Tag Archives: Carlo Conti

Melpignano to Verona and Beyond!

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.”

IL VOLO with Albano on stage

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!

Notte della Taranta stage from the audience

Performers on the Notte della Taranta stage

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.

IL VOLO performing on the Notte della Taranta stage

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.

Dancers performing on the Notte della Taranta stage

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…

IL VOLO being given their Film Italy Movie Award by Tiziana Rocca

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.

IL VOLO riding in their water taxi

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!

Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio in Dolce & Gabbana tuxedos Photo of IL VOLO posing with the Storaro family

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.

IL VOLO with their Film Italy Movie Award

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!

Left to right: Gianluca, with Ignazio gesturing toward heaven Piero on stage after they sang Your Love

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 they created 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…
IL VOLO 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!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email:  susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com.

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

SEAT MUSIC AWARDS 2021 by Daniela

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.

IL VOLO on stage at rehearsal

Gianluca at rehearsal

Ignazio at rehearsal

Piero at rehearsal

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.

IL VOLO being interviewd on RAI Radio 2

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 !!!
IL VOLO being interviewed by Radio Italia
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.
IL VOLO with an unidentified man
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.
IL VOLO with VANESSA INCONTRADA and CARLO CONTI
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!
Closeup of Piero singing
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! 😘❤
Closeup of Ignazio singing
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).
Closeup of Gianluca singing
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.
(final thanks)
IL VOLO on stage singing
Many beautiful photos:
Ignazio closeup on left with photo of the Morricone tribute concert on the right
IL VOLO singing on stage
Piero closeup on left with photo of the Morricone tribute concert on the right
IL VOLO on stage
Closeup of Gianluca singing
IL VOLO with their award
Piero, Gianluca and Ignazio with the Arena award. ❤❤❤

 

But certainly and undoubtedly, this is the most beautiful photo. ❤
IL VOLO on stage with Ignazio gesturing upward toward heaven
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.
Also this time a well deserved prize !!
Daniela 
Other beautiful images:
IL VOLO backstage walking down steps

IL VOLO with VANESSA INCONTRADA, CARLO CONTI, Marco Giallini and Giorgio Panariello

IL VOLO singing on stage

IL VOLO singing on stage

IL VOLO singing on stage

IL VOLO smiling on stage after their song is done

IL VOLO backstage with Antonella Clerici

IL VOLO with their award and with their manager Michele Torpedine

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

Gianluca Shares His Amazing Voice

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!

A young Gianluca eating a cookie A teenage Gianluca wearing a hat

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.

Gianluca in sunglasses and a leather jacket

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’oro last 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.

Black and white photo of Cino Tortorella talking to a little girl on the show Black and white photo of the Zecchino d’oro TV show

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!”
Black and white photo fo Mariele Ventre teaching children 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.

Topo Gigio

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 as a member of the Piccolo Choir of Roses

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.

Left to right: Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero in front of a Sanremo 2015 sign Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero

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.

Gianluca in a brown jacket looking over his shoulder Gianluca in a white long sleeve dress shirt taking a selfie photo

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!

Gianluca holding a microphone singing

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!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email:  susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com
*Excerpts from Il Volo, Un’avventura straordinaria, La nostra storia.

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

To Go or Not to Go ~ That is the Question!

After performing at the Senate, the guys woke up one day and decided perhaps we should go to Sanremo!

