all the need for us to dress all in white and blue. I had the blue jacket and the white shirt, Gianluca had blue trousers and white shirt, Ignazio the blue shoes and everything else white, Michele the blue jacket. And we took a picture in front of the hotel.
Gianluca (interrupts):We were just dressed badly to be singers by trade, we were children, we came from families of workers. What could I buy? There was not even the need.
Piero (interrupts):And then you remember the restaurant? Afterwards we went to a restaurant near the sea. When we finished eating, the three of us took off our shoes and ran to the beach. Michele ran behind us telling us: ‘Guys, calm down. Guys, slow down.’
At this point Ignazio loses his patience. YES, but, what does that have to do with it, Pie? We were talking about Sanremo. What has Sorrento got to do with it?
Ignazio gets the conversation back on track!
Sanremo 2015, from the 10th to 14th of February, we sang on the second evening, legs shaking, Gianluca’s birthday.
This video has English subtitles
Among the many interviews, the diary that we kept every day for TV Sorrisi e Canzoni … We had fun with the diary!
It was a sort of ‘pill.’ A very few minutes, in which we recorded from the 9th to 14th of February. We talked about some of the emotions we felt. For example, the time that Gianluca almost stumbles on stage or the happiness of seeing the audience get up and applaud the first night we sang ‘Grande Amore.’ The recording, then, went online on the site of the magazine.
What was I saying? Ah, yes, among the many interviews, the diary that we kept every day for TV Sorrisi e Canzoni, meetings and press conferences …
Piero (interrupts):And the criticisms we felt in those days? People at home voted for us, appreciated us, and journalists gave us votes that we thought were postponed until September, I also said this at the press conference after the victory. Five that flew (bad votes given by critics). But we see that the criticisms have done us good.
Ignazio:Can I do a criticism of you?
Piero:Ah, tell me…
Ignazio:You interrupted me. I was about to tell the final. I can continue?
Ignazio:In short, the final evening arrives, February 14th. I realize from my shirt that in a week we have eaten more than we sang. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I’m a boy who does not say cat if I do not have it in the bag, then until Carlo Conti said….
Piero (interrupts):And indeed, whoever wins does not know it until the end! Sorry, Igna’. Speak you!!!
Ignazio:Until Carlo Conti said: ‘The winner of the Sanremo Festival 2015 is … Il Volo!’ I said to the boys: ‘No, guys, we do not win, it’s difficult.’ And on the one hand I had Piero with shining eyes and on the other Gianluca with a smug smile as if to say: ‘Do not worry.’
Gianluca:The truth is that I was right from the beginning, and no one had ever listened to me, ever. I believed it so much that, if you notice, maybe I’m the one with the least surprised look on my face when Carlo Conti announces the winner. Then, of those moments, one remembers little, there is great confusion, emotion. It was a dream to be able to shout, ‘Thank you, Italy!’ from that stage. I look at Sanremo as a child, when there was Pippo Baudo, and I was there and have won because people were on our side and it was a dream, I repeat even if I have already said. The emotion was only when my grandfather told me almost in tears: “Who would have told me that in life I saw Modugno win at the Festival and then I saw you win?”
Taking the conversation back, I have to say, to me this was the best conversation we could listen to. They disagree, they find middle ground, and they agree but, most importantly they listen to one another and that’s what makes the bond so great!
In the end Gianluca said: In short, Sanremo was just a dream that brought us many different emotions.
You might ask why did I put these two stories together? I wanted you to see what six years in their lives did for them. They started on the Ariston stage as three teenagers, went around the world gaining success everywhere along the way, only to come back to the Ariston Theater to win not only Sanremo but the hearts of the Italian people; the one thing they wanted from the beginning!
Over those six years they sang in concerts hall around the world. Their songs went gold and platinum. They won many awards including the Latin American Music Award’s Latin Pop Albums Artist of the Year for a duo or group. They sang with people like Barbara Streisand and joined some of the best singers in the music industry for “We Are the Whole Haiti” but what they wanted more than anything was to be accepted in their own country and they did that by coming back to their beginnings! Going full circle and taking a big chance paid off on the Ariston Stage for the second time.
As the winners of Sanremo, the guys went on to Eurovision. They came in third. They saw it as a loss but, I saw it as a win because here the press came out for them awarding them the Marcel Bezencon Press Award. The press has spoken!
As Italy is a member of the Big Five, the guys went straight into the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest, which was held in Vienna on May 23rd, 2015. “Grande Amore” came in 3rd with 292 points but, they won the televote with 366 points and the Marcel Bezencon Press Award, as best song according to the collective voting of the accredited press.
And, the extended play “Sanremo Grande Amore” was released in Italy on February 20th, 2015, and it was certified triple platinum by FIMI.
The Night the Lion Roared, the guys felt they had finally achieved their dream to be number one in the hearts of the Italian people!
Against all odds they pulled it off. The part of the story they missed was about the Italian people. They were always on their side. Even when they were traveling around the world and hoping to perform concerts in Italy, the Italian people were always waiting for them. The press was against them but never the people. They wanted them home as much as they wanted to go home.
