Antonio Forcione Reviews and Interviews
Posted on: 29/03/2019
IF YOU despair about the daily capitalist media hatchet job on Jeremy Corbyn you need Joy — it soothes while restoring faith in internationalism.
And prepare to be astonished. These free-flowing songs and instrumentals dazzle with a rich musical, almost monastic, minimalism where less actually does mean more.
The ebullient, combined virtuosity of Antonio Forcione (Italy) on guitar, Seckou Keita (Senegal) on kora and lead vocals and Adriano Adewale (Brazil) on percussion mesmerises throughout.
Forcione’s guitar is masterfully measured yet intricate, Keita’s vocals effortlessly meander through the melodies while Adewale’s gentle syncopation on percussion delights.
The jointly composed Joy sets the tone with its meditative tempo and Baracoa transports you to eastern Cuba. Uncle Solo pays tribute to kora legend Jali Solo Cissokho while The Beautiful Game longs for the lost “soul footie” played by Pele, Garrincha, Gerson or Socrates.
Album of the year contender.
Click here for the full review >
Cool Cats – The Antonio Forcione Quartet At Ronnie Scott’s
Posted on: 25/08/2018
THERE are few individuals around today who can make an acoustic guitar sound like Antonio Forcione does.
Whether playing solo or with the gifted Sarah Jane Morris, his guitar never fails to mesmerise. He can make it sing or weep.
It can tug at your heart strings, make your spine tingle with joy or trigger a smile after a hard day’s work. Seventh heaven. Guitar nirvana.
At the legendary Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club on Thursday night, the guitar genius was performing as part of the Antonio Forcione Quartet. On stage with him and his collection of guitars were Matheus Nova on Bass, Emiliano Caroselli on percussion and drums – and Jenny Adejayan on Cello.
A beautifully crafted Quartet, working together rather than against each other. Nova, unassuming; Caroselli, gentle and occasionally amusing; Adejayan, cooly sublime. Forcione at the Quartet’s heart, the focus but in a subtle way. Harmony.
Read the full review here >>
Antonio Forcione: Motown And Magic – To The Order Of St John
Posted on: 18/06/2018
THERE can be few more humbling – and spiritually uplifting – venues in London to listen to music than the Priory Church of the Order of St John.
High ceilings, candelabras, colourful order banners and paintings of saints and sacrificial sheep, add to the spectacle as does an early stretcher used by St John Ambulance for those in need of rescuing. There is also a garden, complete with olive tree, for those in need of a little contemplative thought.
All this explains why the church, situated in London’s trendy Clerkenwell, is now host to the Clerkenwell International Music Series – regular concerts (primarily classical) held throughout the year celebrating the work of great composers and up and coming musicians from all over Europe.
Read Full Review >
Colchester Arts Centre Jazz Club Review
Posted on: 24/03/2017
Antonio Forcione & Sarah Jane Morris
Sunday, March 12th, 2017
Reviewer: Reg Webb
”NOT IN MY NAME", screamed Sarah Jane Morris, will live with me for a while.
Nothing in the rather bland JazzFM YouTube clip publicising this gig had prepared me for that. It could of course be really smart marketing to undersell your artists so that those who make it to the gig will be even more impressed. It could be, but I doubt it.
There is not much to be said for ignorance. But one thing that can be said for it is that you often get surprised.
I was familiar with some of Antonio Forcione's work, but I had never heard him live. I knew next to nothing about Sarah Jane Morris. After this performance, correctly or not, I feel that I know quite a lot about her.
More actor and story teller, Sarah Jane uses her extraordinary voice to communicate. She is one of the most dramatically forceful human beings whose presence I've been lucky enough to be in. Of her, it certainly cannot be said, as declared W. B. Yeats when in a bad mood, "The best lack all conviction".
Sarah Jane is conviction personified. If you're worried about the political nature of that conviction, nobody is going to be haranguing you about the ‘commanding heights of the economy’ etc. Her politics as presented here was all humanitarian, rooted in the suffering,
obscenity of suffering, displacement and death meted out to innocent bystanders. She puts across her commitment to that, and personal biographical stories from her life with a musician's command of pitch and an actor's command of dynamics. If you weren't moved, someone should phone an undertaker on your behalf.
And so to Antonio Forcione. As a practicing musician, I admire technique. What I admire even more is technique put to musically expressive purposes. For a duo, in an age addicted to drums, you have to be able to maintain pulse for we ‘groove’ addicts.