Il Volo performing for the Italian senate

This to me is one of the most challenging decisions they had to make in their lives. We all take chances in life but, this was a little different. If you go to Sanremo and you win then it was worth it. But, if you lose, it’s not just losing the competition, it’s losing your country, your people! No recognition! This is what was at stake. How do you decide with so much at stake? It’s tough!
The one thing that was difficult for the guys from the very beginning was the fact that they were not recognized in their own country.
Ignazio would say, A “prophet is not recognized in his own land.” Perhaps, but that doesn’t change things. It doesn’t change the feeling that you get when you are asked the big question. “You are loved even in Italy, right?” and as Piero said, “You have to answer no.”
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I’m going to take a moment here and vent because there is much more to that answer than “no.”
I have followed the career of these young men from day one and I am so proud of their accomplishments as I know many of you are. I see how they have grown and how much they are loved by their fans, all 5 million of them (and those are just the ones we know about).
Nothing bothers me more than how these men are treated by some of the Italian press, not just now but, from the beginning. It’s not about the Italian people. I know the Italian people love them but, many in the Italian press do everything in their power to mock them and mistreat them. It is disgraceful!
What was it that fifteen-sixteen year old boys could have done to cause the press to be so unkind, so mean and so vicious? If you don’t like a performance, you don’t have to give them a good review but, you have to respect what they do.
In March at Sanremo 2021, one reporter wrote “When they came on, I turned off my TV.” This is what I have to say to that reporter. Shame on you! These three men came to Sanremo with broken hearts, especially Ignazio and, this is how you treat them. They showed such professionalism just by being there and this is all you can say! They showed such love and respect for their country and the Italian people just by showing up. Where is your respect for your country, for your people, for your profession?
Everyone was so sad for these men and all you can think of reporting is that you “turned off your TV.” Perhaps, it’s time you turned off your career because you need to learn something about respect. The ink from your pen can tell a truth or a lie but it can’t talk about the integrity of the person who’s using the pen!  But, of course, integrity is something you know nothing about!
Having said that, let me say, over the last few years, so many Italian journalists have changed their opinion of Il Volo. I think this is because they finally stopped and listened to them and they recognize the value of what they do.  Not to mention all the good work the guys do in and for Italy! And we know they bring Italy around the world! They are good Ambassadors for Italy and the press is finally recognizing it! So happy you got on board!
That’s all I have to say on the matter!

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Let’s move on to the great things that happened!
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!

Left to rightLeft to right: Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca in front of the Ariston doors

The Decision

So where do you begin to make the decision. Well, you have to start with the decision itself.

Who’s in and who’s out!

Who’s in? 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.
Who’s out? 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?
IL VOLO outside the Ariston Theater with confetti flying

The Song

Gianluca: I did not agree to go with that piece. If I think about it now, I’ll say that the next time I have to 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 …

Il Volo with Francesco Boccia and Grande Amore song writersCiro Esposito

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 said: ‘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.

Left to right: Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero singing on stage

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.

The Wardrobe!

Gianluca: Can you imagine for me this was also my birthday: I turned twenty on Ariston’s 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.
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 into Gucci. 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.

Left to right: Ignazio, Gianluca, Michele Torpedine and Piero dressed in blue and white

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?

The Performance

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.
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?

The Win

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.’

The guys of IL VOLO holding up the Sanremo trophy

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. Too bad it was not repeated also in Vienna!”

Many of you know the winner of Sanremo goes to Eurovision to represent Italy. After winning Sanremo and the popularity of “Grande Amore”, the guys were pretty confident they could win Eurovision. And to some degree, Ignazio believed it too!

Left to right: Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero on the stage singing at Eurovision

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. The extended play “Sanremo Grande Amore”  was released in Italy on February 20th, 2015 and it was certified triple platinum by FIMI. At the Latin Billboard Awards, they dominated the social networking sites and now, they win the televote and the best song according to collective voting by the accredited press. The people have spoken!

So, they gambled and, they won. They were happy and they finally felt accepted in their own country. It seems that everything worked out well but there’s a little piece of the puzzle missing.
To really finish this story, we need to pass back Through the Fields of My Mind down the corridor that led us here and enter the day-by-day reality of Sanremo!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

ZECCHINO D’ORO MUSIC IS TURNED OFF BY COVID by SUSAN

An announcement was made this week that the 63rd edition of the Zecchino d’oro will be postponed due to Covid 19. The presenters of the event this year Mara Venier and Carlo Conti will have to wait until May 2021 for the show to be broadcast on Rai 1.

When I read this, 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, it has 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 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 and 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.

So, 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 is history!
And as a result of this, Gianluca shares his amazing voice with people all over the world!

 

Credit to owners of all photos and video.