Tag Archives: Montepagano

WAITING FOR VERONA by Daniela

I started the translation of this radio interview with Gianluca, immediately after it happened, but then, the events with the postponement of the tour and the sale of tickets to Verona, I never finished the translation.
Now I have finally finished it, I’m sorry you had to wait a long time. This is an interview made by Radio Roma by the spouses “Perrollas”, Federico Perrotta and Valentina Olla.

Woman = The adrenaline has risen a little, we feel we are on an international stage, because detonating, was the news that we have hosted Gianluca Ginoble of Il Volo, who very courteously lent himself ……
Man = Yes, but make a fair presentation ….
Woman = I try …. Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honor for us to be able to chat ….
Man = No, no this is not good, something more international is needed:
“Cummare e cumpare (ladies and gentlemen in Abruzzo dialect) we are really pleased to have here, on Radio Roma International, Gianluca Ginoble, nu cumpare (meant as a friend, in Abruzzo dialect) from Abruzzo”.
And here he is, hello Gianluca !!
GIAN = Good morning, good morning everyone. I see you speak Abruzzo, we have this thing in common (Federico is from Abruzzo).
Man = Sure, indeed In your honor, I put on a shirt, let’s see if we can frame it, can you read? Look here.
GIAN = So … wait, wait, I can’t see it, wait for the shot …. SUN CAP REAL (laughter…the inscription could be translated about so “I am a real goat” in the sense of blockhead, one who understands little. It is a shirt that students wear when there are 100 days to go to the final exams and they go to S. Gabriel to make gatherings of students where they pray and have propitious parties for the exam.) 
Read in this way, it looks like an English word, but NO.

Gianluca with his hand on the side of his head leaning on something

Man = Exactly but this t-shirt is based on fake English, which instead means something else for us.
Were there the 100 days of St. Gabriel for you too, the 100 days before the exam?
GIAN = No, I kept it out. But in S. Gabriele (it is a place with a sanctuary) I went there with my grandfather. Every now and then we go there, take a day in the mountains and then we stop to eat there. I am very attached to my grandfather, so we go together every now and then.
Man = Meanwhile, social networks are going crazy, there are greetings from Argentina, France. There are those from Argentina who are unleashed.
Woman = There is a very young 91 year old fan of yours
Man = A groupie
Woman = 91 years old, Mrs. Lia loves you with all of herself, a very young fan of yours.
GIAN = I greet you, but I also greet another die-hard fan who is Grandma Maura, that’s what I call her, and I greet her, since she is in Rome and is listening and watching me right now.

Gianluca with Nonna Maura

Man = How nice !! Meanwhile, I wanted to thank your dad, Ercole, who acted as a hook for this live phone call.
Listen, let’s talk about lightness, we are both actors and live artists, is there something you miss, with contact with people?
GIAN = It is our life, that of being in contact with the audience, that of transmitting emotions, and also our audience, in a certain sense it helps us to bring out better what we feel inside and then it is clear we can play or singing at home too, but it’s certainly not the same thing, it’s not like looking people in the face, but we’ll be back soon. I would like to say that we are preparing a concert at the Verona Arena, on June 5th, and it will go live on RAI 1 and will be a tribute to Maestro Morricone. It is a new project, the CD will be released soon and then we will leave for the tour in 2022, we hope, bringing the great melodies of the master.
Woman = Listen, international stages, you have lived them from an early age, the big stages have seen you grow and mature. In the meantime, congratulations for being able to support all this, it is not easy, it is not easy to do it in a group, and we are truly honored by the talent you have and the prestige you bring to Italianness.
We would like to know if you have any anecdotes to share, funny, something that happens behind the scenes, we are crazy about these things.
GIAN = The incredible thing, when we went around the world, from Los Angeles to New York, I come from Montepagano, from Roseto degli Abruzzi, I didn’t speak English and neither did my colleagues, so you can imagine that to be able to have the hair dryer, we said “Phon” and rightly at the reception they gave us the phone, then with our hands we made the gesture of combing and they gave us the comb, and then we blew them on the hair to make them understand !!!
Gianluca in a mask at the press conference
Man = Surely it was also difficult to be understood on tour, by the technicians who spoke another language, at the beginning anything will have happened.
GIAN = Yes, but these are the things that give you the strength to improve, because you can’t always make yourself understood with gestures, you have to learn the language, otherwise it’s hard !!
Woman = Can I ask you if you have been aware of success from the start?
GIAN = Let’s say that little by little you realize that what was initially a game becomes your life, but the memory of when I was a child must remain, because it is what gives you the strength to be truly yourself, without success you change, in fact it doesn’t have to be that something that changes you, and if you can keep the enthusiasm of the child, it makes a difference and people notice it, when you are on stage, when you talk to someone, this is the most important thing, never lose that authenticity, which somehow makes you unique.
I’m talking about the whole group, of course.
It is a way to always be yourself.
Man = It’s an important thing, because, as you say, the audience feels it. There are some questions, someone writes to ask Gianluca how he can bear all the tension in cheering on Roma (football team).
GIAN = Look, I have to be honest, since Totti (captain of the team) left, I am no longer able to follow Roma as before.
Man = Have you seen the TV series about Totti?

