Ciao a tutti,
This was a fun week with Italian music concerts as bookends and an unexpected and very welcomed surprise on getting to see an author and international speaker, fellow Italian- American, getting some long anticipated and very much deserved National television recognition.
This week started with a concert by an artist I had never heard of before I was invited to see his show, but I hope to be hearing more of him. He put on quite a show. A musical as a matter of fact, complete with costumes, sets, dancers, actors.
Hey, I have done that from scratch myself, and it is no easy task. Kudos for him for having taken it this far, and for that matter, touring with it. Now that is something I haven't done yet, with my own musical, so my hats' off to him.
The singer's name is Pasquale Esposito and the show is called Naples...That's Amore. It features dancers, actors, as you can see from these three pictures, and of course Pasquale singing every song in English, Italian and Neapolitan.
Pasquale takes the audience on a journey from America back to his home town in Naples and back to America again. There are funny moments and touching moments as well as some of the best loved Italian and Neapolitan songs and some I hadn't heard before.
I got to meet Pasquale, oh and by the way, I heard every single person in the audience pronounce his last name incorrectly. I know we have a tendency to want to put the accent on the "i" of Esposito, but the accent in Italian, belongs on the "o," right Pasquale? We got to take this picture together for the Blog, and that was it.
Between his schedule and mine we couldn't hook up for an interview or "a caffe." So we made plans to do it later in the week when he was going to be back in town. In fact his manager invited me back for the show later in the week, but alas, I was going to another show, as you will see if you read on.
I know our paths will meet again. In the meantime, I wish him all the best, or rather, "in bocca al lupo." This is the Italian version of "break-a-leg." Literally translated it means "In the mouth of the wolf." And whenever anyone says that to you, your response is supposed to me "Crepi il Lupo," which means, "May the wolf die." Don't ask me, I don't know why. Maybe one or you readers out there can give us an explanation. But then again, is there an explanation for "Break-a-leg?"
I have to say, I am pretty lucky to have a large loving and supportive network of friends that I cherish. I should say a few different networks. There are the friends who are Italian, the friends who are Italian-American, (there is a difference you know), the friends in the music business, and I could go on in on with everything that I am involved in.
Well, in this case, it was a couple different groups of friends contacted me during this week to let me know that Dr. John Demartini was going to be on TV. Okay, if you don't know who I am talking about, click on his name and get acquainted. He is one Italian-American to be really proud of. I came to know of him one day while was sitting at a friends house watching a movie she had been eager to show me. The movie was The Secret. I was taken by the movie and by all the speakers and by its message. More on that later, I am sure.
At one point in the movie, I was so moved by a particular speaker and excited to recognize his last name as Italian-American that I turn to my friend and said to her, "you see that guy, I am going to interview him on my radio show." She responded, "of course you are."
This man travels around the world working with major corporations, and world governments etc., and is rarely in Los Angeles. But it was uncanny how this happened. I located and contacted his office, and it was uncanny how this happened, but just like the movie The Secret professes, he was due to be in Los Angeles within a couple weeks.
A couple weeks later I was not only interviewing him but connected with him as if I had known him for my whole life. That day I bought several of his books, the next day after the interview I went to one of his seminars, and then again the day after that, and then found a way to clear my schedule for the whole weekend to take his "Break Through" Course all weekend. WOW!
Oh, and by the way, the lady at his office that books his appointments and keeps his schedule etc., she's Italian, too, Linda Tonino! Love her!
He was so gracious during the interview, he gave us freely so much of his time and was so taken to know that I had a fan base of Italian-Americans who probably hadn't heard his message that he spoke to all of us of his heritage from the heart. So much so that he got teary eyed, and then I did too, and then we all did. I was with my Italian-American posse, he, he.
We have not aired his interview yet, and are scheduled to do that within a few weeks. But what an interview, and what a man. As a matter of fact, since our time on radio is short and he has so much more that he wanted to share, we did something we hadn't ever done before. I just turned on the recorder and let him speak from his heart and soul and mind after the interview. I promised I would post his message somewhere for everyone to hear it in it's entirety and will find the right place to do that.
