My album The Suite Acoustic began with a composition I wrote soon after graduating from college. I was inspired to write it after watching the 8mm films of my Grandfather. My Nonno used to film the vacations that his family went on. One day my Mom had the footage converted to VHS and scored it to various songs. The effect was powerful to say the least—there was laughter, tears, the full gamut of emotion and the realization that my family has been through a lot and has shared some really memorable moments.
My Nonno passed away in 2003 and I shelved the project. I didn’t want to revisit this idea that he inspired because I wanted him, most of all, to see it. It was just too painful. So I just let all of the footage and the piece itself rot in a closet.
Then, in 2009, I began to question what the hell it was I was doing with myself in the grand scheme of things. Am I an artist or just a wedding guitarist getting by on my classical/wedding repertoire? Was I just living for a paycheck or did I want something more? As I have mentioned on this blog I was inspired by having my work recognized on YouTube and I was finally motivated to create more as I felt that, not only was it fulfilling to me as an artist, but maybe somebody else out there would find this material as compelling as I did.
And people did. My 8mm film “Our Time Is Short” got accepted to the Flicker film festival and screened in Brooklyn. There was something to this. People started to pay attention. People started watching my YouTube channel.
So I embarked on writing The Suite Acoustic. Each one of my original compositions on the album was supposed to be accompanied by a short 8mm film that I hoped would be as powerful as the 8mm films of my grandfather. Each piece had an 8mm film in mind while I was writing the piece itself.
The latest 8mm film was inspired by my wife. She grew up in Gloucester, Massachusetts and came, like me, from a big Italian family on her mother’s side. Every year the St. Peter’s Fiesta takes place on the last week in June. The festival is an Italian “sagra” or religious festival that revolves around Saint Peter, the patron saint of fisherman. Gloucester has long been a fishing village since Italian immigrants first started coming there, and these immigrants often brought their trade with them to the new world. Just like Italian sagras the Saint Peter’s fiesta has religious events, such as the blessing of the fishing fleet, and the famed “albero della cucagna”, which in Italian means “The Tree of Plenty”. The Gloucester version of “L’Albero Della Cucagna” is a contest known as “The Greasy Pole” contest. Contestants walk along a greased telephone pole suspended over the ocean in an attempt to capture the flag on the other side. The result, as you can see from the video, is hilarious:
My wife and I go to the Saint Peter’s Fiesta every year. We love Gloucester and would like very much to move there, despite the fact that I have built a career here in New Hampshire for the past ten years. That makes it very difficult to pull up stakes and move, but you know, a man can dream.
On a side note I’d like to thank the talented genius Christopher Harn, who edited all of my 8mm footage for this video. I’m so glad I found hitRECord and, in turn, Chris Harn, who has been instrumental in helping me realize the full potential of the pieces that I wrote for guitar and 8mm film. I’m grateful to him and for his friendship. This could not have been possible without him.
I’d also like to thank Good Morning Gloucester for featuring my piece on their site. I was initially a little nervous when they featured it—it’s offbeat enough that I know not everyone will understand its intention as a piece. I love how, even though it was filmed in 2010, it looks like it was filmed 35 years prior due to the vintage look of Super 8. I got a good response to it, judging from the comments below the video on the page.
I have more 8mm films and more general YouTube craziness in the works! I can’t wait to unleash some more insanity upon the unsuspecting web. I have some really big projects in development as well as my first fan-requested YouTube video. In the meantime stay tuned to my YouTube channel as more updates will be coming soon!