Gianluca laughing

GIAN = Yes of course, I saw him with my father. Since Totti left, I can no longer have that passion, I follow football, but it was he (Totti) who tied me to the team, more than anything else, by the way I greet him, maybe he is listening to the radio.
Woman = What a sincere statement of admiration ….
GIAN = Of love …
Woman = Yes, of love, even if in my opinion, there is an undisputed queen, Ilary (wife of Totti), a great woman.
GIAN = Of course, they are a beautiful couple.
Man = Beyond the declarations of love, we are flooded with declarations of love for you, and seeing you so beautiful, in the early morning, I love you too, (laughter), I too make this declaration to you.
Woman = Yes, because here in chat they arrive: I love you, I dedicate my life to you, I greet you, it seems they are for us , but they are all for you.
Man = We went to a concert in Civitella di Chieti, we were between 8000-9000 people that evening and there was a beautiful dedication to your family and your land, which is always present in your stories, Abruzzo and then the grandfather, if I’m not mistaken, with whom you have a special relationship.
GIAN = I am proud to be Abruzzese, I love my land, by the way my two colleagues always make fun of me, because wherever we go, I always put Abruzzo in the foreground, and they tell me, but the region (Abruzzo) pays you?? We are strong and kind (the people of Abruzzo) there is nothing to do.
It is clear that I am very attached to my roots, to Montepagano, Roseto, the sea, my family, especially my grandfather. Grandfather is the love of my life, grandfather Ernesto is my great inspiration.
Woman = I want to ask: to go up on such prestigious stages, with Barbra Streisand, was there any time when your legs trembled?

Relaxed and smiling Gianluca

GIAN = These are sensations that help you express your best, without those, you can’t give your all on a stage. Even when your voice trembles while you sing, it is that natural emotion that you feel.
Woman = It is wonderful to talk to you, your availability, your normality, denotes that if you are a great artist.
Man = Is it because we are people of the country, do you want to understand it?
Woman = He carries on the theory of Abruzzo, you are great because you are Abruzzese, my husband is really terrible.
Man = I want to know something, when you get angry, because things are not going well, do you shout in English, in Italian or in your mother tongue?
GIAN = (He speaks in Abruzzo) What are you saying? In Abruzzese, when you get angry you speak in Abruzzo tongue.
Getting angry in English makes no sense. (laughs)
Man = It doesn’t even have the same strength.
GIAN = No, no.
Man = Well, we are very happy and to thank you for your availability towards us, I read the greetings from “I am Carmen and I write from Spain”.
Woman = It must be said that the affection of fans from all over the world has arrived. They can’t wait to see you live again, I think the part of contact with the fans during a concert, is missing a lot, but on June 5th it starts again.
Man = Back on stage at the Arena with a concert which will then be live on RAI1.
Well, Gianluca, what to say a greeting from everyone, it was a great pleasure, a very strong hug and we hope to see you soon.
GIAN = I hope to see you soon, maybe …. let’s eat two rustelli (he says it in Abruzzo, it’s about roast meat)
Man = But the good ones, the ones on the coals.
GIAN = Well done, well done.
Woman = Thanks Gianluca, and happy Sunday.
GIAN = Goodbye !!

Gianluca dress in black getting into a car

Gianluca, always available, on May 19th, also made another connection with the fifth grade classes of Cologna Spiaggia (town of Abruzzo). Here’s what the school’s Press Office published after the connection with Gianluca.
“Never stop believing in your dreams, pursue your goals with commitment and everything will be possible” 🤩
This morning a really exciting interview: GIANLUCA GINOBLE Il Volo meets the pupils of the fifth class of Cologna Spiaggia. When a dream comes true …  
It was an exciting meeting, GIANLUCA in his naturalness told about himself and, aware of being a model for the boys, he sent them important messages based on values such as love for grandparents, the care of true friendship, pleasure. of reading, the tenacity and determination in achieving one’s dreams.
A heartfelt thanks from the students and teachers of the fifth class of Cologna Spiaggia!

Gianluca speaking remotely to the fifth grade classes in Abruzzo

Gianluca speaking remotely to the fifth grade classes in Abruzzo

Gianluca speaking remotely to the fifth grade classes in Abruzzo

Gianluca speaking remotely to the fifth grade classes in Abruzzo

Gianluca speaking remotely to the fifth grade classes in Abruzzo

Gianluca speaking remotely to the fifth grade classes in Abruzzo

Gianluca speaking remotely to the fifth grade classes in Abruzzo

Gianluca speaking remotely to the fifth grade classes in Abruzzo

Gianluca speaking remotely to the fifth grade classes in Abruzzo

Gianluca speaking remotely to the fifth grade classes in Abruzzo

Bravo Gianluca for these beautiful messages given to children, who in this period of pandemic have really had to endure restrictions and prohibitions.
Meanwhile, the Paris concert has also been canceled.
There is news on other concerts but honestly it is nothing official.
Here is the newspaper article that I translate for you.

La Voce Article – Click Here

The entourage of the trio of most famous tenors in the world has announced the new dates of the concerts of the Best of Tour of “Il Volo”, initially postponed from 2020 to 2021: the new calendar is being updated, but the live shows are already scheduled. Germany, Croatia, Poland, Bulgaria and Romania. The concert in Opatija (Opatija) which was to be organized on July 1st 2020 will take place on July 4, 2021. The hope is that the health situation is such as to guarantee a show in the name of normality, including tourists.
Lovers of opera, Neapolitan music and cross over with Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto and Gianluca Ginoble will have the opportunity to spend a memorable evening at the Open Air Abbaziano. The flight will later perform at the Atlas Arena in Lodz, Poland on July 10th – tickets are already available online. Finally, the Best of Tour, which originally was to pass through Bulgaria and Romania in July 2020, will now touch Plovdiv on 6 July 2021 and Bucharest on 8 July, again this year.

Gianluca, with Piero and Ignazio, getting into a limousine

Now I want to cheer you up a little with this beautiful clip of Gianluca singing in the car, together with his friend Giuseppe Di Stefano.
And finally, enjoy this nice video on the Il Volo alphabet !!

