I grew up in a family where music was always present in the daily life. My Grandfather was in fact playing squeeze box and was building himself and playing flutes. I officially started studying music at the age of 11, playing “melodica” at the secondary school for three years. At the age of fourteen I bought the first guitar. As I finished the Lycée (19/07/1999), I moved to Rome where I took my bachelor degree in Leterature and Filosofy in music and spectacle area in the “La Sapienza”
university. In those years I could learn about theater cinema and music from a theoric point of view. In the same time I was taking private classes from guitarists, pianists and singers. I was learning some basic classical and pop. After I took my bachelor degree in Rome the 28/04/ 2006, I decide to dedicate myself to the languages and, after one year studying in Germany learning the german language, I went back to Italy and inscribed myself at the Bologna university where I changed my area of study and choosed the Master degree “Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa”. During I was studying there, in 2008/2009, for about one year I started taking classical guitar classes by the guitarist Tiziano Rosato graduated in the Conservatory of Pescara. In july 2009 I went to Egypt for three mounths mainly to learn the arabic language by mothertounge teachers, but there I met the guitarist and composer Fernando Perez.
Thanks to him I learn flamenco arabic traditional music with the use of maquam and the indian traditional music called Raga. In Egypt, I also studied with Mohammed Saad and Mohammed Hosny teaching in the conservatory of Alexandria. I went to Egypt four times to learn mainly music more than language. For a couple of years my life was between Bologna, where still I was studying at the university, and Alexandria in Egypt, where I was studying music. I took my Master degree the 23/03/2011. After that I continued to follow Fernando continuing taking classes with him in Spain, in Cordoba, where I was able to learn more about flamenco in “Rincon del Cante” and after in Zaragoza where I started to accompain the flamenco dance in the school “Blanco y Negro”.
After Zaragoza I went back to Andalucia, the homeland of Flamenco, where I studied july august and september 2011 with some flamenco teacher as the “ Carbonero”, but also with some gipsy in the city Jerez de la Frontera, reach of flamenco tradition. After I came back to Sicily in my hometown called Alcamo, but there I found no opportunities for social integration so I escaped after one month back in Andalucia. Unfortunately, with a small bank account budget, my life was not easy there either.
Fortunately, one day in Cadiz a gentleman who saw me walking around with a guitar asked me where I was going. I told him I was looking for a place to play. Then he replied that if I wanted I could go up to his house. That gentleman, after so many years is still my friend, the same date of my birth, in the bathroom it has the exact same painting that I have had in my home in the dining room since birth, and he helped me several times by hosting me at his house at a cheaper price than the market price. In addition to having the pleasure of sharing moments of flamenco, of which he was and is a strong fan.
During all my time in Spain I was used in fact to play on the road to earn something to finance my studies. Jerez was a good place for that during the summer cause was quite full of tourists, but as I came back there in november I saw that the spanish people was not giving anything and the fight for some coin with the other street artist was terrible. So I decided to try Marocco. There I settled down for almost two months in Essauira where I learned some Gnawua music. After that time, cause to some serious pain in my back I was obliged to go back home in Sicily, where I made some Yoga course in “Centro Namaste” and so my back was ready for an other adventure.
One of my funniest and most interesting experiences in Andalusia was certainly to meet Neil Nayar, an English guy from an Indian family. At first we both found each other quite unbearable or irritating, for several reasons. Then I don’t know why it started to change and we became friends. This also happened as a result of some funny and even a little dangerous experiences that we shared and in which there was a way to exchange some knowledge. I think that to describe such adventures, it would take a separate project, so I summarize these experiences briefly. Do you remember what I wrote above about that man from Cadiz who asked me where I was going with my guitar and then put me up at his house? Well, Neil was there with me. We had spent the night in a tent, and what a night !. We had gone to Cadiz from Cordoba with the intention of spending a few days there. For two nights we had found a hostel at a good price, but suddenly for the third night, the prices took a spike. We had no escape then. Luckily we had with us the tent that a friend of ours had lent us which would have offered us an opportunity to sleep in shelter somewhere on the spacious Gaditana beach. That was the stormiest night I ever experienced, a real sandstorm, wind and rain. There was even the sudden appearance of a lady who came running to see us as we closed ourselves as best we could, between laughter and fear, inside that tent. We looked at her, tried to figure out what she wanted, but suddenly she ran back and walked away. Who was she? What did she want? Nobody will ever know. In any case, we managed to survive that storm, I don’t remember to sleep, but the next day, as I told you, that gentleman welcomed us into his home offering us room and board for three weeks at a truly ridiculous sum.
A few years later Neil moved toLilongwe, in Malawi, working for an organization called “Music Crossroads”. A real music school that was concerned with giving young talents an opportunity in a particularly difficult area. A few years later he managed, in collaboration with a local partner, even to open his own bar in an area called “ghetto”, where the level of economic desperation is quite high, giving opportunities to many young promises to be able to express themselves on the stage of which the bar was stocked. Not only that, sometimes he also invited artists of a certain level, putting tickets to the entrance, attracting a more affluent paying public, also present in Lilongwe, thus creating a constructive meeting of different social strata. Once I played there too. The second time I went to see him, after two years. But let’s go back for a moment. The first time I went to Malawi, I stayed at my friend Neil’s house for about three months, then I decided, at Neil’s suggestion, to move to Zanzibar, where I would encounter a more familiar context considering my repertoire of Arabic music that I had learned in Egypt. And indeed he was right.
In Zanzibar, I made some collaboration and a project of new recordings with musicians of the “Dhow Country Music Academy.