The music was somewhat familiar, embarrassingly familiar, from the very beginning. The melody, the rhythm and the universe of harmony attracted me like a magnet, it was a relationship born (or rather, re-born…?) on the right rails: it went in the exact way without forcing it….a magic, perhaps a need. The relationship with the rest of the universe was instead (and still is) much less easy, even if serene, in the middle of the council houses of San Siro in Milan, in the late ’50s, early ’60s.
That’s where I was born and grew up in 1956, in the courts of Preneste road, Civitali road, Paravia road and Morgantini road, playing football, stealing vinyls to listen to a song, reading school books and begging my parents to allow me to study music, even if their answer was unfortunately the same every time…but those were hard times, when you were concerned about getting by, without having weird ideas. But in seventh grade I started to realize that I had to write my own music and with that old untunable EKO guitar that my parents finally bought me (…. great conquest..!), I started writing my first (experimental…) songs… horrible things, too long and wrong, but I had to start somewhere.
At the historical Vittorio Veneto high school, where I attended between 1970 and 1975, I could not believe that there were so many strikes: those were the times when I escaped to go back home and play my guitar trying to write something new.
The music slowly began to be more credible, strengthening more and more my passion and, in the meantime, I never quit listening to the “real” artists’ music….
I know, I wasn’t the greatest example of academic, political and social commitment, but I had a constant idea in my mind, and no intentions of giving it up…
Then, at nineteen years old, I signed my first recording contract, with the legendary Durium: I will never forget the hard but warm looks of the Mintanjans, who gave me my first chance.
Meanwhile I started studying Medicine at the Università Statale in Milan, which I attended until the sixth and last year, passing a fair number of exams, but always with the distraction of music and songs: there was no competition…
After this “bath” of more or less recent pictures of life, here is a totally casual list of songs written for many
great artists, maybe significant but absolutely incomplete: the order and the archiving were never my strongest point… Who would like to know more about this can take a look on the web.
I was always thinking about music, no disrespect intended to Pathological Anatomy, Physiology, Internal Medicine and General Surgery 1 and 2, and all the rest….
For those who have a good memory, at that time I received recognition with Idea 2 (Piero Ameli and I), thanks to a theme song written for Tele Montecarlo in those years called “She’s a witch”. The lyrics were written by Paolo Limiti.
But I’ve never been a great showman and my artist career lasted for a little time: I don’t stop to tell the anxiety on stage in Eurovision in Saint-Vincent, or the terror before entering on that of the Arena di Verona, even if it was in clear unashamed playback ….
My real passion was (and is…) writing and I followed my instincts tenaciously, even in the middle of difficulties which, I guarantee, were daily thoughts.
Then, as in the most beautiful fairy tales, something magical happened and transformed my life path, like meeting special people whose presence helped me sharpen the art of songwriting, people who I never stop thanking silently. Talent, if there is any, will definitely blossom just being with these kind of people; extraordinary artists that I had the fortune to meet and learn from, thanks to their immense artistic wealth.
Here, in strictly alphabetical order, is a short list of those whom I had the honor and pleasure to work with in these fourty plus years of music. Because of the impossibility to mention them all, I apologize to those I forgot:
Luigi Albertelli, Piero Ameli, Leonardo Amuedo, Oscar Avogadro, Charles Aznavour, Fabrizio Baldoni, Roberto Benozzo, Franz Campi, Al Bano Carrisi, Piero Cassano, Fabrizio De Andre’, Dario Farina, Fred Ferrari, Fiorello, Rodolfo Grieco, Dori Ghezzi, Gordon Kennedy, Mario Lavezzi, Paolo Limiti, Andrea Lo Vecchio, Cristiano Minellono, Mijares, Domenico Modugno, Ricardo Montaner, Trijntje Oosterhius, Laura Pausini, Fabio Perversi, Alfredo Rapetti “Cheope”, Romina Power…
and all the others.
Domenico Modugno – “Io vivo qui” (Sanremo 1983, guest of honor).
Sergio Dalma – “Una historia distinta” (Viña Del Mar 1993, album “Adivina”, 1992), “Yo siempre de ti”, “A tu lad” (album “Cuerpo a cuerpo”, 1995 and “En Concierto”, 1996): the first two tracks, have become his “classics” always present in his live repertoire, and sales exceeded 2 million albums.
Albano and Romina – “Felicità” (Sanremo 1982, runner-up). The SIAE has awarded “Felicità” as the best-selling Italian song in the period from 1982 to 1987, and it is for my good fortune and joy one of the most famous Italian songs in the world.
Raffaella Carrà – “Vuol dire crescere” (soundtrack for “Sogni” 2004 edition, lyrics by Antonello Venditti).