There is one last piece of news, Sunday 30 May, Il Volo will be the guest of the television broadcast DOMENICA IN, where they will advertise the Verona event and on 2 June, for us a national holiday, Festa della Repubblica, they will sing the national anthem, from Verona.
That’s all for now.
I can’t believe that in a week I’ll be in Verona and I’ll be able to see our young men live again.
I will also see some dear friends again.
Hope the staff will let us film.
I cannot wait.
I think you all know that Italy won Eurovision 2021. I’m happy with that, but hard rock is certainly not my genre, but all music is beautiful and must be respected. Il Volo also nicely sent its “good luck” to the Maneskin in the race.
Things here in Italy continue to improve, we hope to continue like this. I too had my first vaccine.
Daniela 

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

 

Mr. Ambassador!

The Lion has roared! Sanremo is over and a new phase begins in the life of Il Volo.
It’s 2015 and the guys are on top of the world. They won Sanremo but above all they won the hearts of the Italian people. They were home! They were finally recognized by their people!
Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio in black and white suits - Piero has a red bow tie
Now what?
Let’s listen to what Gianluca had to say about returning to Montepagano after Sanremo….
“On Sunday evening, when I returned to Montepagano, I found the whole village in a party, not just my grandfather but all my countrymen were waiting for me from the morning to celebrate. Everyone was there, including the mayor. And then, the journalists, the local TV and a crowd of people who we could not count.

Gianluca taking a selfie in Montpagano with the hometown crowd behind him

In a certain sense, the post-Sanremo celebrations continued until August 8th, 2015, the date of our concert in Chieti.”
This concert was important to Gianluca and he wanted to invite some special people to it.
Gianluca continues, “I went to visit the children of the A.G.B.E., the Association of Parents of the Emopatic Children, of Pescara. They ranged in age 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 signing autographs for the kids at A.G.B.E.

A.G.B.E. was born in 2000 from the idea of a group of parents 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.
Gianluca continues: “The thing that honors me most is they were inspired by my story with Ti Lascio Una Canzone.  These people have the children dedicate every year at Christmas time a show that keeps them very busy and the children have a lot of fun doing it.
Chieti was a very exciting moment of the tour but there were many if I think about it. Even just the fact of having scheduled twenty-five dates – from Locarno, in Switzerland, in Trieste and then up to Taormina, Palermo, Malta and the final date at the Arena of Verona, passing through Brescia and Rome, just to name a few – all sold out! That was an immense emotion.”

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

But, before we talk about all the emotions, let’s take a step back and see where this all began in December 2014….
Two months earlier!
On December 28th, Piero, became an honorary “Ambassador of Naro in the World”. The ceremony took place at the Baroque Church of San Francesco. Ignazio and Gianluca were also present.

Piero being declared honorary Ambassador of Naro in the World, with Gianluca and Ignazio also present

It was obvious that many people from Naro and the surrounding area would attend so a large screen was placed outside the Church to accommodate all those who weren’t able to get into the church.
The event was presented by Totò Nocera, a doctor and artist from Narese, who recalled all the connections between Piero and his hometown of Naro, to which Piero has remained and will always remain very attached.
Piero and his guests Ignazio and Gianluca visited the monuments of the Fulgentissima Città Barocca. They also took part in the street festival sharing food with their fans and tasting typical local products.
Naro for Piero means family. It is in Via Verdessa, in the sant’Erasmo district, that Piero calls home.  Via Vanelle, on the other hand, is the street where Piero spent most of his childhood. It is the street where his grandmother Rina and grandfather Pietro Ognibene lived.

Left to right: grandmother Rina, Piero and grandfather Pietro

Mr. Ognibene is a highly esteemed storyteller of the town and he writes poetry in the local dialect. He is at the heart of what Naro is about and he is at the very heart of Piero. It was Pietro who first heard Piero sing and believed that he had great singing skills.
In 2005, a landslide destroyed Via Vanelle but Piero decided to meet with the surviving inhabitants and share his affections with them. This is one of the oldest streets in Naro.

After this event it was announced that the guys would sing at Sanremo 2015. It was also announced that the winner of Sanremo would go to Eurovision 2015.
After the guys won Sanremo, the people of Naro crowned Piero “Baruneddu” of the city. “Baruneddu” and “Prince of Naro” are the names that fans have chosen for their darling, Piero. The first is the dialectization of the artist’s rather noble surname, the second alludes to Piero’s iconic responsibility to represent Naro in the world.
The victory in Sanremo represented for the Naresi a confirmation of the great talent of Piero, already demonstrated on the occasion of his participation in the Talent show that gave him notoriety in 2009, Ti Lascio Una Canzone (I leave you a song), when he was just a shy boy hidden behind his big red glasses, today they have become for him almost a distinctive sign.
Let’s turn to Ignazio to see what happened when he returned to Marsala….
“On February 18th, 2015 the president of the City Council of the City of Marsala, Enzo Sturiano, gave Ignazio a Gold Medal making him Ambassador of the City of Marsala in the World.