Antonio makes use of the body of the instrument, scrubbing the strings, with very physical and rhythmically accurate hammer-ons, to underpin the singer and drive the song along. I loved his use of harmonics too. This was electro-acoustic guitar playing of the highest order. I hope guitar players will forgive any inaccurate terminology, but I'm sure you get my drift.
So Steve Wright maintains his 100% record of bringing concerts to the Arts Centre which are better than at least this audient was expecting.
Meanwhile, Chris Secker gets a great balance in circumstances where, I imagine, there's a lot of potential for feedback with this kind of guitar. Never believe that anything about a gig like this is effortless, because it isn't.
Compared To What (Fallen Angel Records) is the duo’s debut album, featuring originals and some very worthwhile reworkings of other people's songs, like the title track for example.
Wonderful! Thank you.
[Click here to see the original review
Compared to What Jazzwise Review
Posted on: 09/11/2016
Posted on: 14/10/2016
The highly acclaimed and very popular Chiswick based guitarist Antonio Forcione, has joined with the singer Sarah Jane Morris - who had a number one hit with the Communards in 1980 - to release a new album on October 26 entitled Compared To What.
Together they are touring all over the UK and Europe
Forcione is an artist in every sense of the word, hailed as one of the most charismatic, unconventional guitarists at large in the musical world today. With a host of international awards under his belt, this eclectic composer never ceases to stun his audience on stage, leading him to be referred to as the ‘Jimi Hendrix of the acoustic guitar”. His solo performances never fail to bring the house down, let alone when he is performing in duo, as a trio, or with his quartet of international musicians. He breaks the mould of most conventional guitar sounds, be it in the field of jazz, Spanish, African, Brazilian or improvised music, with a ferocious virtuosity, passion and humour.
He has shared the stage and recorded with some of the world’s most accomplished musicans. Click here to read the full review >
Posted on: 11/05/2016
Spring 2016 issue
From busking in London’s Covent Garden to playing on the world’s stage, Antonio Forcione takes a multicultural approach to playing acoustic guitar
When Antonio Forcione first came to the UK, he busked in Covent Garden, winning a Time Out busking competition in the process. Since then, he has become a fixture at the Edinburgh Festival, as well as travelling the world, absorbing new musical cultures along the way. But he cites his recent concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall with a full orchestra as the highlight of his career so far. When we caught up with him he was in the process of packing his bags for a month long visit to Cuba, hinting that an album was probably going to follow shortly afterwards. His current project is a duo recording with singer Sarah Jane Morris, but first we asked where his travels had taken him to recently? “........
Download the pdf below to read the full interview.
Posted on: 11/05/2016
REPORT: Side by Side Refugees Charity Night at the 606 (Ian Shaw, Tanita Tikaram and guests)
Posted on: 11/05/2016
Ian Shaw hosted a Charity Night for Side by Side Refugees at the 606 Club on Wednesday 4th May 2016. It featured Sarah Gillespie, Sarah-Jane Morris, Antonio Forcione and special guest Tanita Tikaram, plus Ian himself and guests Georgia Mancio and Tina May. "The chemistry between Sarah and Antonio is something to behold. Alhough their partnership is of relatively recent vintage – they’ve been performing together since 2013 – it clearly inspires and energizes them both. They will, incidentally, be appearing at the Hippodrome on 17 May, previewing material from their new record Compared to What to be released in September."For full review click here >
Antonio Forcione & Adriano Adewale at Komedia Bath
Komedia Bath - 21 April, 2016
Have you ever been to one of those gigs where you barely know the artist but a friend really recommends that you should go? For me, that was the case with Antonio Focione at Komedia Bath last night. Before taking my place – seated at a table - among a busy crowd, I had managed to sneak in a couple of tracks on YouTube, so I already had some basic idea of the amazing skills of this virtuoso Italian guitarist, but nothing that prepared for what was to follow. For this gig, Forcione was joined by Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adewale and what a joy it was to watch these two maestros play together and clearly feed off of each other's skills, energy and pure enjoyment of what they were creating together.
Forcione is quite simply a guitar genuis, one of those musicians who appears to be totally and instinctively at one with his instrument....... Read the full review here
Nottingham Post Interview
Posted on: 18/09/2015
Italian acoustic guitar virtuoso Antonio Forcione, described as "the Hendrix of the acoustic guitar", returns to Nottingham next week. “I learned English from a second hand TV” he tells Steve Haines... Your compositions are from a variety of genres and styles so do you aim to write a piece in a certain style or do you let each piece grow organically?