Ricardo Montaner – “Para un poco” (first single of the album “Las cosas son como son”, 2009), “Son amores” (same album), n.1 in the entire South America. “Para un poco” in 2009 was nominated for the Latin Grammy.
Laura Pausini – “Incancellabile” “Le cose che vivi” (album “Le cose che vivi”, 1996, published in over 35 countries around the world. It is the best-selling album to date by Pausini: over 5 million copies sold. “Le cose che vivi” won the ASCAP award 1998 as one of the most successful songs of that period. “Per vivere, Ricordami” (album “Tra te e il mare”, 1998).
Ricchi e Poveri – “Poveri” (album “Mamma Maria”, 1982).
Mijares – “Amor desperticiado”, “Veneno” (album “No me se acaba el alma” 2014).
Dori Ghezzi – “Buongiorno”, “Anni Fa” (album “Mamadodori”, 1980).
Fiorello – “Colpa Mia” (album “Saro Fiorello”, 1997), and the songs of the soundtrack of “Johan Padan alla descoverta de le Americhe” (2001).
Loredana Bertè – “Agguato a Casablanca” (album “Bandaberté”, 1981).
Cristina D’ Avena – “Mary e il Giardino dei Misteri” (soundtrack of the successful cartoon series , 1995).
Barbara Cola – “Libera” (single of the album “Barbara Cola”, produced by Gianni Morandi, 1995).
Trijntie Oosterhuis – “Blind” (album “Trijntie Oosterhuis” n.1 in Holland, 2003).
Natalia Estrada – “Oilì oilà” (“Quiero cantar” over 400.000 copies, 1998).
Paola Folli – “Lovin’ you”, “Se ci sarai” (album “Ascoltami”, 1998), and the songs on the soundtrack of “Johan Padan alla descoverta de le Americhe” (2001).
Ragazzi – “Siempre te amare” (album “Libre”, n. 1 in Mexico and Venezuela, 1998).
Grace – “Get it on” (album “Grace”, n.1 in Norway, 1998).
Jan – “Sola tu, solo yo” (album “Acariciame el alma” 1999, n. 1 in Mexico).
The albums Mohicans (2002), Mohicans chapter 2 (2003), Celtic Angels (2004) and Soul Africa (2007), with the Edel label. These albums explored the universe of ethnic music, with excellent results worldwide.
Mohicans was the Edel album of the year in 2002/2003, released in about
30 countries and climbing “distant” charts, such as the Philippines and Far East Asia.
The Soundtrack of the animated film “Johan Padan a la descoverta de le Americhe”(2001), based on a play by Dario Fo, produced and directed by Greenmovie and Progetto Immagine.
In the period between 2004 and 2005, there were great moments of fun with the songs of the mouse Geronimo Stilton, literary phenomenon for children, and, subsequently, the Christmas’ songs album of 2004, starring the mouse Geronimo, to the joy of many children.
In 2017 I wrote, with Fabio Perversi, the music for the Musical “Figliol Prodigo”, directed by Isa Biffi, at the suggestion and inspiration of Pope Francesco: a project of great social commitment, with the participation of detainees in the prison of Opera.
For me a great lesson in life, for the boys of the prison a great moment of redemption and desire to start again on the right side of the path of life.
I have also collaborated with Greenmovie (1999-2010), with whom, besides the albums with Edel and Dario Fo’s movie, was made music for television and radio commercials.
Here are a few: Kinder Ferrero, Honda, Rotoloni Regina, Limonce’, Rum Pampero, Findus, Tele Due, Chevrolet Matiz, Enel, Brioschi, Pirelli, Regione Calabria, Pocket Coffee, Carmencita Lavazza, Cornetto Algida, Parmalat,Toyota, Lovable, Maalox…
I confess that in that period we made so many that I’m forgetting at least a few hundred, just because I’m “beautiful and messy”…
but that’s how it goes!
I have studied guitar with Maestro Filippo Daccò, one of the most amazing person I have ever met, a person who influenced deeply and positively my life; during the studying period, and for the rest of my life, in addition to the teacher-pupil relationship, we created an intense father-son relationship and I will always be grateful to him for this. I graduated with him in Functional Harmony.
In recent years I studied with my brother-friend Maestro Massimo Colombo, who, poor him, sacrificed himself to try to improve my non-existent piano technique… the craziest thing is that he succeeded, even if there were some difficulties, and we made amazing progress: great satisfaction, both for him, who saw his efforts rewarded (although not totally… I’m not Bill Evans…), and for me; however, I must admit I worked my ass off…. and allow me to joke, with great joy for the wallet of the osteopath who sometimes withdrew me “straight”, given the long hours spent bending over the piano …
I can also add to the list Main Harmony, Counterpoint and Orchestration, real joy of all the way of this life…
Next, we’ll see, maybe I reborn as “stone” on the third planet to the left of Betelgeuse, in the Constellation of Orion …!!!