Ignazio’s remarks that day stayed in the minds of all present for a long time. Let’s listen to what Ignazio had to say….
“There would be many things to say, because it’s really unexpected, starting from a small city like Marsala and beginning to study a little for fun, and then after 11 years, you’re ambassador of your city, so it’s really something inexplicable. It is also difficult to explain the emotion, but what I can say is in recent years, sometimes I was also criticized by Marsala, people thought I was a haughty guy, who had found the opportunity to go on air to Rai1 and has become who knows what!!
What I have learned, and I do not want to be a teacher, is that before judging a person, one must know him. (applause)
The problem we have today is that many people judge immediately, instead of doing the actions, we all judge and say only words.
In fact, here today, I came with a friend of mine, he came to my house. I unfortunately was not there, but when I went home, we talked about it, it’s this boy here . . . get up.
What’s your name? Antonio Maniscalco?
Well, this guy is an Italian boxing champion, right? Lately I’ve heard people say that Marsala has recently forgotten about her talents and is only interested in me.
Instead, I hope that Marsala is aware, even of these small but great realities, that they are like him in boxing and many other people in all sectors, because Marsala is full of talents.

Ignazio cutting a cake as he is being honored in Marsala

What I wanted to tell you, is that I am the first who would like to have a friend ambassador, in fact, I’m the first one who would like to share the emotions with another person, but I think that many people speak only to talk, and to get out the air from their mouth.
I wanted to say thank you, because in recent years I felt supported by Marsala, and, apart from the politics, with Enzo there is a great friendship.
I have always pulled back with regards to politics because in my position it is always better to avoid, but with Enzo there is a friendship that goes beyond politics, he is a beautiful person.
And then there are all of you here, I think that in the end there is always something that unites us, in this case THE MUSIC unites us all.
We may be acquaintances or friends but, in the end, we are all the same, we are all in the same place, so sometimes I think there is no need to make any difference.
So, I wanted to say thank you to all the inhabitants of Marsala and the city council.
(applause, people shout Mayor you, Mayor you and Ignazio respond to them)
I would not run a city ….. I must be mayor of my life, first of all.
Thank you very much for this nomination, I am truly honored and, I hope I will never disown this nomination, because it is really nice to be ambassadors of your city and I hope to always bring prestige to this city.”

Ignazio being handed a memorial plate with inscription

I think the thing I love best about Ignazio is he is very truthful and, he always presents it as he sees it and, says it as it is! Bravo, Ignazio! Spoken from the heart!
Outside the Town Hall, everyone sang Grande Amore with Ignazio.
So, let’s return to Gianluca….
So as Gianluca said, on Sunday evening, when he returned to Montepagano, he found the whole village in a party, not just his grandfather but all his countrymen were waiting for him from the morning to celebrate.
Gianluca tells us what happened next….
“As happened to Piero in Naro and Ignazio in Marsala, the mayor appointed me Ambassador to the World from Roseto degli Abruzzi and gave honorary citizenship to Piero, Ignazio and Torpedine.

But before that happened, I was named, ‘Ambassador of Abruzzo 2015’ by the city of Roseto. The award for this honor was a statue depicting the warrior Capestrano, a well-known historical figure. The original statue was found buried in the soil by a farmer while working in his field and, it is now on display in the National Archaeological Museum of the Abruzzi in Chieti.
Every year on August 5th we celebrate 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.
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.

Gianluca holding the replica statue of the warrior Capestrano

I however, am still in Abruzzo and therefore I cannot be appointed ambassador according to regional regulations, I was awarded with the 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.”
Gianluca was also given an award by the publishers of the Eldos News, who named him “World Ambassador of the city of Roseto degli Abruzzo.” This award was a plaque in gold and silver made by the prominent goldsmith, Roberto Talamonti. Piero and Ignazio were also included in this event, being named Honorary Citizens of Roseto and receiving awards printed on parchment and roses made of silver.”
All the ceremonies ended with the Concert in Chieti. Piero and Ignazio were very happy that Gianluca invited the children of the A.G.B.E. They spent time taking pictures and signing autographs for the children. The guys had as much fun as the kids did!
These were emotional days for the guys. They were home, they were honored, they were happy and they were ready to take on Italy!
Three proud Italian Ambassadors to the World!

Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio in black and white suits - Piero has a red bow tie

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.

PBS…Only the Beginning!

Let me tell you about the day I fell in Love. Not with one guy but with three. I turned on my TV and there they were three handsome teenagers stepping on the stage at the Detroit Opera House. I had seen them before on American Idol and Good Morning America but, on this day, I would lose my heart to them.

Every note they sang went straight to my heart! Just amazing! Ever song they sang was wonderful but when they sang El Reloj something happened to me! I knew no other group would ever take their place in my life or my heart. They totally reached me with that song! For me I wanted the CLOCK to stop at that moment in time!
Why this song? They sing so many beautiful songs. What was it that captured me that night? It wasn’t so much about the song as it was about the voices. It was how natural the delivery was. Teenagers with such maturity! Such strength in their voices. Voices that flowed through the air! It was the simplicity of this song and how they delivered it that captured me.
Their voices form a symphony. Gianluca’s voice vibrates and expands to realms I’ve never heard before. Ignazio’s voice makes your heart stop as you journey along his notes that lead to absolute ecstasy. Piero’s voice fills all your sense and brings you to such heights that you have to stop and breathe.
If you want to present a voice, in this case three voices, this is the way you do it. They were together such a short period of time and yet they were perfect!  And it went beyond the voices. It was their personalities, their presentation, their interaction with the audience. They were young but they had it all.  They won the people with their voices but, they totally captured them with their charm and personality.
A few months ago, I wrote a story “On the Road to PBS” about how the guys got to where they were. So, I’m going to revisit some of that story so you can see how they came to the PBS stage.

