I don’t exactly know a better section for this post, it is European Folk I guess.
I want to relate an interesting happening. I was coming back from a jam, stopping for dinner with family at an Italian restaurant, and because I really hate to leave my mandolin in the trunk I brought it in with me.
The maitre d' seated us and then asked about the instrument and we talked briefly. Turns out he sings Italian popular favorites. And boy does he. He sang a few lines for us, and everyone for three tables around dropped their jaws. Just an amazing voice, of the kind one rarely gets to hear in person.
Well to cut to the chase, he and I are going to gig together at some of the local Italian restaurants. I am not in the slightest Italian, and I have never played Italian music before (kind of an obvious thing to overlook seeing as I have been playing the mandolin now for three decades).
I got some sheet music for the two tunes we are going to work on, Torna A Surriento, and Mattinata. There seems to be an endless supply of tune books and sheet music for Italian music, much like Irish music. Its just that I never saw it all before I started looking for it. Then for the phrasing I went to my CD collection, and found two CDs by Butch Baldassari, his Mandolin Tribute to Andrea Bocelli, and his Romance in Venice, a collection of Italian love songs. Butch’s playing on these CDs is particularly lovely. I think he has one of the most liquid and natural tremolos of any mandolin player.
I have been tirelessly “playing along with Butch”, to the point where the rest of the household is entertaining themselves making up goofy lyrics to my music, trying to irritate me back.
Wish me luck - next week we start. I will post here how it goes. This will blow my diet for sure, as I will be playing for my supper, and intend to sample the penne arrabiata everywhere I play.
And a hearty thank you to Butch. Get well soon, I may need some help with this music.
Does anyone else here routinely play any of the popular Italian songs and arias? Have any of you done a restaurant gig before?