Points Of View
If the truth is that work is an important part of life, it is equally true that it is not “the most important”: necessary, noble (and ennobling), exciting, engrossing, that often becomes an “entire” experience. But then there are many other things as important as this, if not more important, that, from my point of view, have to be cultivated, cared for, assisted and possibly improved: the relationship with ourselves, with the others, even if sometimes it is difficult to understand or to explain, the study of what we are fascinated in, and the many trials of life we have to face, not always easy to deal with, but for sure very enriching… The important thing is to face life with great loyalty, candor, without being too surprised if you’re not understood, yours is not everyone’s point of view, there is always someone who will turn up their nose or point their finger…
often the latter just shouldn’t break the balls and should buy a mirror to look at themselves.
They make me laugh those who “we are the only ones in the universe”, those who are sure to have got away, those who always take themselves seriously, the ones who believe they can escape from themselves, those who flaunt power really believing that the power is that and those that twist everything around habitually, those who always blame others, those who are convinced they are of course the best but haven’t yet done a damned shit, those who claim to be great musicians but cannot explain the difference between a “C” and a cattle wagon, those who are so blatantly fake but are convinced that you can’t see it, Laurel and Hardy, Totò, Carlo Verdone, politicians…(those make me laugh so much….)
I am fascinated by those who wear a little smile on their face and have a great belief deep in their heart, those who breathe slowly, those who are still able to daydream, science fiction novels, the sound of Martin guitars, flocks of birds moving together, walking in the mountains thinking and trying to understand yourself (there begins the challenge…), sitting on the river bank watching the water flow; even Buddhist Monks in meditation fascinate me, the early morning white mist that hides the day, those who are able to forgive themselves, those who are able to forgive the others, those who have the strength to apologize, those who can laugh at themselves, my mother-in-law’s pizzocheri pasta…
I’m sorry for those I didn’t understand and that I unintentionally made suffer, (it happened to me, I even made some messes), for those who use religion as an excuse, for those who are committed not to understand, for those who hide their mediocrity in a cauldron of lies, for those who still believe that human thought is just a chemical reaction, for those who use drugs or alcohol to dull the voice of their heart, really believing it will stop screaming, for our Tibetan brothers, for all other brothers in the world who are oppressed, for those who make evil sure that it will not come back with interests…
I’m also sorry because we’re destroying this wonderful Planet in the most insulting and blind way, and by now it seems to be no way back: even if I’m optimistic by nature, it seems to see an orange squeezed to the last drop of juice, and a bunch of a few assaulted trying to get out again, without realizing that it’s time to take an examination, albeit late, of conscience; maybe try to put things back, even partially, in place, and give hope to generations to come.
Who looks to colonize Mars, who looks at bases on the Moon: but who stays here what breathes, what eats, how lives, what prospects has it…?? Yes, it’s not the best in cheerfulness, but it’s what we see every day….
I thank Stevie Wonder, EW&F, Ray Charles, Whitney Houston, JS Bach, Bill Evans, George Gershwin, The Beatles, George Benson, Aaron Copland, John Williams, Lang Lang, Daniel Barenboim, Richard Wagner, Sergei Rachmaninoff (and here I stop because the list could go on for at least a quarter of an hour…), for all the thousands times that they gave me goose bumps;
Then I thank all those who have believed, and also all those who did not believe (this is the funniest part, they gave me great strength…).
I thank those who have claimed to teach me what life is all about by showing me with their attitudes everything that I’d never want to be, those who have explained again when I did not understand (it happened, it happened…), those who continue to show me the way every day, those who stood by me when I was sick, and those who left when I was sick, this is the best way to know who your friends are …
Then I thank: Raffaella (such patience …), Dr. Menani (a life arm-in-arm..), Frank, Tonino, Lilla, Rolando’s turntable, Luciano Beretta, the courtyard of via Preneste 6, Dido Grecchi, Cristina Giovanelli, the Rossa, Lisetta Landoni, Maestro Massimo Colombo, Maestro Filippo “Felicino” Daccò, my parents, and a long list of other special people who have always blessed me and continue to do it, and finally music, without which my life would probably be empty: I’m living the dream I dreamed since I was a child … and I’m still not sure if I woke up yet.
Knowing that the next song will be my best, I continue to write music. Even if I know that the most beautiful song will be the best, I continue writing with the serenity and the experience of an old young man … this is how I feel: always proactive, despite the years, my osteoarthritis and the difficulties of a strange historical period as the one we are living in.
With a smile in my heart.