Thursday, January 22, 2009

Anno Nuovo - Vita Nuova


Ciao a tutti,

Happy New Year to everyone, Buon Anno Nuovo!!!

Italians have this saying "Anno Nuovo, Vita Nuova," which translates into "New Year, New Life."

And it couldn't be more true for me this year in my life and in the life of this blog. I have enjoyed sharing so many of my thoughts, experiences, photos, videos, laughs, etc. with you over the past few years that I have been blogging. It has been fun for me and I wouldn't have traded it.

I have grown so much from the experience and have come to get to know so many more people better and have developed some great friendships that I know I will keep with me.

You may have gathered that I will not be posting to this blog anymore, but the good news is that the reason is because I will be doing so many other things. I have signed with a manager for my solo singing career, and it is something that I has always been a dream of mind to do it in a bigger way than I have been, and now is finally the time.

So with that, I will need to focus my energies and transfer my energies to other things. But I am hoping that we will not only still keep in touch, but that we will actually get to be in contact more with such tools as Facebook.com, now that I am on there, and Myspace, and Twitter,... and of course, my new website, www.FilippoVoltaggio.com

Of course, my hope and trust is that I will be getting to meet some of you in person as I travel the world singing some of your's and my favorite songs and tell stories like I enjoy doing. Whether I am writing stories or telling them as I have done on the radio or live through the
"Filippo and the Chef" shows, and concerts in the past, I hope to be doing more and more of it.

I can assure you that my "Italian-American Experiences" don't end here just because I have stopped posting to the blog. I have a feeling they will get even more exciting and more interesting. I will have to find a different way and or place to post them. In the meantime, I plan on leaving this blog on-line for all to continue to enjoy and post comments etc., for as long as possible.

I thank you all for having been with me through this phase of "Filippo's Experiences," and I hope and trust you will continue to be part of my life and I yours, through the next phase of experiences. I wish you all a Happy New Year and Happy New Life, IF YOU SO CHOOSE THAT, and remind you all to do the best you can to live out your dreams as well.

Con affetto per voi tutti (with affection for you all),

Filippo

P.S. With that, I post this video of me singing on PBS, with full orchestra the song,
"It's Impossible."

video

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

An Good Old Fashioned Christmas - With A Good Old Fashoned Band CD


Ciao a tutti,

With just a few more days till Christmas I don't know if you can get this CD in time for your Christmas stockings, but if you are looking for Good Old Fashioned Music for a Good Old Fashioned Christmas, this is a must.

Now, this is one of the two CDs I mentioned in the previous post. This one is of a friend Composer/Band Leader/Horn Player Paul Frederick and his friend Singer Val Peterson called "the Venture Capital Follies of 1929." Now, none of these are Christmas songs, but boy will it take you back to some good old fashioned times.

Being in the music industry myself, you would think that I wouldn't have been so surprised when I heard it for the first time how much it sounded as if it was recorded in 1929, except for the scratchy record, he, he.

Instead of me carrying on, I borrowed the words off the CDBABY website where the CD could be purchased and am posting them here.

I’m pleased to present "The Venture Capital Follies of 1929", featuring an innovative sound and recording process that brings the jazz inspired pop music of the 1920’s to life in a way never before heard.

This uniquely American musical art form was born from an era in which attitudes about morality and authority were challenged on every front – from hemlines to prohibition. These songs were the battle call of a generation. Twenty piece orchestras and sparkling vocalists brought the music to life in clubs and dance halls.

Because of the limitations of sound recording of that time, the life and vitality of the orchestration and arrangements were reduced to a homogenized, thin, grainy sound – what we normally think of when we consider music from this era.

This CD however is a live, state of the art recording – with a difference. Conventional techniques record each section seperately and them combine

them in the mixing process. The GKM Newport Orchestra, a 20 piece

orchestra with featured vocalist Valerie Peterson, performs each piece

live with individual mics and high fidelity recording that ensures not one

note of one artist in the ensemble is lost. The result is an incomparable, alive, vibrant sound not heard for decades, and in fact never before heard in a 1920’s recording.