How does Michele Torpedine sum up our guys….
These three guys have very clear ideas and I have never seen them impressed in front of audiences that many would shake their legs. I never heard a wrong attack, and if some inconsistency arose that made something happen professionally, they knew how to handle the problem at the origin. They are always extraordinary, their voices grow with them, they mature in body and soul. There is no other team or artistic team so complete.
I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
This has been an amazing week. How often over the last year have we said we missed the guys. Well they sure made up for it this week. One spectacular event after another.
So let’s start in the beautiful region of Apulia, Italy.
“La Notte della Taranta”, is one of the largest Festivals in Italy and one of the most significant manifestations of popular culture in Europe. The final concert of La Notte della Taranta, has had as many as one hundred and fifty thousand spectators in the past. It takes place in Salento, in the municipality of Melpignano, at the esplanade of the former Augustinian Convent specifically for the rediscovery and the enhancement of traditional Salento music. It is not limited to traditional music. It also allows for rock, jazz and symphonic music. This year’s host was Albano.
Listen to the voices of our guys coming alive backstage! It’s a calling! “Who sells olives.”
Meanwhile Albano awaits their arrival on stage. He tells us about the song. It is from the region of Apulia, the region where he was born. He says, “It reminds me of the autumn song. It is the November song.”
November is the time of the olive harvest and a man would always pass with a cart of olives to sell to the people. Albano and Ignazio sing a phrase in the Apulian dialect (“Who has olives, I have to buy them.”) Albano said when Modugno sang in the Apulian dialect he was very proud of him. Ignazio said, “So let’s hope, with this next song we will sing, to make you even more proud of your land.”
Albano tells the guys, “You know that I am proud to have you here beside me…”
Gianluca responded, “and we are happy ….”
Albano (continues) “…simply because I baptized these two..”
Albano is referring to Ignazio and Piero who he performed with on Ti Lascio Una Canzone. I remember those performances and that Albano was in awe of both of them. Then Albano continues about Gianluca who he didn’t perform with at Ti Lascio una Canzone.
Albano says, “And to you, (Gianluca) you I baptize this evening.”
Gianluca responds, “One day, sooner or later, we will sing together. But it is nice, I can say, that these events make it possible to spread a musical culture like this of the Taranta, and it is right that young people are attached to the roots of these great events. We must not lose this desire to carry on traditions, we too, as young people, are proud to be here tonight.”
Ignazio elaborates on this thought in one of their interviews…
“It is certainly one of the most important cultural events in Italy, and welcome, because I always say that Italy is a nation full of different cultures and traditions and certainly these events give space to make known their own traditions and culture, and therefore we are honored to be part of it, alongside Albano, an Apulian DOC, who has never forgotten his origins and there is also Madame (she is a singer) who is a young woman, like us. Hence the importance of carrying the roots, ALWAYS, in any situation, in any place.”
When the music begins our guys sing the National Anthem of the region in Griko which is a mixture of Italian and Greek. Another language to add to their list!
Griko is unique to this region but there are other regions, in Italy, that speak languages other than Italian. In many Arberesh villages where the people are Italian, Albanian and Greek they have their own languages. My grandfathers’ town Vaccarizzo Albanese is an Aberesh town and they have retained the archaic features of both Gheg and Tosk dialects. Many of the words they spoke at the festival, I understood. It was a beautiful experience for me.
The guys performance was magnificent. From the first larilò larilò lallero to the last, the whole stage was alive with their voices and a rhythm and beat that I can’t get out of mind! You could see how much the guys were enjoying it. Their interpretation of this beautiful song was awesome! Festivals are at the heart of the Italian people. They love them! This song is so full of joy and happiness.
The dancers were wonderful! Through the dance, they told the story of the people, of their labors and, their joys. The hardship of life and the happiness of home and family! Their singing and the dancing was very uplifting. And the guys’ interaction with the dancers and musicians on stage brought the whole story together. They brought the audience into the song and together they presented the history and culture of the people. This was very unique and the guys helped us to see another culture within their Italian culture. A magnificent delivery of the beautiful Anthem of the Griko people! Truly an amazing event!
Next stop Venezia! Talk about an exciting event!
Where do I begin…
In the afternoon the guys attended the award presentations where they were presented as winners of the 78th Film Italy Movie Awards. Upon exiting the building, they were interviewed by an unknown man…
Man: This is not Sanremo, this is the cinema exhibition!
Piero: But it seems a little like Sanremo, we meet, all familiar faces.
Gianluca: We are preparing a very ambitious recording project which is a tribute to maestro Ennio Morricone. We had the opportunity to collaborate with Vittorio Storaro in a music video, so we are here in the company of a great master of cinema, Vittorio Storaro.
Ignazio: He chose our voices for a tribute of the video of “Your Love,” which is shot in the Frasassi Caves, and therefore it is beautiful, this is not the first time we come here. It is always a beautiful atmosphere. Venice is a place that is stupendous.
