Luca Burgalassi is an Italian singer-songwriter, composer and musician from Livorno, Tuscany, who has brought back the “unplugged” style of vintage, raw, acoustics to large audiences worldwide through live performances and recorded albums. His first solo album “Shadows and Fragments” was released in 2015. Today, Luca spoke with ETV about the bandmates he performs with and his new album.
Luca is a music teacher, concert performer, and all around guitar expert. He began studying music at age 6 and was already writing and performing original songs by age 12. He attended Lizard Academy of Fiesole (Florence) under the guidance of Giovanni Unterberger and graduated summa cum laude in acoustic guitar and then undertook advanced studies with Franco D’Andrea, Franco Morone, Armando Corsi, Steve Trovato, Mike Sterne and Franco Mussida. He studied folk and country blues techniques, experimenting with open tunings.
Luca became well-versed in acoustic and electric guitar, as well as traditional folk instruments, including the banjo, mandolin, dobro, lap steel guitar and harmonica. Clearly, writing and performing music was imprinted into Luca’s DNA and he lives and breathes music every day. He has taken part in many different projects and productions, performing live at festivals and theaters throughout Italy and abroad, such as the Youth Music Festival Budapest, International Guitar Festival Salou (Spain), Veneto Jazz Festival, Fiuggi Guitar Festival, Mottola Guitar Festival, and Acoustic Guitar Sarzana.
Photo provided by Luca Burgalassi.
Nowadays, when Luca performs live, he tries to play with his band whenever possible. Many of Luca’s band members are long-time music companions who live on the coast of Tuscany. The band members consist of Franco Ceccanti, Nino Pellegrini, Ettore Fancelli, Stefano Lunardi, and Silvia Cercignani.
“The structure of the entire band, during the live performances, reflects the acoustic sound of the album, with the acoustic guitar and vocals as the main base, enriched by the vocal harmonies and surrounded by the clean electric guitar and the violin arrangements; supported by the rhythmic background of a minimal and essential drum, together with the double bass,” Luca said. “I am proud to have with me these extraordinary musicians, all of them with a long career and experience, with a strong musical background in classical, jazz and rock blues environment.”
Here’s a breakdown of Luca’s bandmates: Ceccanti is a classical, Jazz, Blues and rock guitar player and cellist. Pellegrini is a Jazz double-bass player with numerous international collaborations. Fancelli is a drummer and percussionist with an extensive classical, Jazz and rock background. Lunardi is a classic, ethnic and Jazz violin performer, and last but least is Cercignani, a singer with experience in different styles from pop, rock, Blues, Jazz and Bossa. They have all been playing together in different collaborations and projects in the past years, making it easy for Luca to call them up for album recordings and live performances.
Luca said his project is modular, starting from a duo to a complete sextet. Sometimes they perform unplugged with acoustic guitars and violin, while other times they perform in trio with drums and bass, depending on the location and audience.
In addition to performing live, Luca worked on several studio albums with his band. His 2015 solo album “Shadows and Fragments” was released by Videoradio Edizioni Musicali and contains 10 songs that are all written, arranged, played, sung and recorded by Luca. He said he was satisfied with the final result of the album because he caught the atmosphere he had in mind.
“‘Shadows and Fragments’ is mainly an intimate album, built upon shades of memories and pieces of the past,” Luca said. “My idea was to create this atmosphere using clean acoustic instruments, recorded via microphone in the most natural way, with the minimum use of effects, without software sampled sounds or synth or other. I wanted to give to this album the warmness of the wooden instruments and a taste of vintage, even when the arrangements become more complex with the use of multiple instruments. That’s why I’ve chosen minimal drums, double-bass instead of electric bass, and only clean vintage sounds for the electric guitars.”
The resulting sound from the album is a mix of folk, country, blues, jazz, and rock influenced themes done in an “unplugged” format. The rawness is captured well in the studio. Listen to “Dark Cherries and Wine” as a good example here.
The song is meaningful to Luca and is a dreamy ballad rich of flashback images. Another song, “Orange Rooms,” is inspired by the life of painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani, bringing to light his last days in Paris and his relationship with his home-town Livorno, where Luca lives. All the songs on the album feature strong autobiographical information that many listeners can also relate to. If live acoustic guitars and folk instruments are your style, be sure to check out Luca Burgalassi’s album “Shadows and Fragments” available now.
“Many of the songs had been written years ago, and left, unfinished, on an old pad, until I decided to pick them up again, breathe new life into the words, rejuvenate old tracks, and compose anew the shadows and fragments that have accompanied me through the years,” Luca said.