LONG AFTER LUNCH MUSIC REVIVES THE SOUNDS OF THE ROARING 20’s

WITH RELEASE OF “THE VENTURE CAPITAL FOLLIES OF 1929”

August 25 - (Los Angeles) – Long After Lunch Music today announced the release of “The Venture Capital Follies of 1929”. The album is a collection of songs popular in the 1920’s, re-arranged and recorded earlier this year featuring Los Angeles-based musicians Paul Frederick and Val Peterson. The album represents a rare venture to recreate the sound and style of the late 20s musical era.

"We are very excited to pay tribute to the wonderful songwriters and musicians from this era who had such a huge impact on popular music throughout the rest of the century," said saxophonist Frederick, who produced, arranged and performed on all 12 tracks. Val Peterson’s authentic, stylistic vocals complete the album’s unique atmosphere. "These selections fit well with many of today's retro film, television, and commercial productions but have been very hard to find in any music library," she added.

“We were fascinated by the idea of doing a period recording that would convey real time sound. The limitations of recording technology back then made all those old recordings sound slightly shrill, thin, grainy & faster than an authentic performance. We’ve faithfully rendered the 20’s style with excellent sound quality,” adds Frederick. “Now you can hear all the subtleties of these layered orchestrations, not just a wash of sound.”

“The Venture Capital Follies of 1929” was recorded by an authentic 20 piece Orchestra in a state of the art Hollywood studio, with some of Los Angeles’ finest session musicians. It features selections that defined the “Gatsby” decade. Tracks like "Plucky Lindy’s Lucky Day" and “I’m In The Market For You” reflect the whimsical novelty songs popular at the time, while tracks like the lush “I’m Confessin’” and dreamy “Pretending” have taken their place in the standard repertoire. With elements of Dixieland, classical, and jazz, the overall effect is that of a sophisticated, carefree culture on the brink of change.

Peterson has been singing jazz in clubs up and down the West Coast for 10 years, has released two CD as a singer/songwriter, and can be heard on many film and television productions. “Since I was classically trained, I couldn’t wait to work on a project that bridged so many genres. These arrangements are so meaty, and there’s no feeling like the power of a live orchestra playing behind you.”

Frederick adds, “Having composed music on over 35 film & television productions, it felt right to go ‘live’ again.” Some of his credits include VH1: Behind the Music series, Emmy nominated TV movie, “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” and "Cowboy Up (Inside The Extreme World Of Bull Riding),”

This CD can be purchased with a full color Art Deco style booklet at CDbaby.com, or the tracks can be downloaded from Apple iTunes, Rhapsody, and Yahoo. It can be special ordered from 2,400 music retailer throughout the world. All tracks are also available for film, television, and commercial licensing.

Paul Frederick is a third generation musician/band leader based in Los Angeles. Specializing in saxophone and clarinet, he regularly performs and records all over the country as well as composing and arranging music for a variety of projects. He has taught composing classes for the DWW at AFI, and is published with Warner Brothers and Alfred Publications.

“We plan on releasing a follow up album with over 20 new arrangements of other fabulous 1920’s song that we have been performing live, both vintage and new originals in the 20’s style. We also are developing a release of original material in the style of Louie Prima and Nat King Cole,” reveals Frederick.

Long After Lunch is a music production company in Los Angeles, California. Housing a music library for licensing, compose original scores for film and television, and produce albums."

Whether you get this CD in time for Christmas or not, it will be something that those of you who remember hearing this music playing in your grandparent's house or your parent's house will enjoy reminiscing. Or those of you who might never have heard this music before and like this kind of music will have hours of enjoyment for years to come.

Filippo

P.S. I found this video of the singer Val Peterson on Youtube.com and guess what, Paul Frederick was in it too, what a coincidence. Enjoy. (English)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Season of Gifts - Giada Valenti's New CD


Ciao a tutti,

This Season I have been receiving many gifts as I hope and trust you all have, from joy and love to whatever your heart desires.