Later in the day, the guys appeared in their transport to Lido. What do we see here? We see three elegant young men who are on the brink of a new direction in their lives. Not leaving all that they are and all they always will be, we know they will never leave the concert stage, but taking the next step on their road to greatness!
What we’ve been watching these last few months, every time we see the video of the Frasassi Caves, is the guys embarkation on a new and wonderful experience in their lives. They are the stars of this Short Film. They are what makes this film possible. Vittorio Storaro’s genius and the presence and voice of Il Volo have made this movie an award winning production.
To help you understand this better let me tell you what Storaro had to say about this…
The idea actually comes from what we have been through all this last year, the disgrace that has happened to us from the pandemic, which has closed all the arts a little.
But then there was an idea which came from Pirandello, who said: One, Nobody, One Hundred Thousand (the title of a Pirandello novel), and in this case becomes a Once Upon a Time, as the project of Il Volo and the music of Ennio Morricone, start from Once Upon a Time in the West, directed by a great director, Sergio Leone, with the music of Morricone, the subject of Bernardo Bertolucci and Dario Argento, so there is a whole series of characters that carry some new message.
A message that also becomes a hope, not only in the present, but also in the future, because if before, once upon a time there was Nobody, where art enters, in this case Music and Singing, which is represented by Il Volo, the song with the music of Ennio Morricone “Your Love,” brings a new energy, energy that practically becomes: Once upon a time there was no one, and now Il Volo ~ over and over!
So we will see that Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio multiply.
When they descend from that blessed rope where the first boys went down here in the caves many years ago (50 years ago), it is a little like entering a seed into mother earth and thus forming a new generation, which is the generation of the future.
Il Volo, in this case becomes a symbol, as, not only does it enter the womb of the earth, it first regenerates the energy of life, but it can do it in all the squares, in all the theaters, in all the places of the world, and that, certainly is what music is, nevertheless it carries a great message of love.
Storaro was so right that carrying their music around the world will revive the music industry through this project. Through it the music will be alive again.
So that also sums up where our guys are headed! A part of their new direction. Presenting this movie throughout the world. It is our guys bringing a message to the world. A message of hope and love for all people and all nations!
So let’s rejoin the guys on the red carpet.
Along with the Storaro family we find Storaro’s newly adopted family Il Volo.
These guys certainly lit up the red carpet. Elegant in their Dolce & Gabbana tuxedos there was no lack of interest in their presence.
How did the guys feel in this moment? Perhaps the words of Ignazio in a Rappler interview sums it up. “It was amazing working with Maestro Vittorio Storaro, remembering all the most beautiful moments that he spent with the Maestro Morricone….It is our dream. The three of us will be on the red carpet with Vittorio Storaro.”
Of course Ignazio was referring to, Vittorio Storaro, their director, the veteran director who won three Oscars, including one for Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece, Apocalypse Now, which he and the director shot in the Philippines.
The new short, dedicated by Storaro to the master composer, Morricone, who passed away in 2020. A clip of the movie was premiered at the fourth edition of Filming Italy Best Movie Award on the occasion of the 78th Venice Film Festival. And as you know Storaro won a Best Italian Film award and so did our guys for their starring role and their song “Your Love.”
Next the cocktail party…
Did you notice where all the women flocked to? Our guys! Who could resist these gorgeous guys. They grace the room with their presence. When they enter a room it lights up.
Italy what have you to say about your guys now. You have got to be so proud of them. Look at how they shine in the world! But there was never a problem in recognition. We in America have always been proud of them and called them our own. I hope this project will allow them to spend more time in the US! Maybe at the Academy Awards. Although we will only see the film for the first time on September 25th at the premier at the Frasassi Caves we already know how important this project is and how beautiful this film is.
Let them lose on the red carpet again! Our red carpet in America!!!
From this project we can see so many more projects like this on the horizon.
We are so proud of the award they won at the 78th Venice Film Festival, but that was only the beginning!
Next stop Verona…
Do you ever feel when they’re in Verona, they are home? I certainly do. To me they own the Verona Arena. Every performance there is phenomenal!
They returned to the Seat Music Awards to sing their beautiful song, “Your Love” and to pick up their second award for the week!
While writing this I remembered a year ago when they were at the SMA. It was to restart the music industry.
I’m going to go back to the story I wrote about the event last year. “Turn on the Lights”
I know we will never forget the night before the performance when the guys went to the Arena to check out the lights. It was beautiful and funny at the same time. Let’s pop in to listen to the guys conversation:
Ignazio to Piero: What are you doing?
Piero: What are you looking at?
Ignazio: The light that is there.
Gianluca: It’s Beautiful.
Ignazio: The gorgeous light. Gorgeous! Gorgeous!
Of course, Piero pulled out his phone and started to video.
But what was it about the lights that got Ignazio’s attention? Well they were as Ignazio said, “La Luce Stupenda! “The lights were gorgeous,” but I think he was thinking about the last lights that he saw on stage. When they turned off the lights at their last performance in the US and went home to a country in pain from a pandemic!
