(Global Heart | Esther Haasnoot) Fabrizio Pigliucci released his gorgeous new album “Tales of Clay,” which he offers humanity as a gift.
“Music and sound have an immense power to create well-being and lead you to the distant territories of the heart. Music and sound let you look inside yourself so that you can change the eyes with which you see the world and heal.” – Fabrizio Pigliucci
An Interview with Fabrizio Pigliucci about his new album: “Tales of clay”, by Esther Haasnoot for Global Heart
Esther Haasnoot: Your newest album called “Tales of Clay” is a collection of ancient and modern tales in music. Each album contains stories, dreams, emotions. It expresses the importance of awakening, embracing a conscious return to ourselves, and returning to life’s simple and core values. It inspires us to plant new seeds of love and understanding that we are all interconnected, men and nature. How were you inspired to create this magnificent album? What was your vision behind it?
Fabrizio Pigliucci: First of all, a big thank you to you, Esther, for your kind interest in my musical path!
I compose music for inspiration. Every album is born from a vision and a message that I wish to share. The inspiration for this album is real life, and by “real,” I mean the purest experience, the essence, the values that I consider fundamental for humankind. We are overexposed continuously to information. The modern lifestyle is so fast, so full of information, things to do, goals to achieve, and so on. In this mental chaos, it is easy to miss important moments and not see the great things that happen every day and that often we already have before our eyes. The work to do is to undress from so many habits that distract us. Having the privilege of having time is to rediscover the essence of being human: friendship, love, our children, our elders, ourselves, nature, animals, and plants. Leaving wrong and challenging habits behind us begin, above all, with letting go of what is expected today, such as selfishness, careerism, arrogance, the search for consensus and success at all costs, envy, intolerance, racism, and so on. We are asked to find our true voice. Urged to understand who we are until we perceive the subtle bond that unites us all. We may call it “awakening.”
Translating this into music, for me, meant leaving a high-level remunerative career in film music. I returned to my real voice and slowly stripped my music of all that is useless, choosing instead to write with the purity of heart and leave the sound natural, large, warm, and as welcoming as possible. I want to create space for the listener. This cleanliness gives the music more power and the possibility to enter directly into the heart. Composing is like a kind of meditation because it helps establish a connection with something higher, a flow of energy from a place that I do not know where it is, but it is magical and special. It is the moment, here and now. It is a gift for which I am very grateful!
The album tells about “connections,” there are musical stories about the dreams we have as children, caring for the elderly and their memories, about the seeds inside us and also that young people are planting for a new world, my son wrote two songs, and the connections with distant lands like in the Celtic song, Sri-Lanka, America and Vesuvius here in Italy.
The album starts with my personal bond with Ireland, an extraordinary place for me that makes me feel at home every time. It ends with the bond with Mother Earth. The album closes with two songs: a dreamy lullaby and prayer in music performed alone in the vast space and silence of a valley in an Italian national park at night. My loving and simple way to say ‘thank you’ to Mother Earth for her wisdom and patience towards us…
Esther Haasnoot: Singing and playing was the way to tell stories and share the past’s traditional cultures. Like the old farmers of the area around Vesuvius (Naples). One of the songs on your album is called “La Speranza “. What is the story of Anna Rosanova?
Fabrizio Pigliucci: This is a song that I love a lot from the album, and the story is wonderful: I was looking for a way to tell in music more about the importance for us to return to the land, to the natural rhythm of life, and the importance of taking care of the elderly (attention is especially in this difficult period of isolation essential). By chance, I saw a documentary that told about some elderly farmers who in their lives shared with joy their old traditions through singing and drumming. I was moved to see women and men of 80-90 years old still happy, smiling at each other, while they were dancing and singing their old songs about their long experience of life in a world that is disappearing. I saw in this simple joy the essence of life. One of them particularly impressed me. She is Anna Rosanova, an 80 years farm woman, lovingly called “Zi ‘Nanninella, “who sang an old melody, with only her voice, about when she worked the land. So I went to my keyboards and wrote the orchestration on her voice, as you can hear on the album, obtaining a very easy but moving and emotional song.
So I reached out to the documentary film director, Salvatore Raiola, asked his permission to use that audio recording. He understood my intentions and appreciated my way of making music and sharing messages. I have to thank him deeply! Anna Rosanova was 80 years old during the recording, created in 2007. She was considered one of the most important people in sharing the Vesuvius area’s old rural tradition, really an honor for me! Her smile, her passion, and her energy that you see in the video can not fail to teach us something!