Besides the joy, friendship and love that I cherish most, I have been receiving gifts in the mail that include so beautiful music CDs. Two in particular I want to note on my blog, since they are both very good, they are both friends and hey, they are both Italian-American.

Actually, the subject of this post is Giada Valenti who is Italian-Italian from Italy-Italy.

I have come to know Giada and her husband JJ over the past couple years and she has proven to be as sweet as she looks, not to mention the sweetness of her voice.

Her press release says it so well, I will let it speak for itself in reagrd to the release of this, her latest CD, "And I Love You So."

"Giada Valenti's sound is a contemporary blend of adult pop with jazz influences - imagine a female version of Michael Buble with a taste of Italia. Recognized for her special voice and great stage presence, Giada is often compared to Peggy Lee, Diana Krall, Connie Francis, and Norah Jones. In Italy, they say she sounds like Mina and Ornella Vanoni.

Although Giada is an accomplished songwriter, she decided to record the works of other great composers for 'And I Love You So.' 'The songs I chose are so close to my heart that I almost feel like they are my own,' she said. 'These songs are timeless, and so are love, music, and romance,' said Giada. 'Ihope my CD can be the soundtrack to good times in the lives of others.'

The album begins with a sweet rendition of 'And I Love You So," a song penned by Don Mclean and made famous by Perry Como, which is followed by the passionate 'Io Che Non Vivo Senza Te,' and Italian classic that has also been performed by the likes of Dusty Springfield, Elvis Presely, and Smokey Robinson.

Valenti, who ws born in Italy and now splits her time between New York and Venice, goes south of the border with 'It's Impossible (Somos Novios)' - a song written by the premier Mexican bolero composer Armando Manzanero. 'My grandparents often played this song in my house, and I always loved it,' recalls Giada. 'Singing this song brings back so many memories of them.'

Brazil also factors into the mix of Valenti's new release 'La Voglia, La Pazzia' was written by the singer/guitarist Toquinho and the poet Vinicius de Moraes, seminal figures in contemporary Brazilian music. Valenti also sings 'Estate,' a beautiful, intense, and poignant song often associated with Joao Gilberto.

Giada turns her attentions to a song written by the great maestro Ennio Morricone, as she sings 'Se,' the love theme from the beloved film 'Cinema Paradiso.' 'The melody is a true work of art; the theme is so romantic,' Valenti said. 'It's so true: how can you explain how much you love someone else? We can try but it's almost impossible. Words are not enough.'

''La Vie En Rose' is the song that made me a singer, ' shares Giada. The great Edith Piaf remains one of her musical idols, and giada is a master interpreter of her works. Valenti features the music of Edith Piaf in her stage show, 'Celebration of the European Divas.' Other songs included on the CD include 'Tell Him I love Him (Dicitencello Vuje),' 'Grande, Grande, Grande,' 'Io Che Amo Solo Te,' and 'I Have But One Heart (Marinariello)' - a song that Giada calls 'so simple and so sweet and yet so beautiful and engaging.'

Giada Valenti dedicates 'And I Love You So' to two great Italian-American heroes, two brothers who died on 9-11 trying to save the lives of others: Firefighter John T Vigiano and Detective Joseph V. Vigiano."

Giada's CD is available on CD and online. Visit giadavalenti.com or myspace.com/giadavalenti

And I hope your Christmas stocking includes this CD for your listening pleasure throughout the winter.

Filippo

P.S. I found this video of Giada on Youtube.com singing "La Vie En Rose," I thought you would enjoy it. (French)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tis the Season of Joy - AND HUMOR!


Ciao a tutti,

Do I have to remind everyone that it is the Season of Joy and of Humor? Well, I am the one that is throwing in the Humor, I don't know if I have ever heard it said that way. But if you think about it there are all kinds of humor, there are "good humored" people, humorous people, etc. But no matter how you slice it, I think HUMOR is key, especially in this time.

To me, we need to celebrate with humor and also keep our humor in this time, especially if you are in the stores shopping or spending money you shouldn't spend or don't have. But that is another story.