When the guys arrived on stage, they had a message for the world and all people in the industry:
Ignazio: 2020 will be remembered as the year where the world would be constrained to be turned off.
Gianluca: For the music employees the verb “turn off’ means the end of the show, when the curtains close and it is the waiting moment for the next show, but this time the waiting lasted more than expected, the silence was unavoidable.
Piero: Now, the world is getting ready to start again! Now the moment has arrived to raise the curtain! Now, we will turn on the music!”
This beautiful statement was followed by the performance of the evening. Their choice of “Nessun Dorma” sent an even stronger message. It’s says we may have to perform under these new world conditions, but we don’t have to change who we are or why we’re here. In this ancient Arena we look to the past while following the path to the future.
From their first note the whole arena lit up. Their voices were clean and crisp. Their presence was illuminating. Their notes rose above the Arena into the night sky to let the world know music is back! The final note of their song sent the final statement. All three voices rose in unison and their voices sent forth a note that took our breaths away! It said We Have Returned! ”Turn on the Lights.”
Isn’t it ironic that one year later they win an award for the short film Frasassi Caves for which they are represented as regenerating the energy of life? Music is their energy!
They so deserve this award.
So let’s get back to this weeks’ performance at the Arena.
Prior to the guys performance, the stage was set up with multi color lights but when the guys arrived on stage, I think they were even surprised. The stage was lit as it was for last years performance. Very simple, very plain but what was going on in the audience was a totally different story. All phones were lit up. It was magic.
They stepped on stage in their beautiful but informal all black attire. Elegant in its simplicity!
As they come face to face with the audience, I could see the emotion in their faces.
Look at how these people love them and how they love their fans!
And then it begins. …
This song is slowly becoming a signature song! A song that reminds us of sadness but brings us to a new and exciting time in the lives of our guys! It’s as if Vito left them a final gift, a new and exciting adventure in their lives. It is the song that will lead the way in their new tour around the world. Always before them will be this song and the movie which has already and continues to make its mark in history!
At the end of the song, Vanessa Incontrada and Carlo Conti spoke with the guys about the Tribute to Ennio Morricone at the Verona Arena.
Gianluca greets everyone, “Good evening!”
Carlo: “Il Volo, to start these SEAT Music Awards in the best way.”
Vanessa: “And what an atmosphere theycreated for you (the audience), with all the mobile phones on, great emotion I saw in your faces.”
Gianluca: “We are happy to see you again.”
Vanessa: “Us too.”
Carlo: Us too, us too.
Gianluca: Finally in the Arena.
Vanessa: Finally, but it has now become your home.
Carlo: In short, I mean, you did an extraordinary event on RAI1 just dedicated as a tribute to Maestro Morricone.
Piero: We had the honor of paying homage to Maestro Morricone here at the Arena of Verona, for us, the audience, for an artist, for a singer, it is oxygen. It was an evening full of guests, but for us, the biggest guest was the audience. After a year and a half, to see them again, sing for them!
Vanessa: We understand these words well, but will you take this event to the world? I guess so.
Ignazio: Yes, we start in March 2022, we finally start with the world tour and we finish in September – October, from America, we end up in Japan and then New Zealand, so beautiful.
Vanessa: You have many things to do, let’s say.
Ignazio: Yes, but it is wonderful, after almost two years, to start singing again. I remember that a year ago, in this same program, we said …. let’s hope it starts again, the music can’t stop and meet again after a year and see that the music has never stopped, it’s beautiful!
Vanessa: Seeing them (the audience), as you said, involved with you, is nice.
Carlo: A beautiful concert, a beautiful television event, but there is a tribute album to Ennio Morricone, when will this album be released?
Gianluca: Let’s say that it is a very ambitious project, that with great responsibility, right on tiptoe and a lot of humility, we decided to undertake this path which is a musical project that is a tribute to all the most beautiful soundtracks of the maestro Morricone.
Piero: And tonight we announce the date.
Gianluca: Yes, because this record will be released on November 5th, from Cinema Paradiso, to Once Upon a Time in the West, to the Good, the Ugly, the Bad.
Vanessa: His greatest songs, let’s say.
Gianluca: And we can’t wait to start the tour.
Carlo: Well a great album and therefore it will be released on November 5th.
Then Carlo presented the guys with their DIVA award…
Carlo: I seriously read the inscription: Arena di Verona Award for Il Volo, for the tribute project to Ennio Morricone, represented with great success right here at the Verona Arena, live on RAI1, and for the over 10 years of career, which led them to be known and appreciated representatives of Italian music in the world.
And so we come to the end of the events of the last week. But….
We’ve gone from Melpignano to Verona but what about Beyond. I said the end of the events, not the end of the story. So we follow the guys no matter where they go from Melpignano to Verona and Beyond but, where beyond?
Let’s listen to what Gianluca had to say about their future….
“Our dream is to see The Ecstasy of Gold performed at the Academy Awards.”
