“Why now? What made you think this is the right moment to come to the US?”
His voice on the other side of the phone is unmistakably his: deep, virile, deeply rooted in the truth of his soul. “My age,” he replies.
Renowned Italian singer, songwriter, film director and author Luciano Ligabue caps a recordbreaking quarter-century career with his first-ever concert appearances on the American continent. “I have to play music and I love performing in concerts,” he adds, “I've been doing it for almost 30 years and lately we have started touring outside of Italy, mostly in Europe, to bring our music abroad and experience something new. We usually play in huge stadiums and arenas but abroad we fill smaller spaces where we can have a more direct contact with the fans, where we can have an exchange and some sort of conversation.”
Liga, that's the way fans and people call him in Italy, has a special personal relationship with the USA, he has even spent part of his summer vacation visiting the East Coast. “I traveled with my family and drove around from New York, to Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC... when you look at the US you see what is happening, or rather about to happen as I believe the US are always a step ahead, in our Western society. You see how things change and what price we pay for it. On a personal note, American culture has molded me: I've been influenced by its literature, music and cinema. To name a few? DeLillo, Springsteen and Ford.”
Taking off from Manhattan's Terminal 5 on October 19th, Ligabue will continue on to Los Angeles (October 22nd at the Whisky a Go Go) and San Francisco (October 24th at the DNA Lounge), before touching down at Miami's Grand Central on October 26th. This US run of dates is a continuation of Ligabue's "Mondovisione Tour – Mondo 2014" in support of the iconic artist's 10th studio album "Mondovisione," released in November 2013 and certified Italy's top selling album of that year within four weeks of release.
“Why Mondovisione? What did you mean by titling your album and your tour that?” I ask. (The word Mondovisione can be translated into English as broadcast worldwide)
“There are two reasons for this title. First when I grew up when something was broadcast worldwide it meant that it was huge. It was a big deal, while now it's normal. We put our stuff out there for anybody to see. Obviously not everybody is going to check your profile but they can if they want to. So, this is my personal reflection on how things have come to be. The word Mondovisione can also be interpreted as the way the world is seen. Each and every one of us has his/her own unique way to look at the world, not one is alike, and that intrigues me too. In the album I give you what I see, my own vision of the world.”
“The album features 12 songs and 2 instrumental pieces. They are about the present, love, rebellion and dreams. What can you tell us about them?”
“I want my music to be an expression of truth, and through my songs I tell mine. This album is very intimate and personal. There are a couple of songs that capture all my indignation and rage against a political system that, at the time the album was released (2013), was hopeless. I could not see a way out. Then there is a love song, Tu Sei Lei, that is a declaration of love for a woman... my woman, I got married last year. In this song I tell her everything even what she doesn't want to hear. There is a song about pain, how it strikes us and changes us forever... and there is room for dreams. The album ends with Sono Sempre I Sogni a Dare Forma al Mondo, as I believe in the strength of our dreams in shaping our world. Things we have today are the result of someone's dream. Think of an inventor, an artist, all those that have created something magnificent. That was their dream, and they made it happen. Our vision is important and powerful.”
“How powerful is your music?”
“Music is incredibly powerful and fortunately we haven't really found a way to explain its power. We can't dissect it and analyze it, but we see how it works everyday. People wake up from comas thanks to music. People have problems and troubles but yet they can remember the words to their favorite song: how? At times it feels like the singer/songwriter is speaking directly to you, and it opens your vision of the world. It gives you new energy to face the world.”
Biography: The Emilia-Romagna born Luciano Ligabue spent his young adult life working jobs in the region's agricultural factories, while simultaneously moonlighting as a radio DJ and cutting his teeth as a bandleader on the local rock club circuit. Ligabue released his first record at the relatively late age of 30 with an eponymously titled album in 1990. Arguably the most successful debut in the history of the Italian music business,Ligabue's life experiences proved central to the formation of the artist's narrative as a songwriter and in his ability to intimately communicate as a storyteller on a national level. Ligabue the album went platinum connecting him as a solo artist with millions of fans in a way not previously seen in Italy, playing some 250 dates up and down the Italian peninsula over the next 3 years, including a pair of opening slots for U2 on their "Zoo TV Tour" at stadium's in Naples and Turin. By 1997 Ligabue had confirmed himself as a stadium headliner in his own right with the first of 11 appearances at Milan's temple of football and music San Siro. In 2005 Ligabue, set the still unbroken European record for tickets sold in a single concert in the form of a "hometown" gig at Campovolo in Reggio Emilia. As a musician Ligabue has released 10 studio albums, 4 live albums, 2 greatest hits albums, 1 soundtrack album, all certified multi-platinum in Italy. Ligabue's debut in the world of film proved equally auspicious with 1998's "Radiofreccia" which screened at the Venice Film Festival and was the subsequent winner of multiple trophies at both Italy's Nastri d'Argento and Davide di Donatello awards for his screenplay and direction. Considered at once a cult classic, commercial success and critical favorite in Italy, "Radiofreccia" was added to the permanent film archive of New York City's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 2006. Also a ublished author, Ligabue has penned 4 works including novels and poetry.