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

Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca grew up on PBS. From their first concert on October 27, 2011 at the Detroit Opera House, they won the admiration of the American people and stole their hearts. They have done six concerts with PBS over the past 10 years. And now for their 10th Anniversary, PBS will televise the Tribute to Ennio Morricone in America! Great news for America especially since we not only love our guys but also love the music of Morricone. A marriage made in heaven.
When they began, they introduced America to a new style of music. Operatic pop! A very different kind of music for teenagers. Their aim was to show young people how good this music is. They won over the children, parents and grandparents. They were an immediate sensation. America fell in love with them. But where did it all begin for them. Let’s listen to what the guys had to say about how they were discovered.
Piero will take us back to his grandfather, Pietro Ognibene’s, back yard where he is swinging on a swing that hung from a mulberry tree. His grandfather was sitting on the veranda, as he usually did, at this time of day. His grandfather has been blind for many years and so he always had a tape recorder with him which he used to record music and poetry. Piero’s grandfather is also a singer. On this day he was recording a little Sicilian song which Piero said his grandfather wrote. So, let’s listen to what Piero had to say…
“I was swinging on the swing, I was about four or five years old, I was really, very small. I listened to him a little and at a certain point, when he stopped singing, I started: E lu suli, talia, talia, talia. Sopra ‘sta pedra luci ci duna. What can I tell you? It just came out like that.”
His grandfather turned off the recorder and called his wife. Rina came out on the terrace and he asked her, “Unni è Piero?” (Where is Piero?)
She replied, “In Altalena” (He is on the swing)
Pietro asked, “Ma cu cantava? Iddu?” (But who was singing? He?)
She replied, “Eh, si.” (yes)
He told Rina to call him.
So, Piero got up and went to his grandfather. Pietro lifted him up and put him on the table next to the recorder and told him to “sing the song again.” Piero sang the song exactly as his grandfather sang it. And so it begins….

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

Ignazio’s discovery would come about because of Nina’s pianola.
Ignazio remembers, “When I was three or four years old – I played with the piano my parents had given my sister, Nina. My mother says I was one years old when I played. Nina taught me to play Happy Birthday with one finger.”
Nina’s famous pianola gave Ignazio an passion for music.
Ignazio continues, “I do not remember the first day of school, but I certainly did not take long to get noticed. If you’re thinking of scenes of me being put in the middle of the class to sing, forget it. I had a passion for music but, I had an even greater passion for pranks. I tell you, since I started talking and walking, mine was an escalation of agitation.”
But as Ignazio explains, this agitation passed and the most important event in his life began to take shape…
“With the passage of time, I found something good to do at school, that is, an activity that was able to hold my interest enough to prevent me from slipping into some disaster. I joined the school choir. I always liked to sing, to be ‘in the middle’ of the music. And more and more passionately I began to understand how to make better use of Nina’s famous pianola. I learned how to start the musical bases and flip through them. And that’s when I discovered La Donna È Mobile. I liked it so much that I sang with the base and invented words. I don’t remember the words but, it certainly was a song about Pavarotti. Having seen Pavarotti on TV, I knew he always had a big handkerchief so I would invent text and sing on the air La Donna È Mobile.”
It seems at three years old Ignazio was already composing wonderful music!

LefPiero with his arms across the shoulders of Ignazio on his right and Gianluca on his left

Gianluca tells us that his life was different from Ignazio but, in many ways like Piero’s.
“My life as a child seems so far away. I remember very little of my childhood! I’m not like Ignazio I was born and raised in Montepagano. I was traveling only with dreams. What made me dream? Music naturally. Dad and mom realized that I had something special in my voice when I started to sing at the age of three or four years.
My parents tell me when I was three years old, I sang ’O Sole Mio in the town square in front of all the elderly gentlemen friends of my grandfather who, sitting around the bar table, were listening to this little boy with such a particular voice.”
Each boy has now been set on the road to PBS so where did they go from here?

Left to right: Piero, Gianluca and Ignazio with a beautiful backdrop inside a music hall

Over the years, each boy approached his musical education in a different way.
After his discovery in the garden, Piero embarked on a classical music education.  He began piano lessons at the age of 8. At 10 years old he joined the Little Singers of the Philharmonic Association – Santa Cecilia of Agrigento. And then he began the competitions around Sicily.
In Marsala, Ignazio sang with his first singing teacher Lilliana Andreanò. He continued his singing lessons moving on to other teachers as he progressed. He took three years of piano lessons. He also participated in competitions around Sicily. Even after moving on to other teachers, Ignazio continued his relationship with Lilliana Andreanò. She advised him every step of the way right up to his audition at Ti Lascio Una Canzone which she convinced him to do.
Gianluca, unlike Piero and Ignazio, never had a singing lesson or piano lesson. He joined the Piccolo Choir of Roses. At one of their events, he was discovered.
As you know they came in first, second and third on Ti Lascio una Canzone. But their biggest win was becoming Il Volo.
After American Idol, they did many shows but the one show that really set them “in flight” in America, was the PBS special “Il Volo Takes Flight.”

Click photo below to view the LAaRT interview.Left to right: A web link showing Piero, Gianluca and Ignazio on PBS

Their concert was shown on PBS stations across the US and Canada.
After they performed on PBS, things really started moving. They were now bringing their bel canto around the world. One of the most memorable moments of their lives was touring with Barbara Streisand.

After seeing the guys on the PBS special, Barbra Streisand invited them to join the “Back to Brooklyn” tour. They were an integral part of the tour. They performed with Barbara Streisand in 12 of her shows in the United States and Canada.
Their first ever live album titled “Il Volo Takes Flight” was released in 2012.
The hit “Il Volo” rose to first and second place in the Billboard Classical Crossover charts.
In 2013, ”Más Que Amor” was certified “Gold” in Mexico and Argentina and, this catapulted the guys into the Latin market. From that day on they took the Latin market by storm.