That works for me! Onward to the Academy Awards! Hope to see you there!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
And here is another of the events of this hot September that has arrived: the SEAT Music Awards.
Il Volo participated and received a special award.
Do you remember, during the press conference that Il Volo had before the concert in Verona, the mayor had said that Il Volo would be rewarded with a specially made statue, which represents a woman with the Arena on her head as a crown.
This award was presented to them last evening.
Rehearsals for the show began in the afternoon at the Verona Arena.
Here is a short video of the singing rehearsals.
Even if very short, you have certainly recognized Your Love. Too bad there will only be one song.
They were briefly interviewed by RAI Radio 2.
Click the photo below to view the video.
NEK = Here we are guys.
PIERO = Good evening gentlemen, welcome. (Piero pretends to be the one running the program) 😁
GIANLUCA = But it’s not you …..
NEK = You can’t steal the show ….
IGNAZIO = He had also prepared the sheet !! 😁
NEK = What should you have said ???
PIERO = (pretends to read) And now we have Il Volo, Arena of Verona special award ….
WOMAN = Guys, you were really, really good, when you were conducting (the concert), because you conducted in every sense, we have to say it, really in a very nice way, this is my opinion and I wanted to tell you ….
IGNAZIO + GIAN = Thank you
PIERO = Are you sure you have watched the whole program?
WOMAN = I watched it and I did all the live coverage on RAI2.
PIERO = OK
WOMAN = I was commenting on the live broadcast, so I followed it all.
PIERO = Thanks
WOMAN = Because you have kept the freshness of your years, if I may say my opinion.
IGNAZIO = Look, if you want I can tell you a little anecdote from that evening.
WOMAN = You’re welcome
IGNAZIO = We were preparing the show and, as is done in all TV shows, the spoken words were all written. The day before, during the dress rehearsal, we eliminated everything and said “let’s go free” (he means without reading the hunchback) , because it’s not us, we are three guys who like it ….☺😉
NEK = Therefore you should have read the hunchback ….
IGNAZIO = Yes, instead we only read the institutional things, and I also got them wrong ….
WOMAN = No, that’s not true, you did well
IGNAZIO = Like the Legambiente ad with the turtle Carella, Casella …
WOMAN = Caretta Caretta, he didn’t even learn it later …
GIANLUCA = Yes, he didn’t even learn it later (laughter)
IGNAZIO = So I screwed up, but we had fun.
WOMAN = This is very nice and above all it was nice to do it in that context, when you had “a giant” to deal with. (I think she means live RAI)
NEK = Now, what do you do ?? A trip around the world, always ??
IGNAZIO = Now we start in March of next year, finally with the concerts, we start from America, then there is all of Europe, Japan, New Zealand …. we have fun.
NEK = Ohhh, good luck then.
WOMAN = Guys, then have a good trip. What can I tell you now, have a good trip and a good concert.
GIANLUCA = Good flight, because we will take so many planes.
WOMAN = It is usually better not to say it (for superstition)
IGNAZIO = No, you can say it, we go against everything.
NEK = Bring me a present.
WOMAN = Thanks guys, thanks to Il Volo.
IGNAZIO = November 5th !!!
They were interviewed by Radio Italia(for now there is only the photo).
Before the evening!
GIANLUCA = Please, don’t miss the SEAT Music Awards tonight.
I’ll show you how beautiful the Arena is.
And here we are at the evening.
What thrills this song, what poignant memories it evokes. Always beautiful the execution by Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio.
The three of them, good, beautiful, dressed with informal elegance.
The response of the audience was very nice, slowly turning on the Arena with thousands of lights, a gesture that surprised even the boys.
Only one song, unfortunately, but what a song.
Here is the interview after the song.
GIANLUCA = Good evening everyone.
CARLO CONTI = Il Volo, to start these SEAT Music Awards in the best way.
VANESSA INCONTRADA = And what an atmosphere they (the audience) created for you, with all the mobile phones on, great emotion I saw in your faces.
GIANLUCA = We are happy to see you again.
VANESSA = Us too
CARLO = Us too, us too.
GIANLUCA = Finally in the Arena.
VANESSA = Finally, but it has now become your home.
CARLO = In short, I mean, you did an extraordinary event on RAI1 just dedicated as a tribute to Maestro Morricone.
PIERO = We had the honor of paying homage to Maestro Morricone here at the Arena di Verona, for us, the audience, for an artist, for a singer, it is oxygen.
It was an evening full of guests, but for us, the biggest guest was the audience.
After a year and a half, see them again, sing for them!
VANESSA = We understand these words well, but will you take this event to the world? I guess so.
IGNAZIO = Yes, we start in March 2022, we finally start with the world tour and we finish in September – October, from America, we end up in Japan and then New Zealand, so beautiful.
VANESSA = You have few things to do, let’s say. 😉
IGNAZIO = Yes, but it is wonderful, after almost two years, to start singing again.
I remember that a year ago, in this same program, we said …. let’s hope it starts again, the music can’t stop …. and meet again after a year and see that the music has never stopped, it’s beautiful! 😘❤
VANESSA = Seeing them (the audience), as you said, involved with you, is nice.