The more I learn through music, the more I find it difficult to distinguish genres or styles. I am sure, however, that my travels and the many music collaborations I have had help to expand my music vocabulary, as it were. You've collaborated with many artists - what draws you to certain projects or artists?
It is definitely the music that moves me. And therefore any artist who produces music that inspires me will be someone I am drawn to......Click here for the full interview >
Posted on: 27/08/2015
Antonio Forcione, Pat Metheny e Antonio Carlos Jobim
Posted on: 10/08/2015
Nella quarta puntata del ciclo estivo di Aranjuez, incontreremo Antonio Forcione, talentuosissimo chitarrista italiano che ha trovato fortuna a Londra, capitale diventata da circa tre decenni il suo quartier generale. Musicista eclettico e fantasioso compositore, dotato di una tecnica strumentale multiforne, vanta nel suo palmares collaborazioni di alto rango, al fianco di musicisti come Charlie Haden, Sarah Jane Morris, Diego el Cigala. Ci racconterà, al microfono di Claudio Farinone, dei suoi progetti e della sua ricca attività musicale.
La puntata sarà aperta dall'incredibile suono della Pikasso Guitar, strumento a quarantadue corde, costruito dalla canadese Linda Manzer su commissione del grande Pat Metheny. E, per concludere, una chicca finale firmata Antonio Carlos Jobim, profumata dalla chitarra di Baden Powell.
Posted on: 21/08/2014
BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE REVIEW
Antonio Forcione has been performing at the Fringe, he told us, since 1991, but it's a while since I've have seen a solo show from him in Edinburgh in an intimate space such as this one.
And on the final night of this short run, he is more relaxed and chatty than I have seen him before for this show of tributes to his favourite songs, artists and people.
His version of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" has been in his repertoire for some time, but he also gives us The Beatles' "Come Together", Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" and Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" and his own tributes to Nelson Mandela with "Mandiba's Jive" and to Henry Mancini with his "Pink Panther" style "The Cool Cat".
All are given the Forcione treatment as he produces an amazing range of sounds from just one instrument, sounding like guitar, bass and percussion all in one.
He has plenty of fun with his audience too, and not just in his chat between the numbers. One track is played in only ultraviolent light with Forcione wearing white gloves. Being the last night, the audience demanded both of his encore numbers, and he gave us the ones where he really shows off and makes us laugh: "Touch Wood" and "Acoustic Revenge".
But if I could do anything half as well as Forcione played guitar, I'd be showing off about it all the time as well.
It's a great show that brings out this great musician's personality as well as his talent and it deserved the standing ovation.
Review by David Chadderton
See the original review here >
Posted on: 13/08/2014
Antonio Forcione is the best guitarist you’ve never heard of. A true virtuoso of the acoustic guitar, he’s been playing tiny Fringe venues for the last twenty years, when in a just world, he’d be packing out Madison Square Gardens.
By turns lyrical, funky, ethereal, haunting, and playful, his one-man show is a delight, and his playing, simply breathtaking.
Opening with an homage to the late great Flamenco artist, Paco de Lucia, his always melodic line imperceptibly mutates into driving riffs, with harmonics, pull-offs, grace notes and outrageous top of the neck finger taps.
As much fan as composer, he takes several standards for a brisk walk, including Marvin Gaye’s Grapevine and Stevie Wonder’s Superstition, but his own compositions more than stand equal, especially Madiba Jive, his tribute to Nelson Mandela, where he sounds like a whole township band.
Forcione first toured as a 13 year old prodigy. Hailed as The Jimi Hendrix of The Acoustic Guitar, he fuses many traditions into his own unique style, and while he plays with great passion and intensity, between songs he chats with laconic humour. As he says, “If you know the words, and you want to sing along…. Don’t.”
Words: Tim Maguire
Antonio Forcione: No Strings Attached, Assembly George Square Studios, Aug 7 – 17, 21:10
Posted on: 13/08/2014
Antonio Forcione is such an established and adored Fringe regular it almost seems redundant reviewing him because, just as day follows night, a five star review follows Foricone's show. Forcione still has the skill, talent and dexterity that has to be seen to believed.
Starting with an impressive tribute to the late Paco De Lucia, Forcione launches into an interesting blend of original compositions and rearrangements of favourite tracks from the 60's, 70's and 80's. After a stunning arrangement of Heard Through the Grapevine, Forcione does his own spin on Come Together with each finger on his right hand performing the role of a different Beatle. Sounds gimmicky, I admit, but it is an overwhelming display if his inimitable skill. The variation of sound and tone he can produce from six strings is astounding. It is a full bodied sound that he creates and even in the quieter moments his skilful mix of techniques bring the tracks hurtling out of his guitar. Guitarists around the globe must watch Forcione and only be able to repeat Eric Clapton’s famous quote after being asked what he thought the first time he saw Jimi Hendrix - “I’m going to go home and practice”.