Esther Haasnoot: You are known to play and collect rare instruments better to understand the different voices and traditions of the world and unite humanity. Can you tell us something about that?
Fabrizio Pigliucci: The problem is only one: I need a bigger house! It’s true, I collect and try to study and use a large number of instruments. I have almost 80-90 instruments at home, from the smallest Irish Tin Whistle bought in Ireland years ago to a grand piano! I own and love many ethnic instruments: like the Indian flute Bansuri, the Vahila from Madagascar, the Berimbau from Brazil, the Kalimba from Africa, the Pipe from Scotland, the Hulusi from China, the Handpan from America, the Tibetan Bell, and much more that I buy in my travels or that my friends buy for me. At the same time, I also use and love electronic instruments and the computer: in the vision of a global world, a united world, each instrument has its place and its importance to be there and its story to tell. I trust that it is fantastic to fuse them all together. If you listen to it with attention, each instrument has its own voice, its unique character, and retains the energy of the place it comes from. So it is almost impossible to get a sad song from a Vahila of Madagascar, which has all the sun of Africa inside it. Or it is easy to hear the melancholy voice and the vastness of the Irish landscapes in the Irish Tin Whistle (as you can listen to in the video “World prayer for Amazonia”), or the spirituality in the Indian flute Bansuri, to be found on the last track of the new album. At the same time, a synthesizer expresses the technological world of today. All this, together with the collaboration of internationally renowned musicians, you will find on Tales of Clay. As a musician, incorporating various instruments and colors is a way for me to enrich my offering. It is my means of expression as a composer and arranger. And as a man, it is a way to embrace the whole world and understand the richness of every place and the world’s cultures and traditions.
Esther Haasnoot: For the album “The Rainbow Traveller,” you used many ethnic instruments. When I listen to your music, it is easy to imagine myself in a distant land, feel the richness of a culture or the beauty of nature. How do you integrate the different cultures and traditions and the instruments’ other characteristics into your music?
Fabrizio Pigliucci: Yes, that album is very rich in different ethnic instruments! It is music composed for nature documentaries produced for the main Italian TV channel, so I wanted to use every instrument to evoke different places, times, and emotions, to characterize the music on the images, and try to bring the listener to that place or in that moment, turning on the colors. The difference from the common sampled sounds is great: the real instruments are much more expressive and lend an authentic voice to the music.
The union of sounds is essential. Imagine an orchestra; it is comprised of various instruments with different voices. Diverse, yet all express the same harmony and melody. Each voice has its own character and importance, each one has a moment to ‘speak’ and a moment to be silent and listen to the others, a moment to play ‘solo ‘and a moment to join and sing all together. Everyone is essential, even the smallest; imagine that! The triangle has such a penetrating voice: you can distinguish it in an orchestra of a hundred elements! All this is very educative, especially for young people who play music, for example, in junior orchestras. Understanding orchestration and how a symphony orchestra works is a way to teach musicians about respect, collaborate with other musicians as a team, understand when it’s time to be silent to listen and when to play, and understand the importance of different voices to play together for a common purpose. Aah, how many things can music teach us! It is the vision of a united world. Music is indeed a way to peace.
Esther Haasnoot: Music, as a connection to something higher, has often been used as a form of personal well-being, healing. As a return to a higher and inner dimension. Even science is beginning to recognize that sound can influence consciousness and well-being. Your music has a spiritual depth and is used more and more for wellness, music therapy, dance therapy, meditation, prayer, healing, and personal well-being. Can you tell us how music affects the body-mind-spirit system? What is your experience?
Fabrizio Pigliucci: I am very happy to know that people worldwide use my music for this purpose. I have received many moving letters over the years from people who are very important to me. They have awakened me to the power of music, and my path in music! The more you release and lead a simple and centered life, the more you can find your voice and spirituality. for me, spirituality is not related to specific religions; everyone has their way of living spirituality). Understanding this led me to find a spiritual depth in my music, spontaneously. Music is a universal language; it has no country; it has no language; it has no time making it possible to enter directly into the hearth without the filter of the thinking mind. Music can touch the soul. It wakes us up and connects us with something higher. My dream is to help others rediscover ourselves and reconnect with all the beauty that we are and that we have.