CONTI = A beautiful concert, a beautiful television event, but there is a tribute album to Ennio Morricone, when will this album be released?
GIANLUCA = Let’s say that it is a very ambitious project, that with great responsibility, right on tiptoe and a lot of humility, we decided to undertake this path which is a musical project that is a tribute to all the most beautiful soundtracks of the maestro Morricone.
PIERO = And tonight we announce the date.
GIANLUCA = Yes, because this record will be released on November 5th, from Cinema Paradiso, to Once Upon a Time in the West, to the Good, the Ugly, the Bad.
VANESSA = His greatest songs, let’s say. (of Morricone)
GIANLUCA = And we can’t wait to leave (to start the tour).
CARLO = Well a great album and therefore it will be released on November 5th.
The ARENA DI VERONA award, depicting a diva, a wonderful diva who has a crown on her head that has the shape of the Verona Arena, and was made by the sculptor Rudy Capatta, is delivered by two champions: Marco Giallini and Giorgio Panariello.
(after the greetings, Carlo Conti reads the inscription)
CARLO = I seriously read the inscription:
Arena di Verona Award at Il Volo, for the tribute project to Ennio Morricone, represented with great success right here at the Verona Arena, live on RAI1, and for the over 10 years of career, which led them to be known and appreciated representatives of Italian music in the world.
Many beautiful photos:
Piero, Gianluca and Ignazio with the Arena award. ❤❤❤
But certainly and undoubtedly, this is the most beautiful photo. ❤
A gesture full of meaning, which we can all understand.
A direct line with those who are no longer there, a silent dedication.
The two friends who hold him close and a look up there.
Gianluca is very different from Piero and Ignazio. He had a calm and peaceful childhood. He didn’t have the challenges that Ignazio had or the intense classical education that Piero had. No, Gianluca lived a very simple life. Perhaps that explains why Gianluca is a romantic. With him, everything is about passion! Like his passion for Abruzzo which he takes around the world. On tour he always speaks about Abruzzo. He loves his country and, he wants others to love it too! I agree with Gianluca, Abruzzo is an amazing place. My maternal grandparents were from Abruzzo!
Gianluca’s life began in the small town of Montepagano where he lived a simple life but, when he emerged, he began a journey that would take him around the world and through his amazing voice would leave his mark in every corner of that world.
Let’s listen to how Gianluca describes the town he grew up in:
To be precise, I grew up, in Montepagano, on a hill two hundred meters as the crow flies and ten minutes by road from the sea, and Roseto degli Abruzzi.
The accents are beautiful, the dialects are beautiful, but I can say that what I prefer is the Abruzzese? I am, very, proud to be from Abruzzo. I love everything about this region. And I like to bring Abruzzo around the world and keep it high.
I am right at the sea. I’m relaxing, I’m calm! There is a sea breeze and nothing else. It’s Thursday and I am practically alone on the beach. I’m fine, from God! I’m fine because I’m home.
When Gianluca goes home to Abruzzo, he feels like he is on vacation. Montepagano is a very beautiful town. It sits at the top of a hill facing the Adriatic Sea. It is like a picture-perfect postcard! It’s no wonder Gianluca is at peace here. Montepagano is Gianluca’s paradise.
If you ask Gianluca about this paradise and how he spent his childhood there he will tell you, “My life as a child seems so far away. I remember, very, little of my childhood! It’s like twenty years have passed but, only five have passed. I’m not like Ignazio I was born and raised in Montepagano. I was traveling only with dreams. What made me dream? Music naturally.”
And, so, we come to perhaps Gianluca’s greatest passion, Music! Or let’s say our greatest passion about Gianluca, his music!
As you know, Gianluca’s mother worked, so, he went to after-school session with the nuns. He had a teacher named Gabriella. One afternoon, while Gianluca was doing homework, he suddenly got up and started singing “Time to Say Goodbye.” The teacher was speechless. “What a voice you have, what a wonderful voice,” she told Gianluca. “But do you know Andrea Bocelli?” She could not believe how it was possible for such a small child to have such a voice and to know a singer of that kind. “Of course, I know him,” Gianluca said, “he’s my idol, my favorite singer,” Gianluca said this with a certain pride. “Only I do not have his CD yet.” “I’ll bring it to you tomorrow, I’ll gift it to you” was the teacher’s answer. “I was seven, maybe eight years old and thanks to Gabriella I was able to start listening to Andrea Bocelli as often as I wanted.”
Yes, this was Gianluca’s passion as a young boy to sing Bocelli songs. And he sang them all the time. But it was music itself that motived Gianluca. In an interview with the “Rosetana Star” Gianluca said: “Music for me is the oxygen of my life.”
And it wasn’t just Bocelli as Gianluca will tell you. “As I grew older, I became more passionate about singing, including the great American classics, first of all Frank Sinatra.”
So, let’s turn to the Voice! Sinatra was known as the Voice. But I think Sinatra would be in awe of Gianluca. Love you Frank but Gianluca’s got this one!