As a performer, Forcione has a swaggering arrogance to him that is entertaining and he has every right to be that way. Between his performances, all of which are entirely instrumental and require no other musicians, Forcione reels off anecdotes and he fills some of the more upbeat numbers with amusing visual gags and unnecessary flourishes that always raise a smile. A terrific impression of a double bass, both in playing stance and sound, makes you wonder if there is any stringed instrument Forcione can’t play. Or any instrument at all for that matter.“I started as a musician playing the drums until the neighbour downstairs complained”, he explains. He still does drum and, if his guitar playing is anything to go by, it must be an amazing spectacle to see him play.
Even if some of his songs do, occasionally, come across as complicated for the sake of it, the fact he pulls it off time after time allows him to do a bit of showing off every now and again. There is no denying Antonio Forcione's unparalleled talents on the acoustic guitar and long may his reign as an Edinburgh staple continue. Click here to see the original article on Broadway Baby website >
Antonio Forcione toca por primera vez en Cuba
Este fue uno de los acontecimientos más relevantes del 19. Festival Habana Vieja: Ciudad en Movimiento: el guitarrista italiano Antonio Forcione ofreció en la sede de la Compañía Danza Teatro Retazos su primer concierto en Cuba, horas antes de la clausura del evento este 13 de abril. Con una prolífica carrera avalada por 18 álbumes en los que incluye piezas junto a prestigiosos artistas como Paco de Lucía, Bobby McFerrin, Phil Collins, Jools Holland, Zucchero, Pino Daniele, Charlie Haden, John McLaughlin, Trilok Gurtu, Steps Ahead, Leo Kotke, Bireli Lagrene, Eduardo Niebla, entre otros, este músico visitó la capital cubana por estos días y compartió su obra con los participantes en la cita danzaria......read more >>
La música es mi pasión
Primer concierto de Antonio Forcione en Cuba
ANA LIDIA GARCÍA E sta es una de las no- ticias más relevantes del 19. Festival Ha- bana Vieja: Ciudad en Movimiento: el guita- rrista italiano Antonio Forcio- ne ofrecerá en el Jardín de las Carolinas, sede de Danza Tea- tro Retazos, su primer con- cierto en Cuba. Con una pro- lífica carrera avalada por 18 álbumes en los que inclu- ye piezas junto a prestigiosos artistas como Paco de Lucía, Bobby McFerrin, Phil Collins, Jools Holland, Zucchero, Pino Daniele, Charlie Haden, Jo- hn McLaughlin, Trilok Gurtu, Steps Ahead, Leo Kotke, Biréli Lagrène, Eduardo Niebla, en- tre otros, visita la capital cu- bana por estos días y decide compartir su obra con los par- ticipantes en la cita danzaria.
Con disposición y amabi- lidad increíbles, Forcione nos cuenta que actualmente ex- plora la música cubana, como antes lo hizo en países afri- canos, caribeños y asiáticos. En cada lugar busca elemen- tos cercanos a las raíces cul- turales. “Estoy aquí princi- palmente para aprender y dar a conocer mi obra al público. Quiero nutrirme de la cultura de esta bella nación y mi sue- ño es hacer una grabación con músicos cubanos que dejen su huella en mi gran lienzo, ese donde las diferentes culturas van escribiendo su impronta”.
Más que definir la músi- ca que hace, prefiere confesar quelaviveylatoca,yqueen- cuentra la inspiración en todo lo que le rodea. Aunque de pe- queño tocaba la mandolina y el drum, desde hace muchos años se ha dedicado a la guita- rra: “En ella encuentro la me- jor manera de expresarme y ya me he dado cuenta de que no basta una vida para expre- sar las maravillas del mundo a través de sus cuerdas”, asegu- ra. Prefiere los instrumentos acústicos porque siente “que están más cercanos a la his- toria de la gente y los huesos vibran cuando se tocan”. No está en contra de lo electróni- co, pero le gusta “sentir la di- mensión humana”.
