15th. of February, 2005 >>>
"I am continuously searching
for new solutions and sonorities
in the guitar language."
I read you gave your first concert when you where 11 years old, that means you should be very young when you started playing guitar.... When did you started?
Yes, I was very young. It was at Maratea, a charming beach located in the Italian south region of Basilicata, where during my childhood I spent holidays with my parents.
That's why it is such a loved place for me, because I started playing guitar there, in the beach. Years later I gave some concerts there. Under this inspiration and those memories I composed “Mara-rumba” and “Colom-bossa” (a fusion between Colombiana flamenca and Bossanova).
I imagine that Naples is also a very special place for you ....
Naples is for me the most flamenco city from Italy and it has many similarities in its character to Seville. I find that it has many identities and absorbs many languages.
Being born in Naples and having studied classic guitar, didn't you find many difficulties with such a different music like Flamenco?
A musician who is used to play pieces from classic authors like Sor for example, doesn't find few difficulties to understand musically a Buleria and to write it with the correct measure.
But after many years working on Flamenco, to transcribe it doesn't look so difficult .
Yes, in fact you are considered a great Flamenco researcher, style where you offered a huge amount of transcriptions ....
I think, during those years, I transcribed around 1000 pieces from "Sabicas", Serranito, Ramon Montoya, el "Niño Ricardo", Esteban de Sanlucar, Niño Miguel, Angel Barrios, Manuel Cano Tamayo, Luisito Maravilla, Roman el Granaino, Paco Peña, Mario Escudero, Parrilla de Jerez, Paco Cepero, Paco de Lucia, Ramon de Algeciras ....
Something extremely valuable, because one doesn't find so many Flamenco transcriptions from those classic authors .....
Yes, during the 1980's I had only few transcriptions, because Flamenco masters didn't use to edit their compositions in score.
I began my flamenco guitar research in 1983 Cordoba encouraged by Manolo Cano, Professor at Cordoba Conservatory. Unfortunately, years later Cano passed by. He had a high meaning in Flamenco history, as a precious source of direct knowledge.
During the 1990's, I decided to study the "toque" from Don Ramon Montoya Salazar, moved by a historical recording from 1936.
Which is the year when you start with Flamenco and give up classical music?
I never give up classical music. Classic guitar authors interest me as well. In fact I transcribed beautiful pieces from Andres Segovia which were recorded at Maratea in July 2004.
Or from other masters like Mussorskj, Domenico Scarlatti, Tansmann, Luis Milan, Frescobaldi, Roberto de Visee, Manuel Ponce, Mompou, Torroba, Regino Sainz de la Maza, S.L Weiss, Santiago de Murcia, Vicente Asencio, Albeniz, Rousell ....
I also respect very much the great Bach and Domenico Scarlatti's music.
From Scarlatti, I studied some sonatas which I find very close to Andalusian musical atmosphere. It is well known that Scarlatti lived many years in Spain absorbing the local music.
That means your investigation it is not only concentrated in Flamenco, but you also work with classical music ....
Yes, during those 20 years I listened many flamenco guitar players, but I was also interested in classical guitar and also in jazz, Arabian or Indian music.
For example, I made some arrangement from Alirio Diaz, about Neapolitan music, or Latin American pieces from Carlos Barbosa Lima or Siboney de A. Lara.
Another example is the arrangement I made with the "O sole mio", where I combine this widely known Neapolitan melody with Colombiana. Or the arrangement of "Lacreme Napulitane" .....
Yes, last time when you where in Seville giving a concert, you told me you were researching fusions of Flamenco with other styles ...
Yes, with reference to it, I can mention for example my "Zapateao-Tarantella".
I feel very comfortable composing on this style. Because the "Zapateao" is very familiar for me, as I know the versions by masters like Sanlucar, Serranito, Sabicas, Paco de Lucia, Escudero, Niño Miguel.
In the other hand, there is the fact to be born in Naples and to have listed this style.
In my "Zapateao-Tarantella", I try to find a connection between Naples and Spain's Mediterranean culture.
¿Are there links between Flamenco and Neapolitan Music?
I find similarities between the "canzone" and the "copla". Some Neapolitan singers sound very similar to flamenco singers from the "golden age of Flamenco". Another case is the "tammurriata" a very deep rhythmic dance, which sounds like a "cante flamenco a palo seco". Because melodic songs, like "O sole mio", are not the only Neapolitan music.
In those Neapolitan songs, the guitar has a accompanying role. In my studies I tried to respect the mean melody, changing the rhythm which I find too monotone. For example, in pieces like "Tammurriata Nera", I make an arrangement as I should be playing a theme of Sabicas.
I am continuously searching for new solutions and sonorities for the guitar language.
Yes, one can hear in your compositions those rich influences. But one also listen new and original ideas. How are those ideas coming out?
I compose in an intuitive way, some times, an image, some times, an experience move me to do it. My compositions are in constant evolution.
For example, before starting with Flamenco, when I was 18 years old and I lived in Naples, I composed a "tarantella" in "Mi minor" which have some similar passages to a "Zapateao" made by the Spanish composer Rodrigo, which I never listened before.
That sounds very interesting. Now, it is long ago since you started with Flamenco. Which are your actual projects?
Since the 1st. of January 2005 I am recording. As, unfortunately, Escudero this year passed by, I want to make a recording in homage to him.
During those years I want to make monographic recordings from authors like Sabicas, Escudero, Cano, Niño Miguel, Esteban de Sanlucar …
I want, as well, to record my own Flamenco and Neapolitan compositions. I want to record Classical Spanish pieces from masters like Falla, Albeniz, or Domenico Scarlatti.
Those are many projects!. I hope all this work will leave you bit of time to come back on stage in order we can enjoy your music live ...
Yes, of course!
Interview made the 17th. of December, 2004 >>>