Gianluca is known as the Velvet Voice!
I don’t who coined the phrase but, that is right on. Let’s use our senses to understand what that means. Take a piece of velvet and hold it in your hand. Now take your other hand and gently pass your hand across the velvet. What do you feel? You feel a smooth even surface that is crisp with no breaks in it. The sensation is so good that you automatically go back and do it again. And every time it’s the same. It’s pleasing!
Now take Gianluca’s voice, let the notes pass into your ears, what do you hear? A crisp, smooth, even voice with no breaks in it. The note barely passes into your ear and, you are going back for the next note. It’s always pleasing!
Gianluca is a lyrical baritone. He is exceptional because he can sing from the lowest to the highest note in the baritone range. Most baritones are limited in range. Gianluca’s voice is huge. He has a very rich chest resonance which creates a feeling of depth and drama in his voice.
A baritone’s voice is very romantic, very pleasing to listen to and is always inviting. Most songs are written for baritones. Gianluca starts, almost, every song. Why? In order for a song to be received well you must draw your audience into it. Gianluca’s voice draws you in in a romantic way and you hang on to every note. He can mesmerize you with songs like “Mi Mancherai” where he reaches into the depth of his being and yours. His interpretation of “Surrender” is electrifying. But, when Gianluca sings, “She’s Always a Woman”, he takes your breath away. The highs, the lows, the emotion, the expression. His voice expands like nothing I ever heard before. He has total command of the song. You walk away with your senses lifted to another level.
So, let’s turn to how Gianluca got to where he is today! To do this I need to introduce you to the Zecchino d’oro .
Why the Zecchino d’oro or perhaps you’re saying what is the Zecchino d’oro?
I was first introduced to the Zecchino d’orolast November when an article came out saying the Zecchino d’oro will be postponed due to Covid 19. The presenters of the year would be Mara Venier and Carlo Conti.
When I read this article, I immediately thought of Gianluca. So, what is the Zecchino d’oro and what does it have to do with Gianluca?
The Zecchino d’oro is an Italian tradition. It is an event for kids, and it is dedicated to them and to all the adults who still feel like kids.
This show is presented every year between late November and the beginning of December.
In Italy there are magical days, when it starts to get cold, and children stay in their warm homes. It’s not Christmas, but the period that precedes it when the famous Zecchino d’oro TV show is broadcast. It has been broadcast every year, for decades. It was established in 1959 by Cino Tortorella who was the good presenter who introduced the children on stage, disguised as Mago Zurlì. He was so loved by all children.
The Zecchino d’oro is the festival of the little ones. In fact, if the Sanremo Festival is aimed at adult audiences and the songs are interpreted by adults, the Zecchino d’oro is made for children, with songs tailored for children.
The songs may seem like simple songs but, they are actually much more. Special attention is given to the songs’ texts. The themes are about tolerance and peace. And this is confirmed by the expression of the event: “In this contest, the winner is not the child who sings, but the song that is sung!”
Father Berardo Rossi, one of the founders, discovered by chance, a girl who used to teach the children of his parish and organize events. Mariele Ventre, who was 22 years old, had just graduated from the Verdi Conservatory in Milan and was on her way to a promising concert career. She said yes to Fr. Rossi’s proposal and the adventure began.
Mariele liked the name Zecchino because it refers to the gold coin in the field of miracles of Collodi’s Pinocchio and thus it was called Zecchino d’oro. She founded the Piccolo Coro two years later, an institution that she would direct passionately for thirty years, until the last day before she died on December 16, 1995. Upon her death the Piccolo Coro dell’Antoniano, was renamed Piccolo Coro for Mariele.
Zecchino d’oro, however, is not only music and entertainment, but it has also been carrying out voluntary initiatives by raising funds to build schools, hospitals, orphanages, with projects all over the world, to help the less fortunate live better lives.
In 2008, the Zecchino d’oro received an amazing recognition from UNESCO, becoming a world heritage for a culture of peace: the first TV show in the world to receive such a prestigious award.
This year the images were to be reassuring to Italy. The country had the strength to bet on good feelings and a strong idea of safeguarding children.
Though you may not know this show in America, we can relate to one of the characters, Topo Gigio, the puppet created by Maria Perego. Topo Gigio landed in America many years ago on the legendary Ed Sullivan Show. For those of you who are not old enough to remember Topo Gigio, let me say we waited every week for his appearance on the show. For us kids and the adults he became a household name. Seems hard to believe that this little mouse stole the hearts of the American people.
So where does Gianluca fit into all of this? If it wasn’t for the Piccolo Choir of Roses which was inspired by the Zecchino d’oro, Gianluca may not have been discovered.
Gianluca was a member of the Piccolo Choir of Roses which is one of the local branches of this choir. The Mago Zurlì, who was the presenter of the event when Gianluca was in the Choir, was Gianluca’s father, Ercole Ginoble.
But, let me let Gianluca tell you how this all came to be….