En los últimos meses ha recorrido varias ciudades de la isla y ha percibido que las personas de acá tocan con “bomba”. Le ha impresionado cómo, a pesar de las dificul- tades, sonríen: “Veo muchas cosas genuinas en este país. Hay un sol en la sonrisa de la gente. No he conocido un si- tio así en todo el mundo. Ade- más, por la paz y la alegría que aquí se respiran, me recuerda mi infancia en un pueblo de Italia, 50 años atrás”.
No pretende tocar como los cubanos, pero quiere que los ritmos de esta tierra lo in- vadan y lo inspiren a crear. De hecho, cuenta que ya tie- ne casi dos piezas concluidas, las cuales surgieron a par- tir de las experiencias vivi- das en Cuba. Componía en la tarde, sentado en uno de los parques de la Habana Vieja y precisamente en una de esas sesiones de creación conoció de este festival al que ha de- cidido regalar su obra.
Aunque terminando este concierto Forcione regresa- rá a Londres, donde ha radi- cado en los últimos 30 años, muy pronto volverá a la isla porque los hombres como él siguen sus pasiones, y lo ha- cen hasta el infinito. Cuba, su música y su gente son una de las estrellas polares que aho- ra lo impulsan: “Esas hay que perseguirlas, porque estamos en este mundo un ratico muy pequeño y debemos aprove- char al máximo la belleza”.
Posted on: 17/12/2013
The open, elegantly musical and self-deprecatingly funny Italian guitarist Antonio Forcione seems to have been around for ever: he first toured his homeland 40 years ago as a 13-year-old prodigy, and has a loyal following in his adopted Britain, notably at the Edinburgh festival. Lately, he's shifted up a gear. Forcione draws on jazz, folk and pop traditions from Europe, Africa and Latin America, but with his latest Sketches of Africa album, he's taken a jump out of his comfort zone. He has just played a four-night run at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, working with a string quartet for the first time in his diverse career on the closing night.
Before the arrival of the strings, Forcione cruised into a laid-back chord-melody swinger that would have suggested a Wes Montgomery theme if not for percussionist Anselmo Netto's blend of soft hand-drumming and gruff, metallic sounds, and then delivered the late Miriam Makeba's hit Pata Pata as an agile soul-jazzy instrumental over cellist Jenny Adejayan's and bassist Matheus Nova's low purrs. Australian violinist Julian Ferraretto led the string quartet through a series of attractively loose-limbed arrangements with Forcione's group. Spurts of impulsive flamenco-like melody darted in and out of a brooding original inspired by the Alhambra in Granada, and the strings moved from chunky riffs to whispering, conspiratorial slithers. The coolly dancing Madiba's Jive, the musician's tribute to Nelson Mandela, had the classical players casually echoing the breezy guitar line. Forcione highlighted his world-music sweep early in the second set with a fast, emphatic piece that sounded like a Balkan dance in the hands of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, on the lilting Tarifa's Spanish-African mix and in the graceful chime of the guitar over a lightly skipping groove on the fast-moving Africa. It was a crossover gig in the best sense, with generous and articulate new relationships audibly forming on the fly.
View the review on The Guardian website >
Posted on: 25/11/2013
Fame & Forcione - Songlines issue 96 review
British Theatre Guide Review
Posted on: 18/11/2012
Songlines Review Feb 2013
European guitar maestro gives African influences full rein
David Harrington of the Kronos Quartet once speculated on what Beethoven’s works might have sounded like if he’d
been able to hear African music. It’s a fascinating question because in this global age, musicians of every stripe and in every genre have been able to absorb African influences and in each case their music has been dramatically enriched by it. The latest example is the Italian guitarist and composer Antonio Forcione, whose artistry has previously spanned folk, rock, jazz, Latin and a variety of fusion projects. His latest album incorporates West African and southern African styles.
All but two of the eight tracks are instrumental and feature Forcione’s virtuoso acoustic guitar complemented by cello, double bass, flugelhorn and African ornamentation by the likes of Seckou Keita on kora (harp-lute) and Juldeh Camara
on the single-string ritti. The result is a mellifluous, acoustic African jazz hybrid in which finely honed composition rather than open-ended jamming is the order of the day, characterised by skilful and precise ensemble playing. Best of all, perhaps, are the tracks that most overtly channel the rhythms of southern Africa, particularly the lovely ‘Madiba’s Jive’ and ‘The Song
For Zimbabwe’, which features the striking voice of Chiwonizo Maraire. It could easily have come out sounding like easy-listening global muzak, but there’s a dynamism that prevents it from ever doing so, enhanced by the inspired production of former Rolling Stones’ producer Chris Kimsey.
