Chiara Civello: a “nomadic” Italian in Eclipse

On March 31st the new cd by Chiara Civello, “Eclipse” was published. It was recorded between Paris, New York, Rio de Janeiro and Bari, and sees the collaboration of extraordinary musicians such as Kevin Seddiki, Thibaut Barbillon and Pedro Sà on guitars, Cyrus Hordè on organ and keyboard, Mauro Refosco on percussion, Gael Rakotondrabe on piano and wurlitzer, Laurent Vernerey and Alberto Continentino on bass and Moog, Regis Ceccarelli and Domenico Lancellotti on drums, Alfonso Deidda on saxophone flute, organ and piano.

You’ll be immediately captured by the listening of the opening song “Come vanno le cose” (C. Civello – D. Mancino) with its bossa nova that sounds full of delicacy thanks to the French touch of Nouvelle Vague (Marc Collin produced the album) and has been greatly carried on an Italian text. It is the perfect song to represent the mix of cultures which characterizes Chiara’s path. “Um dia” composed in Portuguese with Pedro Sa and the cheerful “Sambarilove” written with Rubinho Jacobina – a sambalanço with a title that is a play of words – both bring you to Brazil.

Just 18 years old, Chiara Civello left the Capital to study at Boston Berklee College of Music, becoming the first Italian artist in history to debut with an album, Last Quarter Moon, recordered for the prestigious label Verve Records.

What made you choose right USA? What did you expect to find there? Since I was very young I started to cultivate the passion for music studying at Saint Louis in Rome and there I was suggested to support the Berklee audition: it was the prestige of the school to attract me and I won a scholarship. I found out a country that really offers the opportunity to express oneself if one has something to say! I have been facing the challenges of a young artist, making my own drumming to promote the first live, get acquainted and appreciate. I had the opportunity to meet the legends of American music and I’ve learned a lot from their humility: as big as they can, they never get to the fame they’ve earned in the past.

What music did you listen to when you were 18? Blues and jazz, which I discovered first and foremost through an encyclopedia my father had at home.

In 2008 Chiara went to Rio to find her friend Daniel Jobim and was “dragged” to a party in a studio, a music meeting of great Brazilian artists called the Sarao, where the guitar is turned around and in turn everyone sings a song. This is where she started her collaboration with Ana Carolina.

Which sounds influenced you in a deeper way, those assimilated in the United States, the Brazilian or the French ones? I always try to seek the matches, combines, encounters, and I don’t think there is something predominating in my music. Referring to my new album, in fact, I can say that I have focused heavily on Italian traditional music and poetic.

Do you prefer to compose in Italian, English or Portuguese? Have you ever tried to write in French? I like to write the same way in all the languages I speak fluently: I am also learning French and I would like, someday, to compose something in this language. In the latter period, I focused on production in Italian but I do not rule out writing a whole English album again.

In your description of “Amore Amore Amore” you refer to yourself as “an Italian in America” explaining that you found perfect in your situation, to reinterpret this song by Piero Piccioni and Alberto Sordi, written for the movie Un Italiano in America: do you still strongly feel your origins or you think you are in some way “contaminated” by different cultures such as your musical production? No, I am still strongly Italian: even in my music I always keep in touch with our Italian melodic tradition.

How much did you change living and traveling abroad? America has given me above all a vital force, an approach to the artistic life that I won’t lose.

The choice of the other songs reinterpreted in “Eclipse” has a distinct movie flavor: “Eclisse Twist” (M. Antonioni – G. Fusco), “Parole Parole” (G.Ferrio – L. Chiosso – G. Del Re), chosen because she was looking for a “bridge song” between Italy and France (it had a great success in both countries); “Quello che conta” (E. Morricone – L. Salce) whose Tenco interpretation – Chiara Civello’s idol – is one the most famous and whose essential arrangement creates a rarefied and enthralling atmosphere.

In “Eclipse” you chose to sing songs of the past Italian music tradition: what do you think about the current Italian musical production? Is there any contemporary songwriter you listen to with most interest? I like to listen to the Baustelle, Dimartino, Paolo Conte, Vinicio.

In 2012 Chiara competed in the 62nd season of the Sanremo Festival in the BIG category with the song “Al posto del mondo”, written with Diana Tejera.

The album’s new songs are: “Cuore in tasca”, simple and sweet as the spontaneous way in which it was born: «With Antonio Dimartino we met for the first time in Milan and while cooking a pasta at home I was playing the keyboards and we exchanged a few words… before we started to eat the fusilli we already had the melody of “Cuore in tasca”. Then, while we were walking around the city, we told each other about ourselves and the text came out of it»; “Qualuno come te” (C. Civello – D. Mancino – M. Buzzanca), lasting over 6 minutes is sad and romantic; “New York City Boy” (C. Civello – F. Bianconi – P. Rinaldi) is characterized by the seductive sound of blues and the singer’s voice becomes more sensual; “To Be Wild” was written together with Cristina Donà by correspondence and through some phone calls.

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