When I sing, I don’t forget instinct. What does that mean? As I said, I have never studied singing. I learned to “use” my voice only thanks to my musical ear. I listened to the music and, it transmits everything I know. And I especially thank the Little Choir of Roses.
When I was about eight or nine, all those who knew my voice gave me 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 event, was my father. He had been for a couple of seasons.
This is where I started. It was nice because we studied the songs throughout the winter season, not the technique of singing, the songs. It was different, because we did not study the notes and how to do them, rather we studied instinctively, following what the teacher said and what our ear heard.
Then, in the summer, we demonstrated our work in the Municipality of Roseto. We sang in the squares during the local festivals, in the lidos, in the bathing establishments, around the whole of Abruzzo, all these tiny villages.
During the performances with the choir, besides the repertoire of the Zecchino d’oro, we sang the songs of Bocelli: Misere, Il Mare Calmo Della Sera, La Voce Del SilenzIo.
Of course, the greatest achievement for Gianluca and the guys was winning Sanremo! We know that it was Gianluca who convinced the guys to go to Sanremo! Or rather Gianluca convinced Piero who convinced Ignazio. And, in the end, Gianluca sums up Sanremo and the events that follow in this way!
The truth is that I was right from the beginning and, no one has ever listened to me, ever. I believed it so much that, if you notice, maybe I’m the one with the least surprised look when Carlo Conti announces the winner. Then, of those moments, one remembers little, there is great confusion, emotion. It was a dream to be able to shout, “Thank you, Italy!” from that stage. I looked at Sanremo as a child, when there was Pippo Baudo, and I was there and have won because people were on our side and it was a dream, I repeat even if I have already said. The emotion was only when my grandfather told me almost in tears: ‘Who would have told me that in my life I would see Modugno win at the Festival and then I see you win.’
On Sunday evening, when I returned to Montepagano, I found th whole village in a party, not just my grandfather: my countrymen were waiting for me from the morning to celebrate. There really was everyone, including the mayor. And then, the journalists, the local TV and a crowd of people who we could not count.
Another of the beautiful things that came after San Remo was the chance to meet the children of the Agbe, the Association of Parents of the Emopatic Children, of Pescara.
It is a reality born in 2000 from the idea of a group of parents, in fact, with children from the hemopaths treated at the Santo Spirito hospital in the city. The purpose of the association is to give support in every way to the children and families during and after the period of treatment. An initiative that, for those like me and very sensitive to the problems of health of children, and really beautiful.
The thing that honors me a lot and that, inspired by my story with Ti Lascio Una Canzone, they thought to have the children dedicate to singing, so they organize a Christmas show every year that keeps them very busy and also a lot of fun. But at Agbe they would never have thought we would meet.
Instead, after the Festival I went to see them, all young patients from 4 to 15 years, and I invited them to our concert of Il Volo Live 2015 in Chieti because I knew that Piero and Ignazio would have been happy to meet them. And, so, it was: they came, they had fun and we spent time together taking pictures and signing autographs.
But Gianluca is about emotions too! And many things that happened after Sanremo were emotional for Gianluca! Like Gianluca receiving a prize for bringing Abruzzo around the world. Let’s listen to Gianluca talk about the emotion of winning this prize.
When I talk about emotions that arrived after Sanremo, I cannot forget what it meant to receive a prize like Abruzzese that gives prestige to its region in the world.
Every year on August 5th is celebrated the Day of Abruzzesi in the world, a day set up with a regional law to remember all the emigrants. On that day five ambassadors of Abruzzo are appointed in the world, that is, Abruzzesi who have come out of the regional boundaries for different reasons and give prestige to their region.
For example, they awarded a university lecturer, a cardiologist, the founder of a cultural association, an entrepreneur and a successful executive. The ceremony, which has a different location every year, was held in the Fortress of Civitalla del Tronto, a village that is a jewel of the province of Teramo, right on the border with the Marches.
I, however, am still in Abruzzo and therefore I cannot be appointed ambassador according to regional regulations, I was awarded with a beautiful statuette that replicates the warrior Capestrano, for having brought the name of my land around the world.
I cannot tell you what a feeling it is to receive from the regional Presidency the cultural symbol of my region. The original of the warrior stands in the National Archaeological Museum, more than two meters tall, of limestone, with a large disk helmet that looks like a hat. You see it for sure. And it is one of the things I’m most proud of.
In short, Sanremo was just a dream that brought us many different emotions.
Gianluca has a heart of gold! It’s always about helping others whether through his generosity or his love of his country! That’s just how Gianluca is. He has his hand in everything and reaches it out to those who need it!
But it seems I digressed!
So now, let me go back and sum up Gianluca’s musical career! Although Gianluca never studied music he did develop a musical ear and instinct and as a member of the Piccolo Choir of Roses and his performances around Abruzzo, he was discovered by Licia Giunco who brought Gianluca to Rome to audition for Ti Lascio Una Canzone. The rest of the story is history!
And as a result of this, Gianluca Shares His Amazing Voice with people all over the world!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!