TRACK TO TRY: Madiba’s Jive
Posted on: 23/03/2013
Guitar Techniques Magazine
Da Montecilfone all’Africa
Intervista su Chitarra Acustica (15 Nov 2012)
La rivista include anche lo spartito del brano Madiba's Jive (Sketches of Africa ) diviso in due parti, la seconda parte uscirà sul numero di dicembre.L'intervista e' anche pubblicata sul sito fingerpicking.net, in modo che possa essere letta gratuitamente.
Posted on: 19/09/2012
London Jazz Blog
Antonio Forcione - Sketches of Africa
Review by Rod Fogg
Guitarist-composer Antonio Forcione has a new album out this month entitled Sketches of Africa. It is his first for five years and reflects inspiration drawn from visits to Africa and collaborations with local musicians. In support of the album he has just completed a four night residency at the Pizza Express in Dean Street, and will also be back there, for a five-night residency from December 7th-11th.
The live band features Forcione on nylon and steel string guitars, Adriano Adewale on percussion, Matheus Nova on acoustic bass guitar and Jenny Adejayan on cello. Nova plays world music with a healthy injection of funk, while Adewale produces a grooving mix of hand percussion thuds and rattles together with conventional drum and cymbal sounds.
The cello is not exactly a common instrument either in jazz or world music, but Adejayan plays a pivotal role in this band, stridently doubling the guitar melody or adding lively, rhythmic ostinati, while sometimes producing earthy, resonant drones evocative of the plains of Africa itself.
As for Forcione, it is fascinating to hear the way he gradually ramps up the level of virtuosity; his guitar parts are always complex combinations of simultaneous melody and accompaniment, but as the tempos gradually quickened through the performance his exuberant soloing became the focal point of the music, to the enthusiastic approval of both his fellow performers and the audience.
Much of the music performed can be found on the new album, which understandably has a cooler, more restrained vibe then the live gigs. It also allows a broader palette of tones and textures, with tracks which feature layered guitars (including 12 string), flugelhorn, kora and vocals.
Forcione is a unique performer, a master of the guitar and an explorer of new ground between existing cultures. Seek him out - your ears and your soul will thank you. Click here to view original review >
Posted on: 24/08/2012
Three Weeks Music Review
World-renowned guitarist Antonio Forcione has returned to the Fringe in support of his new album, ‘Sketches of Africa’. For the second half of his Festival run he is joined on-stage by an acoustic bassist and a mandolinist/percussionist, who provide an important platform from which Forcione can express his veritable mastery of the guitar. Forcione creates magnificent soundscapes, and although this set is clearly Afro-centric he still manages to evoke a sense of international musical kinship. An animated performer, as amazed by his own skills as his audience is, he jumps and jives, bringing his afro-beat melodies to life. This show provides intricately impressive guitar-work for connoisseurs, with enough excitable, playful rhythm for everyone else.tw rating 4/5
See review online: http://www.threeweeks.co.uk
JAZZ SHAPED BLOG
Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 9:25PM
Where my affection for African music stems from I'll probably never know. it seems most likely that I find the quintessential style of the continent familiar, but upon contemplation it's worth noting that any memories of it which I do harbor, consist of absolutely nothing life affirming or substantial. In truth, the soundtrack to Disney's 'Lion King' has probably been the single greatest bridge connecting me with the music of humanity's birthplace, but there definitely is something which makes me engage with it.
Whatever this previously alluded to 'something' is, I have found it encapsulated in the new CD from that 21st century 'Jimi Hendrix' of acoustic guitar: 'Antonio Forcione'. With his first studio album in five years, the London-based guitarist's latest excursion focuses largely on music of origin, with every element on the album drawing towards a laid back, authentic, and most of all respectful body of work. Throughout, African instruments such as the Kora feature alongside Western standards and create an effortless amalgamation of styles which ultimately contribute to the abundance of personality on this wonderful record. The harmonies are rich, the melodies are unfaltering and the percussion section remains subtle and welcoming throughout. This is one record which really does outstretch an invitational hand to you and gleefully beckons you to come and dance.
I've listened to this album every day after work and I can safely say that getting in and washing up has never seemed so vibrant or enjoyable. If I really must compare it to a metaphorical Western entity in an attempt to relay the special nature of the album, my offering would be this:
Penguin Cafe Orchestra meets Bassekou Kouyate for an unrivaled session of musical exchanges and melodic meanderings - There's your poster quote mate!
Coming to a grateful set of ears on the side of your head in September 2012.