So, the reason for my post today is somewhat humorous. I am blessed with family, friends and fans that are as much into humor as I am and I just had to laugh when I received the above card from an artist fan in New York, Anthony Mancino wishing me the best for the Holidays from him and his wife.

I had to laugh. I wish he would have used a different picture of me, and I don't know where he got this one, but it is funny just the same. And maybe the smug look on my face is perfect considering the funny look on Santa's.

Anthony has made a few of these over the years and I have posted them here, but I don't think I posted this one, which was the very first one he did. He addressed it to my Mother and I since he had just met her at a concert I did in New York the month before. I just ran across it and thought since I was posting the new one, I should post the one that started it all.

Actually, that did not start it. What started it all was when at a concert in New York, I was asked backstage if it was alright with me that a local artist presents me with an art piece that he made which had me as the subject, after the show in front of the whole audience, as a surprise. Well, it wasn't a surprise, because they had to ask my permission, but the art piece was, and meeting Anthony was too since I had never met him.

So that is how it started and I have been enjoying his art "of me," ever since. Grazie, Anthony and Grace.

And will I am thanking fans, I have to mention one of my biggest fans, Mary Lou Consolo. I can't remember where I first met her, but I know that she has been to so many of my shows, I couldn't count. From Connecticut to New York, to Chicago, to Massachusetts to Milwaukee to Florida. Come to think of it, on one of the carribean cruises I did also. I didn't know how she did it.

But one Holiday I received my first annual Christmas Newsletter from her and I saw that Mary Lou got around. This lady was more busy touring than I was at the time. There are pictures of her and I on this blog and on my site and all over, but I just had to post her latest Newsletter which arrived today. In it she mentions how she saw me in one of my appearances.

I wrote her and asked her for permission to post the Newsletter so you know what I mean. Sorry Mary Lou for the oil stain on it. When I opened it and read it, I was enjoying a great plate of pasta with olive oil and garlic, and I wasn't thinking that I was going to post it.

But hey, it's authentic, it's Italian.

Buon Natale to both Mary Lou, Anthony, Grace and all my family, friends and fans.

Filippo

P.S. Speaking of good humor and finding joy in the Season, here is a classic song by John Lennon, "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," only sung in Italian. In fact, the protagonist of the show in this video I found on Youtube.com says that he wonders if the composer new that it would become such a meaningful song at Christmas so many years later.

Here is it. (In Italian).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mistletoe Mouse - The Latest "Italian" Mouse

Ciao a tutti,

During this magical season, one never knows what one is going to receive in the mail, or under a tree, etc. So true was it with me this morning as I received in the mail a mouse. Yes a mouse. In fact, an Italian Mouse.

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixon. Oops, those are reindeer. I meant to say, you know Topo Gigio and Pepino the Italian Mice? Well, on this Christmas Season, a season of birth, actually a birth is the reason for the Season, a new Italian Mouse is born, Mistletoe Mouse, and he arrived at my door step this morning.

No, he wasn't wrapped in swaddling clothes, and no he wasn't just abbandoned at my doorstep, he was sent to me by a friend via the US mail.

He came, in the form of a book. This is the inagural year for the mouse, who I have heard about for a few years now from my friend Mattie. For years I have heard that she and her friend Tony had a dream to bring Mistletoe Mouse to life and finally, Tony and Mattie, who really love each other got together, and did what two people who really love each other do, and gave birth to a mouse. What they did was write a story, get the book illustrated and Mattie reading the story and Tony and Mattie singing the song.

And that's how mice are born. The book in which Mistletoe Mouse makes his debut is "The Mistletoe Mouse Song," by Tony Clark and Mattie Lorraine. It is a children's story about a little mouse who saves Christmas Eve because the Reindeer couldn't fly, and well, Mistletoe Mouse knew just what to do.

It takes place in the North Pole, and though I don't know of any Italians that live at the North Pole, you too might wonder, what makes Misteltoe Mouse Italian? Well, easy, his Mommy and Daddy, Tony and Mattie are both Italian-Americans. And therfore that's how and why I consider Mistletoe Mouse an Italian mouse.