In the meantime, back to my "network." I had scheduled a recording of our show "Filippo and the Chef," for Thursday evening of this week. Then I find out through several E-mails from different people that Dr. Demartini was going to be on Larry King Live on CNN that night. Well, at that point I felt I couldn't cancel the taping, so I had a few friends that were going to TiVo it for me. But right while Chef Richard and I were in the middle of taping our show, I got several phone calls, (I had forgotten to shut off my phone), telling me I had to watch Dr. D on TV tonight. So, we did. We stopped everything, and Chef Richard and I sat down and watched Larry King.
I am so glad we did. By the way, the Larry King show featured other panelists from the movie too, that I admire and who are worth learning about and from. I am trying to keep the Blog Italian-American oriented however, and that is why I was focusing on Dr. Demartini. Besides the fact that I have meet him and connected with him. See one of the Larry King Clips below that features Dr. D towards the end.
At any rate, during the interview Dr. D mentioned his new lady friend, Starr, and they panned the camera to show her pretty face. And let me tell you, she is even more beautiful in person, inside and out. And not just a pretty face, but a business woman and motivational speaker in her own right. She is a former Gold Medal Olympian on the US Team and, I recently found out, a fellow Italian-American. Here she is with John allowing themselves to be photographed after our interview. Click on her name above and read up on her and her company, you will be "Starr" struck.
I think you owe it to yourself to learn more about what this man has to say. I will be going to another of his seminars next week, and I am so looking forward to it. Much more on him to come.
Finally, the reason I called this Post "Two For the Price of One," is because of this final concert of the week that I attended. When I heard from Christopher Caliendo that there was going to be a performance of one of his new works and it was going to be on a night that I happened to be free to go, I ran to the performance, all the way to Long Beach, CA.
You see, Christopher Caliendo is one of the greatest and most important composers of our time. And I am not the only one that says that, I am in good company in that feeling. In fact, Henry Mancini, another fellow Italian-American of note, said about him "I see him developing into a most important composer."
Well, Signor Mancini would be every happy I am sure to see that he was right, because Christopher has become that and more. He is not only a great composer for film and television and of classical and world music but a performance artist on piano and guitar as well as recording artist on both instruments, and among many other things, an amazing cook! Yes, true to his Italian heritage.
I met Christopher a few years ago when he honored me by asking me to sing a world premier of one of his pieces for voice and guitar, "La Esgrimadora," with words by Marie Cain. It was a wonderful experience working with him, rehearsing, and watching him tick. What a musician he is. Above is a copy of the poster for that event.
Our schedules make it so that we don't see each other very much, so that is why when I heard about his performance, I could wait to go. Though I got to see him and his lady friend Louise after the performance, we didn't get to spend very much time together. Besides him needing to give attention to his fans, he was not feeling well, and it showed in his face.
But being the quintessential musician, it did not show in his performance. He only played three songs but they were a standing ovation quality, each and everyone of them. It was fun to hear the audience around me talk about him and how amazing he was etc., and he was, as was the music, and his co-performer, hence the punch line.
Little did I know that I was going to get "Two for the price of One." Here comes the punch line. Of course everyone that Christopher chooses to work with has got to be brilliant. So, the person that Christopher was working with in this case was not only brilliant, but also ITALIAN-AMERICAN.
I did not know this musician, but I quickly came to know him through his performance. He is John Barcellona, an internationally acclaimed and recorded flutist. It is funny how both Christopher's last name, Caliendo, and John's last name, Barcellona, sound Spanish. And during the performance I was watching and listening to John play. Between his flair, style and charisma, I thought to myself, he can't be Spanish. Not that the Spanish don't have all those qualities, but there was something that said, Italian.
Sure enough, I come to find out he was very Italian-American. I even asked his mother after the performance. What a great way to end the week. Grazie Christopher for the gift of your beautiful music.
A la salute,
P.S. Here is a YouTube video of CNN's Larry King Broadcast of "Beyond the Power of Positive Thinking - How to Change Your Life." (In English)