In February 2014, they receive two nominations at the 2014 Latin Billboard Music Awards, as “Top Latin Albums Artist of the Year, Duo or Group” and “Latin Pop Albums Artist of the Year, Duo or Group.” At the awards show they were awarded as ”Best Group of the Year in the Latin Pop Album” category and they also won the “El Pulso Social Award,” as the artist who dominated interactions on social networking sites during the Billboard Awards. This is unheard of! Three Italian kids taking over the Latin market! What a win!
But for the guys, the close of 2014 was the highlight of it all!

The Christmas Concert at the Italian Senate on December 21, 2014 gave them new hope for their presence in Italy.  Ignazio wrote in their book: “We want to talk about the thrill of singing in front of the highest offices of state! What twenty year old boy has something like that happen to him? It happened to us, and it seems to me a beautiful result, an honor. You cannot imagine the emotional feeling to be called ‘guests of honor’ inside the Senate. We were accompanied by the, fantastic, Filarmonia Orchestra Veneta conducted by Diego Basso. Half the beauty of the song is in the orchestra.
The most exciting moments? Every one! But the hymn of Mameli was the heart-pounding one, the first song, singing in that place, with everyone singing along with us, including Giorgio Napolitano(President) and Pietro Grasso (President of the Senate). It is one thing that I cannot explain.
And then, of course, the pleasure of shaking hands with the President of the Republic and of feeling that he knows Marsala, he has been there.”
What a way to close out 2014 but, what would happen in 2015 would set them on a new path, one which they hoped for from day one.
Next week we follow the guys as they make a big decision which will determine their future! This is a journey that will lead them back home. We follow the guys along a very bumpy path with many twists and turns that lead Through the Fields of My Mind….
If you would like to share a story with me, please email susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com

 

Last week I received and email from Sharon Bear in Detroit. Sharon wrote:
I had received a clip of Il Volo from a 90+ year old man in Marco Island. A dear friend. That promotional clip was maddening in that I could not play it enough – dancing with my Rottweiler who was deaf but learned to feel the music, his front paws bouncing up and down as I held them up and danced.  He enjoyed my playing the song.  Same song. Oh about 1000 times more or less.
It became part of my being. (The song. The guys’ voices. The air is different when you listen).  I wondered where they were going to perform. Then it hit me – hey!  Detroit is a major music market!  Duh!  “Maybe” they’ll perform here!!!  Clicked a few links and voila!!!  They were coming to the Fox Theater for a concert in a couple weeks. “Donation” to PBS was $40 for a ticket. I ordered my ticket as quickly as I could dial the phone.
At that concert it finished. The Capture of me. I’d try to explain it but why try. You know what I’m talking about so no need to “Preach to the choir”.
Then at the end of that concert they announced that in 10 days the guys are coming back to film a DVD at the Opera House. You can buy a seat in the audience for $40.  They would pass out seats in the order the calls came in for tickets. Oooookkaayyyy.  How should I time my call?  Not too early to be staring straight up at the lights and not too late and be sitting in the rafters. I called an hour or two after it opened. Not everyone is going to know these guys so, seats won’t be sold out too early I figured. I was right.  And it was a God-thing as we say.  My seat was right on the end of the third row, front and center. It was the families first row. Music producers, labels, financiers’, directors second row. Then me!  Third row!!  Yessss.
I woozy with the thrill of these voices. Their boyishness yet adult focus and performance.  I’ll remember this forever I realized.  Then came The Song – the song everyone knows, ‘O Sole Mio. People applauded, yelled when they recognized it. In mid-song Piero and Ignazio entered the audience from side doors singing their solos.  Women young and old reached to touch them as they passed in the aisles singing.
Piero walked directly toward my row, casually stopped beside me, reached down and took my hand. Huh???  What?  Is this real?  I’m having a serenade of this song by Piero???  Yes. It is true. And, sadly, to say all the muscle memory in my arms and hands reverted back to those 1003 times I had taken my Rottweiler’s paws and bounced up and down with him to the beat of the song. Yes. Like a muscular stuck in a rut moment, I started to bounce Piero’s hand up and down as he sang.  But I did “get a grip” and cherished the happening. Sometimes looking back at the video, I want to yell at myself – “that’s not the dog!  It’s not dancing with the dog!  It’s the ‘real Piero’ singing it!  Ok. Whew. You quickly realized it was real and enjoyed it.”  Too funny.  How we can react when amazed and shocked.  The brief goofiness didn’t count. The stirring reality of being part of this Birth of these guys coming into the world as a force of goodness, music and unity which will change lives and enrich in ways beyond music    That evening was a thrilling episode in life I always will hold close – and now I’ll remember it’s Piero’s hands and how the world felt being serenaded that incredible memory.
What makes this letter so absolutely wonderful is I found the video to go with it! Enjoy!

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

CHRISTMAS WITH PIERO, IGNAZIO and GIANLUCA by SUSAN

Christmas with Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca!

Our Italian Family!

Yes, Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca are our family! Why do I call them family? We’re their fans, yes, but, we are more than fans. We certainly do all the things that fans do but it goes deeper than that because our guys are different than other entertainers. The difference is the guys think of us as their extended family. Why? Very simply because they grew up with us. They spend more time with us than they do with their families. And they show us their love in everything they do. Think of how they treat us! When you meet them they embrace you. Most entertainers just want your praise and accolades. Not our guys! They want to know about us! They ask about our lives and our families. They listen to us and do things to please us. And think about how you spent your last nine months listening to their music and feeling secure with every song! So what is family? Family are the people who are there when you need them. When you’re sad you can always feel their love and their encouragement! Family is not just blood it’s the people who are there for us!