And now you know the rest of the story, at least my story of the mouse. If you want to know the mouse's story, you have to buy the book. And if you want to be one of the first to get "The Mistletoe Mouse Song," book and CD for little ones on your shopping list, visit www.MistletoeMouse.com, or E-mail Mistletoe Mouse directly at MistletoeMouse@gmail.com. He might also be able to get your little ones' letter to Santa directly, since it sounds like he is in really good favor with Santa. And by the way, my book came with a certification of authenticity, it was signed by Mistletoe Mouse himself, and it was numbered, no. 56 of 1000 of this first printing, to be exact. So, maybe this first printing will be worth more than the cost someday, if Mistletoe Mouse becomes famous. Maybe we should introduce him to Topo Gigio to see if he can help him, he, he.

Hope you too are having a little fun, or a lot of fun with the Holidays, Italian or not.

Filippo

P.S. Here you will find a video of Mistletoe Mouse from Youtube.com.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Tutto Verde (All Green) - The Global Green Pre-Oscar Party


Ciao a tutti,

Last week I was invited to the 5th Annual Global Green Pre-Oscar Party by a couple friends of mine, Janet Baghoomian and Antoine Bonsorte. Yes, one of them is Italian, can you guess which one.

In fact, remember in one of my last posts I was speaking about the Italian-French connection and of a family who moved from Italy to France? Well, Antonie's family did the same, and so he too speaks better French than Italian.

But in whatever language you listen to him speak, he is an artist par excellence (French word, right?, he, he). Check out his work at www.Bonsorte.com.

At any rate, it was a great event, and Antoine wasn't the only Italian there. I ran into many, including my friend and actress Jodi London from Chicago.

Of course it was a star studded event ala Hollywood and the Oscar Parties, but in this case instead of a "red" carpet, they had a "green" carpet. Global Green is all about promoting smart solutions to global warming, and the event was to benefit global green's climate change initiatives, including the green rebuilding of New Orleans.

Unlike at other events, this time I hung out mainly with my friends and managed to get only pictures of me and them, which was just fine with me.



I did get a shot with fellow Italian-American actor and TV show host Mark DeCarlo who I always enjoy running into and various events, both Italian and Socially Conscious ones. Mark is working on a new show and he told us soon that he would tell us all about it. So, I look forward to that.

We got to enjoy a performance by Italian-Brasilian singer Michael Franti. See the video below of actual footage from the event.


So here's to a greener world,

Filippo





P.S. Below is the video of Italian- Brasilian singer Michael Franti I found on Youtube.com
of his performance at this year's Global Green Pre-Oscar Party. (In English)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

NIAF in Los Angeles - Media Dinner







Ciao a tutti,

Tonight marked the night of the Seventh Annual NIAF Media Networking Forum in Los Angeles. And as always it was well attended by noted media industry representatives from various aspects of the business from the greater Los Angeles area.

This year it was held at a well established Italian Restaurant in Studio City, Ca' Del Sole and co-hosted by Silvia Bizio and Laurence Darmiento. As Marcella Leonetti-Tyler, NIAF Area Coordinator, it was a wonderful occasion to met professionals in the field of communications and share ideas.

It was good to get together with other like minded people in the Industry who wish to work together to promote the positive contributions our ancestors and Italian-Americans have made to make America great.

Elissa Ruffino introduced the "Italian Language Camp" in New Jersey and encouraged all to share it with the children in our lives who may be interested in attending and being submerged in Italian language and culture. Sharing it with you is my way of doing my part. Click on the following link to learn more about it, www.niaf.org/concordia.

These are a few picture from the evening.

A Buona Sera it was and a Buona Sera a tutti,

Filippo

P.S. Here is a video I found on Youtube.com of a Public Service Announcement Italian-American Actor Alan Alda of the "MASH" TV fame did for NIAF. (In English)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Relatives In The Movies - And In The News?