One day, I was invited to go to a prayer group that used my music to foster healing prayers (without a specific religion) for sick people. It was in the house of a lovely lady who was unfortunately seriously ill. I went there, and instantly I received a great flow of love, and I saw magic happen. I was filled with gratitude and cried with joy. After that moment, I began to return to her home with my instruments. I played for them during their prayers with my eyes closed. Yes, I too love to play with my eyes closed when I perform with my flutes. After that day, I understood my music’s true power, so I wanted to share it more with others through my albums, and when possible, to play live with a small portable studio and play with my flutes everywhere. These are not “concerts,” but a sort of intimate transmission of energy. This simple set-up has allowed me to play for people in difficult moments. Sick people, or simply, for people who can appreciate it. Even in the open air, on mountains, seas, forests, or at night, I can play my music. It is these special moments that give me a strong sense of connection with the whole.
At the same time, I also experimented with music for meditation for a project with the American artist and visionary Kara Johnstad, called “Voice Your Essence.” The research field of “Binaural Beats” shows us that audio waves can harmonize brain waves and release stress or anxiety with techniques using specific frequencies. The “only music” version of the meditation music I composed for Kara, is shared for free on my site, on the Healing page. The last attempt that others have made with my music is very recent and has reduced stress and anxiety and compulsive anger by an Alzheimer’s patient, allowing her to live some better moments together with family. This story has moved me a lot.
Esther Haasnoot: You are, among other things, known for your love of planet earth and humanity. One of the songs you composed and then realized with Kara Johnstad is the beautiful song “Message of hope“. What does this song mean to you?
Fabrizio Pigliucci: This song has a very special story: I composed it as an instrumental piece as a present for a big charity event. From my studio, it arrived on the radio as a promo for that event. Then it went on the stage of that event with the orchestra I conducted, and then the solo musicians offered me to record their parts for free. A big studio and a film orchestra offered to play for free (it is the recording you can listen to on the album), then it arrived on the web. On the other side of the phone line was the American artist Kara Johnstad, who was conducting a radio show, and contacted me to get to know me and asked me to have the orchestral piece on the radio show. Later we met in Rome, and one day she had the inspiration to write a wonderful lyric and record her fantastic singing performance. We were then offered a professional analog mastering for free, and so the final finished song started to travel all over the world, with its powerful and pure message of hope. It is an incredible story of a long line of friends ( professional musicians and technicians) who have all joined together for a higher purpose. And all this beautiful energy is helping the people who listen to the anthem. The song has arrived in many people’s homes and has played on various radios around the world, concerts, etc. The original orchestral version is in my album “Fallen From the Moon.” The sung version is now released on the majestic new orchestral album “Moon in Capricorn” by Kara Johnstad (which I orchestrated and produced), and also on my new album “Tales of Clay.” Enjoy listening!
Esther Haasnoot: You love to play your music surrounded by nature, walking by the seaside or in the woods, and playing your bansuri flute on top of mountains. Your love for nature can be heard and felt in your music. Especially with the song “World prayer for Amazonia.” The music is breathtakingly beautiful, but I also feel sadness with the knowledge of how some humans handle our planet. What does nature mean to you, and what went through your mind when you wrote and composed this song?
Fabrizio Pigliucci: Yes, as I said before, I love to play surrounded by nature, I feel a deep connection with nature, and this is clear if you listen to my music. I think that all nature has profound wisdom: animals, plants, landscapes that we all have every day in front of our eyes, but sometimes we don’t have enough attention or time to see it: the sea, the trees, the flowers, the mountains, the sky, the stars, the animals. We have so much to learn from all this! The mountains teach us patience, and sea waves teach us the constant change of things. The trees teach us the importance of adapting ourselves to the change of season, a flower the simple wonder and the impermanence of beauty, a dog the pure unconditional love.
I made the video “World Prayer for Amazonia.” “Amazonia” is the real name of how the natives call their forest. The video was made last year during the tremendous forest fires. The blindness of men, stupidity, and the search for easy big profits led the world to see its lung destroyed, and with it, all the people and animals living inside that immense forest. I have a family member who worked right there with the natives and told me what was happening and who needed real help. I trust in the “power of prayer” – which has been scientifically proven – so I decided to involve some sensitive friends. People joined from various places worldwide to realize a common silent prayer for the Amazon supported by my music I had composed for a documentary about the Amazon. You can find it on my album “The Rainbow Traveller.” It is a very intense and dramatic song, where the Irish Tin Whistle seems to cry, and I, too, really cry every time I play it. I can’t avoid it.