So let’s take a look at how our Italian family spends their Christmas.

The Christmas season starts in Italy on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary which is also a holiday in Italy. This is the day that many Italians put up their Christmas trees and the cities light up their streets with colored lights. Why? Because Mary is the mother of the Light, Jesus! But there are other traditions that are celebrated on this day!

Let’s go to Naro, Piero’s city, to see how they celebrate the Christmas season.

Every year, on the 7th, 8th and 9th of December, every inhabitant in Naro stocks up on muffuletti. Muffuletti is a bread which is stuffed with meat and vegetables. Some people go to their local baker to buy them and some people prepare them at home. The tradition is linked to religion. Naro’s sandwiches are blessed and distributed in Churches at the end of the Mass on the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. The bakers donate the muffuletti to the Churches as a gesture of generosity towards their fellow countrymen but, above all, of love towards “a bedda matri ‘Mmaculata”, the Most Holy Immaculate.

During the month of December, the Christmas markets are held in Naro. The Fair is set up inside the cloister of the Town Hall. Many people go to the Franciscan cloister where, every evening, to the delight of the children, there is a special snowfall that whitens the baroque courtyard. On the final evening there is a concert of Sicilian folk music and an award is given for the best photo taken at the large Christmas tree in Piazza Garibaldi.

During this magical period the streets are colored by many Christmas lights and everyone visits the living nativity scene of Borgo Castello. There is Mass on Christmas Eve and between hugs, kisses and best wishes there are a thousand good intentions. And then, on Christmas day, the family gathers together for a dinner laden with many local delicacies.
And what would Piero do on Christmas day? Most likely, he will walk around Naro and visit some older people and his friends. He certainly would have decorated his home so I’m sure he will make a video for all of us to see. He will most likely sing at the Christmas Eve or Christmas Day Mass. And I’m sure he will spend time singing with his grandfather, Pietro. Most importantly, he will spend the day with his family!

Christmas in Bologna! How does Ignazio celebrate Christmas?

Unlike Piero and Gianluca, Ignazio and his family live in a big city and like cities in America there are many events.
The Christmas tradition in Bologna has deep roots. The Bolognese Nativity Scene (Presepe) goes back to the middle ages. The tradition of the Presepe dates back to the 13th century and one of the oldest Presepe in the world is preserved in Bologna. What makes the Bolognese Nativity different? It is life size and includes clothes that are different from the traditional Neapolitan style. They are dressed in a medieval style. In Porretta Terme in the Emilian Apennines another Presepe which is one of the oldest Presepe in the world is kept in the church of Capugnano.
I’m sure Ignazio will visit the Christmas Tree in Piazza Nettuno. It is a Bolognese tradition. The beautiful tree is a welcoming and bright place to meet friends and feel the warmth of Christmas.
So, what will Ignazio’s family eat on Christmas? I’m sure on Christmas Eve there will be fish on the table. This is the tradition in every Italian house on “La Vigilia,” Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, there is another tradition. Lunch is the main meal and Pasta in brodo (pasta in broth) will certainly be served. In Bologna, it’s all about meat-filled tortellini in capon broth. These, small, ravioli, are filled with a mixture of meat, mortadella and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese but you will find in Bologna every family has its secret ingredient for them. You’ll recall in a recent interview, Ignazio mentioned his family buying Tortellini every Sunday.

The soup will most likely be followed by a roast and the meal will end with a traditional dessert like Certosino (or Pan speziale) which is made with almonds, pine nuts, dark chocolate and candied fruits. The recipe has its origin in the Middle Ages where Certosino was produced by pharmacists and later by Certosini Friars. Certosino is very popular in Bologna.

Having said this, I will say, since Ignazio is vegan, there are certain parts of this meal he won’t eat. He will certainly eat the dessert! What I do know is by tradition, Ignazio will join his family to celebrate Christmas Day!

So what will Gianluca do on Christmas?

A Montepagano tradition is the Nativity scene. At the end of the last century a famous living Nativity play was started in Montepagano which is a real theatrical performance, with a director and a narrator.

In the Abruzzi region, there is a tradition that bagpipers, so called zampognari come into the towns and play their flutes and bagpipes for the people. They symbolize the shepherds who come in search of the new born baby, Jesus. The bagpipers were once shepherds, today they are musicians who walk the streets of the cities, playing Christmas music. Often they are in pairs and one plays the zampognari (bagpipe) and the other the ciaramella (which is similar to a small piccolo).

For certain Gianluca will celebrate December 24th, Christmas Eve with a meal of fish including shellfish because he lives by the sea. As far as food traditions are concerned, on Christmas Day, the typical dish of the whole region of Abruzzo is spaghetti alla chitarra (which is prepared on a particular instrument called a guitar, because it is made of wood with metal strings) but most likely Gianluca will eat Lasagna. The second course will be arrosticini, which are pieces of meat, traditionally lamb, strung on long sticks, similar to a kebab. And for dessert, they will most likely have the traditional Christmas cake, Panettone.
Gianluca will surely spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with his family including his Grandpa Ernesto!

If you’re wondering where Santa Claus is, in Italy he is known as “Babbo Natale,” Father Christmas, who brings presents to children on Christmas Eve but, in true Italian style, gifts are exchanged on January 6th the day of Epiphany when La Befana comes to Italian homes in search of the Christ Child and leaves gifts for the children. This is a tradition that is celebrated in the central regions of Italy.  La Befana is an old woman, with a hooked nose, badly dressed, with a handkerchief on her head, grumpy but good, she is not a witch. On January 6th, riding through the sky, flying on a broom, La Befana lands on the roofs, enters the houses from the chimneys and descends from the fireplace, leaving gifts and sweets in the big socks that the children place in front of the fireplace. If they were good, they get sweets. If they were bad, she leaves coal in the form of a sweet black candy. I’m sure there will be many sweets for Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca!