Ciao a tutti,

Some of you may remember reading a post of mine a few months or so ago about some possible relatives living in France with whom I share the same surname who found me on the Internet and wrote me. That was Christiane and she is the very proud Mother of two boys, Dimitri and Thomas. I think I joked in my blog saying something like, we have to be related, when I saw that her son and I shared similar passion and drive.

I posted some pictures of him and some American celebrities he had met at a young Directors Conference while here in Hollywood after having won a film competition where his treatment on a film won first prize in France, or something like that. I have to say, some of the juicy details do get lost in the translation. Christiane, having been born in France and not in Italy, after her family moved from Sicily, speaks French and not Italian.

It would be the equivalent of the families that came to America and who's children speak only English and not Italian. At any rate, her English does get us by well enough to know I am proud of her son Thomas too. I have been following his career now, and, evidently I am not the only one.

It seems that the French Ministry of Defense took interest in his movie about a war in Provence in the South of France in 1944 and has helped him film this movie. Though it is a low budget movie, it is already gaining lots of attention because of Thomas. Thomas is the writer, director and one of the lead actors in the film.

Above is an article which came out today in France about him and his movie. In it the writer says many things but pertaining to what I just said, he says that Thomas, at such a young age (23), has somehow managed to professionally shoot a quality movie and get attention of not only the press but the Ministry of Defense etc.

The movie is so low budget that Thomas has enlisted the help of his Mother Christiane and his brother Dimitri. I am sure they are all having a lot of fun even though I know it is hard work.

To see more pictures of the set and scenes from the movie click on the films title here "Au Soldat Inconnu" ("To The Unknown Soldier"). I am sure of one thing, Thomas will not be "unknown," we will be hearing about Thomas Lemoine whether I will be writing about him or not, I am sure many will.

Bravo Thomas,

Filippo

P.S. As those of you who have followed this blog know, I am into connections and certainly connecting, possibly, with long lost relatives is something that excites me. After writing this post, I was looking for an Italian-American connection between Italy and France since Christiane's family moved from Italy to France and not to America like my parents. Interestingly enough, I ran across this video on Youtube.com of a Volleyball European Championship in Berlin in 2003 between Italy and France.

I found this interesting because I thought Volleyball was an American sport. So I did the research and found out I was right. Volleyball was invented by William Morgan, an American, in 1895. I had found my connection. Here is a clip of the game. Incidentally, Italy won. (In Russian?)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Filippo and the Chef - And Amici


Ciao a tutti,

Chef Richard of "Filippo and the Chef" and I, were interviewed today for an upcoming article in Amici Journal by the editor Andrew Guzzaldo. We talked about our summer tour and all kinds of fun stuff that we are up to. I, like you, will have to read the article to know exactly what he will write about but I am grateful to Andrew for his interest and also for his putting out a publication like this for us Italian-Americans.

This is the cover of the Summer Issue with Sylvester Stallone. I don't know if we will be in this one or the one where Ernest Borgnine will be on the cover. It remains to be seen. By the way, did you know Ernest was Italian-American? I didn't until a year or so ago.

Click on the link above to find out more about it or you can even order on Amazon.com.

A presto,

Filippo

P.S. Speaking of Sylvester Stallone, I found on Youtube.com this video of him on Fiorello's show on Italian Television. (In English and Italian)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

To Perfect To Pass Up - "Imperfect" David

Ciao a tutti,

When a friend of mine sent me this as a joke, I couldn't help but post if for all of you to laugh or at least get a kick out of seeing it.

I thought this was so apropos since this is the month in which some of us look at the weight that we gained over the Holidays and think about taking it off.

It seems that Michelangelo's David ate a little too much over Christmas and New Year as well and he is contemplating a diet too.

Here's to your New Year Exercise and Diet Resolutions. May this be a visual aid to us all to help us get on track, or should I say, get on the track? He, he.

A presto,

Filippo

P.S. Here is a video I found on Youtube.com that I think is really interesting. It seems that for two years Stanford University Digitally the most famous sculpture in the world, Michelangelo's David, and this video is the result of that work. (Visual and Music Only)