Posted on: 09/08/2012
Broadway Baby Review
View the review online >
The Elegance Lounge at Assembly George Square really isn’t the best venue for Antonio Forcione, described as ‘the Fringe’s favourite guitarist’. The pillars holding up the tent mask the stage whilst the sound of punters permeates through from outside and this music act is one to see as well as to hear. That said, once the music begins, we are transported to another realm that blocks out all other noise.
Forcione’s music incorporates elements of jazz, blues, and Spanish and South American guitar styles for a sound that epitomises World Music. This year’s performance coincides with his newly-released album ‘Sketches of Africa’, bringing African rhythms and melodies into his playing.
The live performance, however, is a different experience to the album. Forcione plays with unrivalled skill, incorporating finger-picking, tapping, percussive effects and other specialist techniques that are aurally and visually spectacular. You’ll be amazed you’re listening to just one guitarist.
He is also accompanied on-stage by Italian percussionist Dado Pasqualini and ‘the maestro’ Seckou Keita from Senegal who plays the Kora, an African instrument that is a cross between a harp and a banjo with a bright, shimmering timbre. Together, they create an air of casual intimacy in a jam session filled with improvisation that had the audience cheering and applauding after each song.
The music contains lush harmonies, complex rhythms (some audience members even got up to dance!) and emotive melodies characterised by slides, scalic runs and flourishing licks. The three performers blended in rich textures, whilst smiling and encouraging each other throughout. Particular highlights were the emotive ‘Stay Forever’, ‘Madiba’s Jive’ (in honour of Nelson Mandela), the evocative ‘African Dawn’ and ‘Touch Wood’, a solo number that really allowed Forcione to exhibit his talents.
Most impressive of all, the passion of the three performers is infectious. This technical marvel is matched by stunning music and Forcione proves himself to be a world-class guitarist. Sublime.
|19th January 2012
Interesting melodies and well-crafted solos over a swinging organ-and-drums rhythm section quickly warmed up the Hideaway audience on a chilly winter evening last Friday. Trumpeter Quentin Collins and tenor saxophonist Brandon Allen share inspiration in the glory days of hard bop and the music of Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Lee Morgan, Hank Mobley and its other great proponents but, while they bring its values to their own quartet, this is no mere tribute band. Their music is all original and their two opening numbers, the title track of their current album ‘What’s It Gonna Be?’ and ‘No Way José’ highlighted the writing talents of both co-leaders. Each of their songs has a distinctive character, often long-form and gradually unfolding with several sections and interludes between solos, punctuated with effective rhythmic kicks. Both pace their solos well, maintaining the audience’s attention with skilfully developed ideas and a sense of form. The virtuosity is there but never overstated. Drummer Enzo Zirilli plays a key role in all this, supporting and prodding, always swinging. Mike Gorman, substituting on organ for Ross Stanley, more than rose to this challenge with swinging bass lines and chords and several fine solos.
Guesting with the quartet in their second set was acoustic guitar master Antonio Forcione. His music is a far remove from hard bop, with influences ranging from flamenco to Balkan and from Arabic to American acoustic guitar styles, but he is thoroughly conversant with the jazz language. Opening with his dramatic ‘Africa’ and concluding with his joyful ‘Maurizio’s Party’, the contrasting character of this set rounded off an excellent evening of creative music.
- Charles Alexander
Antonio Forcione and Adriano Adewale at the Nelson Festival
|Festival Tent 19th Oct Wednesday
You know when you are in the company of fine musicians who know their instruments inside out when they captivate their audience by their sheer masterfulness, when there’s a standing ovation and the audience leave looking satisfied, elated and better off for the experience.
This was such a night in the Festival Tent, when we were transfixed by Italian Antonio Forcione, a man with agile fingers that could dance all over his guitar producing sounds beyond belief, from Flamenco to African and with facial expressions that spoke of passion and sheer enjoyment and a wonderful sense of humour that drew us into his world.
Equally accomplished musician, Brazilian Adriano Adewale, worked his way around a collection of percussion instruments with hands that moved so quickly they were often a blur, and who brought the house down with his solo tambourine, enticing sounds out of that tiny instrument that left every member of the audience in awe and secretly deciding to go out and buy one.
From the first subtle beginnings we were a party to the close relationship between these two men, the eye contact, smiles and playfulness ran between them through-out the show. A perfect musical relationship where neither ego got carried away and their mutual respect was evident throughout.