I would like to mention an important member of Il Volo’s family. Michele Torpedine!  His family is originally from the region of Puglia. He moved to Bologna when he was twelve years old. So he will celebrate Christmas with his family and the celebration would be similar to Ignazio’s!
I would like to thank two people who contributed to this Christmas story. Maura Pucci and Giovanni Granaro. Their knowledge of the regions of Montepagano and Naro and the different Christmas traditions made this story come to life!
In closing, I would like to thank two ladies who make all my stories come to life! Daniela Perani (a/k/a Sherlock Holmes) who is my second pair of eyes and provides all the photos and videos for my stories and Patricia Ward who does the layouts and final uploads for the stories.

I want to wish all of my Christian friends a Merry Christmas and all my Jewish friends a Happy Chanukah! And all my other friends, All the Happiness and Joy of the Season!

And finally I’m sure you will join me in wishing Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca and their families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with many Concerts!

 

 

Credit to owners of all photos.

COOKING IL VOLO STYLE 2 by SUSAN

Gianluca’s Pasta cacio e pepe – Pasta with Cheese & Pepper

Time to move on to Gianluca. He was a problem for me. The only thing I’m sure of is that he likes bananas and I think he has a sweet tooth. So where do I go from there?
I was listening to him speak with some friends on Instagram one day and one of them mentioned Verrigni. Gianluca lives in Roseto degli Abruzzi this is where the company Verrigni is located. Verrigni is a company that makes pasta.
Let me say Abruzzo is known for its pasta. Why?
The pasta is made with the finest semolina and the water is from the Apennine Mountains. The water that flows down from the mountains is the best in all of Italy. Gianluca has talked about the Gran Sasso even in some of the concerts.
Gran Sasso contains the Corno Grande, the highest peak of the Apennines. So, the idea came to me to make pasta from the region and make a pasta which I’m sure Gianluca has had at some time in his life.

GRAN SASSO D’ITALIA

So, I went on Verrigni’s website and I saw a pasta that my mother used to make and so it is the one I chose. My mother’s family is from Abruzzo. They are from Introdacqua (Introdacqua means, built in the water – for the abundance of water in the region).
Introdacqua is about an hours’ drive from Gianluca’s town. We are on the Monte Maiella (known as the mother mountain) the second largest peak in the Apennines.
Before I go on, I would like to say a word about Gianluca’s town. Roseto degli Abruzzi (Roseto) is known for its beautiful beach. It’s called the Lido delle Rose (Beach of the Roses). Its beaches are pristine. It is one of the most beautiful beaches on the Adriatic Sea.

This town was already inhabited in the Roman age. The most ancient settlement going back to those times is Cologna today a “frazione” of Roseto degli Abruzzi, which is often mentioned in medieval documents, above all in relation to the presence of the Monastery of San Salvatore in Bozzino. In the Middle Ages and for centuries Montepagano was the main center in the area. It is mentioned in several documents both for the presence of the Emperor Lotharius and because it was part of the possessions of the Abbey of San Giovanni in Venere. Remains of the ancient medieval fortifications can still be identified in the four entrance doors and in the Romanesque-Baroque belltower built in red bricks, belonging in the past to the now lost church of Sant’Antimo.
In 1251 Montepagano was included in the newly established Diocese of Atrii.
A beautiful town to live in! I’m sure many of you have seen the videos of Gianluca’s house and garden. Isn’t that a beautiful view of the beach from his garden?

So, the pasta I chose is: Pasta cacio e pepe – Pasta with Cheese & Pepper
This is a fast and fragrant dish made with a few ingredients:
Ingredients:
  • Pasta of your choice – I would use spaghetti or thin spaghetti (I don’t believe Verrigni pasta is available in the States. At least I haven’t seen it.)
  • Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • Peppercorns grated – you can substitute Black Pepper
  • Salt

How to prepare:
  1. Boil the water for the pasta with a little salt, since the Pecorino Romano Cheese is already very salty. When the water is boiling, add the pasta. Check the cooking time on the box.
  2. In a frying pan, heat a drizzle of oil with a grated pepper. This will emphasize the smell and taste of the pepper and give more taste to the dish. Add some of the pasta water – about a cup. Be careful adding the water. You are pouring the water into oil. Do it slowly and carefully.
  3. When the pasta is halfway done (soft but not ready to eat), remove it from the water but do not throw the pasta water out. Add the pasta to the frying pan. It will finish cooking in the frying pan.
  4. Mix the pasta well with the pepper and oil mixture in the frying pan. From time to time add a ladle of the pasta water until the pasta is al dente (to taste). Always leave some liquid in the bottom so it doesn’t burn.
  5. Turn off the stove. Add pepper. Mix quickly. Now start incorporating the Pecorino Romano Cheese little by little turning the pasta as you add it. The cheese will be melting. Add more cheese only after the previous one has melted.
  6. Transfer the Pasta to a serving dish, sprinkle with more cheese and pepper if needed. The pasta must be served when hot. If you let it lay it will get sticky.

I do hope this is something you will enjoy, and I wish we could all share it with Gianluca.
Serve with red or white wine. Of course, my choice is always Montepulcino d’Abruzzi!

Buon appetito!

Credit to owners of all photos and video.