The video starts with a Chilean environmental activist expressing some thoughts, then there is me playing the song in a forest and people praying while the forest is burning—a world prayer. In the end, I wrote some information about the most active rainforest natives associations that I know deserve and need help. The bad thing is that the media stopped talking about it when the clamor of that moment passed. The media is currently only talking about one thing, but the forest is still burning, as you can see if you look on the web. Recently I signed an international petition to governments on this matter. I also shared the video again to tell again about this fact. Each of us can do something for this world, especially staying awake and not to stop only on what TV says.
Esther Haasnoot: Many people find that playing music to plants makes them grow better. Monica Gagliano, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Western Australia, discovered that plants use nature’s sounds, like the buzzing of an insect and the sound of liquid rushing through a pipe, to find water and survive. In the book ‘The Secret Life of Plants,’ researchers hooked plants to machines resembling lie detectors, which revealed their response to threatening behavior. Plants respond to music, growing better while listening to classical music. You created a hardware-software device to obtain magical and mysterious music from plants. You even made an impressive album called ‘music from plants’. How does sound change the plant’s physicality and vice versa? How does the vital activity of plants become music? Can you tell me something about your plant project?
Fabrizio Pigliucci: I have read some books on the subject. For example, i “The Secret Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben or the excellent speeches on TED by Stefano Mancuso. All these open our eyes to discoveries and a new way of understanding plants, which we are still far from fully comprehending. Thus we read that plants are connected to each other by their roots thanks to mushrooms, which are the most incredible living beings on Earth (they have also found 8 square kilometers of underground extension!).
Imagine trees exchanging information about dangers (even through other receptors) or exchanging help when a tree is too small or not exposed to the sun or is sick. Trees also show sympathy and dislike for other different species! Cusano’s beautiful video shows, for example, that plants move and dance, only that they have a different speed from ours. If we accelerate the video footage of a plant, we can see this magic happen!
Plants are supposed to have a sort of diffuse brain in their roots and there is much more to discover! It is also known that some farmers use music to make crops or flowers grow better. I wanted to do the inverse and tried to make a device to ‘give voice’ to the plant (I am not the first). It’s a wonderful project that can change the way we see plants and nature in general. Showing the reactions of plants that are very different from ours, in the manner and timing they manifest themselves, is enlightening. Usually, we can’t understand it, but the plants are really alive!
These reactions are detectable as electrical micro-pulses that change in intensity. So, I wanted to build this device: I read the milliVolts from leaves and roots through sensors connected through an electronic device connected to a software that I programmed ( I was a computer programmer before I became a musician!). This software converts the electronic impulses, which are numbers, into notes on the musical scale. So you can imagine that each impulse is like a finger pressing a key on the piano keyboard; the greater the electric impulse, the higher the note played. This is the essence of the experiment in a few words. I cried when the first raw sounds came out. A sign of life!
It is not scientific research, of course, but it shows the life and reactions and plants’ cycles beautifully. For example, they react if touched, or even if you just stay close without touching; after a few seconds, the plant reacts … incredible! So I tried to meditate near the plant, to analyze day and night, and play music together. I even researched when the plant listened to music or various sounds, etc. When you hear the music I obtained, it is magical. My musical experience gave me the ability to convert numbers into fascinating sounds. It is also used to support yoga sessions, meditation, etc. I need more time to investigate and understand more, but walking in a forest will never be the same for me! The album “Music From Plants” contains two 25 minute long tracks, obtained from a Red Kalanchoe and a Green Crassula. Since the plants’ reactions are slow, they are “slow music”, they are not “songs,” but a kind of sound landscape. It is available for free download on my web page. I love to think of this as if the plants are trying to say something to us. I think it is a message of peace from another world, the plant world!
Esther Haasnoot: Everyone can make a small contribution to weaving more love and beauty into the world. You do this by your music. All your albums are musical landscapes of the heart. What gave you the strength to follow your path to make your dream come true?
Fabrizio Pigliucci: Well, one day, I simply decided to listen to my voice! Everyone has a talent; someone finds out soon, or someone later or never. I could be a good painter, I don’t know, but I can’t know if I don’t try! That’s why the school system should be more “a school of experiences,” to give children the chance to learn and try different things, to facilitate discovering who we are. This way of study is also meaningful later on when we grow up.
My luck has been that I was born into a family with a father who deeply loves music and used to paint and a mother who has a deep spirit and writes poetry. So I started to develop my music, art, and sensitivity at home as a child. Of course, I had a lot of love, as I now have in my family, my wife, and children. So, being exposed is essential, but the rest is determination, which depends only on us. I felt that my path was in music, but I already had an outstanding job as a computer programmer, my former passion. I had the tenacity to follow my voice and my dreams. I worked hard for years doing both, working in the office and studying music, then doing both jobs, and then leaving the office and living only on music. In the same way, over the years, I have refused and continue to decline collaborations in music with people or situations that I do not love, with bad energy, unethical or unclear, to be pure, to be one and honest with myself, at the risk of no more money! And fortunately, it has gone well. 🙂
Esther Haasnoot: Your Music is free to download on your website. How did you come up with that idea? Do you want to say something about that?
Fabrizio Pigliucci: I think that it is important to have a structure, a clear idea in order to realize something. My music activity is structured in two paths: that of composer, arranger, orchestrator, etc. for professional projects in which I am called to work alone or collaborate: film music, albums for pop or music for TV/Radio, etc. The other is my activity with my personal albums and projects that I believe in a lot. The first path, which I always avoid to overload, allows me to do the second one, have time for me, my family, and my albums that I can then share for free. I don’t like the mass globalization of music, so I’m not too fond of platforms such as iTunes, Spotify, etc., that make their interests and crush the artist, especially the little ones. So, my personal albums are there, but only as a showcase. I have always given my albums to my friends for free. And this time, I wanted to do it from the start and to everyone. So with a direct connection between the listeners and me, one can recover some human contact between people, share impressions, affection, make new friendships, things obscured and lost by iTunes and the like. All this is particularly important in this difficult time that humanity is living: fear, isolation, stress, illness, and divisions inside and outside of us. Knowing that my music can give a little peace, relaxation, dreams, inspiration, and allow us to connect to our insides obscured by all these external influences. I have no doubt sharing my new album (and my previous ones) for free and enjoy doing this now.
Esther Haasnoot: Thank you so much for your time and all the best in your future aspirations. It is always a pleasure speaking with you.
Fabrizio Pigliucci: The pleasure is my dear Esther, happy to have met you, and really thank you for giving voice to me and my dreams!
About Fabrizio Pigliucci
Fabrizio Pigliucci is a composer, arranger, orchestrator, technician, and producer: he has worked internationally on over 50 soundtracks for films also with Oscar-nominated actors, dozens of RAI documentaries, theatrical performances, dozens of albums for jingles/theme songs, numerous record albums, etc. (Warner, EMI, Buena Vista-Disney, SONY, RaiTrade, RTIMediaset, FlipperMusic, AtresMedia) with orchestras up to 60 elements, which he also conducted in the studio and live. ‘Musician and dreamer’ was defined by a poetess as ‘an amplifier of emotions’. He has been defined as ‘A gracious man and a creative genius’ in an interview on an American music magazine, ‘The Frequency of Beauty’ in an USA radio interview by the visionary artist Kara Johnstad, his songs have been broadcast and used all over the world from America to Japan from Northern Europe to South Africa (CNN, NBC, BBC, ZDF, FRANCE2, RAI, SKY,MEDIASET, National Geographic Channel, and performed live in various countries by international artists, including the amazing solo musicians of Ennio Morricone, together with the famous music of the latter.
For his talent and his great humanity he has obtained esteem and appreciation from ordinary people as well as from very important artists and recording studios such as Peter Gabriel’s Real World in London, ‘Deep appreciation and admiration’ from Steve Porcaro (Toto-Yes-Michael Jackson), by Hollywood director Anthony Powell, Rhani Krija (percussionist for Sting, Herbie Hancock, Vince Mendoza), he was nominated for the prestigious prize David di Donatello in 2008, one of his pieces was performed in the Vatican with the written congratulations of the Holy Father Pope Francis, and was invited to join the world community of ‘Talent For Humanity’. His music, increasingly rich in depth and spirituality, has also received great appreciation and interview on dedicated international publications and broadcasts such as’ Voice Your Essence ‘(Berlin),’ New Consciousness Review ‘(USA),’ The Essence Show ‘(Brooklyn),’ Riveting Riffs Magazine’ (Canada). For more information or to connect with Fabrizio Pigliucci: homepage, personal albums free download, music free download, youtube channel, facebook
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