Whether playing ‘African Dawn’ with a myriad of early morning bird and wildlife sounds from Adewale, or ‘Touch Wood’ where Forcione used the body of his guitar as percussion and the neck for strumming, it was obvious these men knew their way around their instruments from years of playing.
For me too was the realisation that much of our musical entertainment is led by lyrics and it took a moment to embrace the melody led by Forcione’s guitar. All the music was his original work except an old familiar ‘I heard It On the Grapevine’ by Otis Redding where we really heard the melody come through and Forcione’s arrangement gave it a new lease on life.
Thank goodness for encores, as we were treated to a fantastic solo by Forcione, who did things with his guitar that defied logic, by flipping it upside down, rubbing it over his legs, twanging the strings while stretching them to breaking point, amusing and amazing.
Bravo! A show we won’t forget in a hurry.
ED2011 Music Review: Antonio Forcione
Three Weeks review
|Saturday September 10th, 2011
There are no words to describe the greatness of this show. In the most epic trio of musical perfection I have ever come across, acoustic guitarist Antonio Forcione is joined by Seckou Keita on the kora and percussionist Adriano Adewale. Not only are the performers’ musical abilities mind-blowing, but the passion and genuine joy of playing for others brilliantly shines on their faces and temporarily blinds you, so that, in the extremely rare occurrence that they make a mistake, you’ll be none the wiser.
Every single audience member was mesmerised by this performance; it is easily one of the best shows I have ever seen, in and out of the Fringe. It would be tragic to miss this.
Antonio Forcione: “Ragazzi sappiate ascoltare il mondo e voi stessi”.
MONTECILFONE. “Sono un ragazzo semplice con un incredibile entusiasmo” con queste parole Antonio Forcione, musicista eclettico definisce se stesso. Dal palco del Parco delle Lame a Montecilfone, ieri 12 agosto 2011, ha letteralmente stregato il pubblico tenendolo col fiato sospeso per circa due ore. Special guest della serata la cantante Francesca Alotta che ha emozionato il pubblico cantando un brano scritto per il padre scomparso. Sul palco anche il sindaco Franco Pallotta e il parroco don Franco Pezzotta che hanno omaggiato il musicista del premio “Valigia dell’Emigrante”, riconoscimento che il Comune arbereshe assegna ad un ‘emigrato’ dal paese che si è particolarmente contraddistinto nel mondo.
Nel corso dell’incontro che ha preceduto il concerto Antonio Forcione ha raccontato le sue origini molisane e ha fissato un’immagine per descrivere il suo incontro con la musica: “Avevo circa 8 anni quando, passeggiando per le strade di Montecilfone sono stato attratto dalla musica che veniva fuori da un’osteria, una classica osteria con gli uomini che giocavano a carte e bevevano vino e due musicisti con fisarmonica e chitarra. Ecco, sono rimasto colpito da quell’atmosfera fantastica fatta di allegria e musica. E’ questa stessa atmosfera che cerco sempre di ricreare nei miei concerti dovunque io vada, perché credo fermamente nel potenziale sociale della musica”.
Forcione dopo la scuola d’arte ad Ancona e un periodo fatto di sacrifici e duro lavoro (anche quello del manovale) a Roma, accetta un biglietto gratis da un amico per Londra. E’ lì che dopo un paio di mesi trascorsi a suonare la sua chitarra in strada, partecipa ad una selezione per artisti di strada organizzata dalla BBC. “Eravamo 300 e ognuno si esibiva in quello che sapeva fare, dalla break dance, alle catene dei punk, dagli acrobati ai musicisti di ogni tipo. Io suonai con il mandolino una tarantella e un pezzo spagnoleggiante e poi andai via perché comunque dovevo guadagnarmi la giornata. Dopo un paio d’ore mi raggiunse una delle organizzatrici dicendomi che avevo vinto il primo premio di 120 sterline”. Nonostante la pubblicazione del primo album Forcione continua a suonare in strada per altri tre anni e a ‘produrre musica in modo artigianale’: “Facevamo tutto noi, la grafica dei manifesti, io avevo fatto l’istituto d’arte, poi li andavamo ad attaccare di notte, una ragazza invece duplicava le audiocassette che poi vendevamo”. Fino a quando il gruppo non vien notato dalla Virgin Record.
Ad oggi l’AFQ, l’Antonio Forcione Quartet, ha all’attivo 16 album e tournè che hanno toccato qualsiasi palco del mondo: dal Kazakistan, all’Indonesia, da Honk Kong, all’India per arrivare all’Africa. E’ proprio con musicisti africani che Forcione collabora da diverso tempo per dare vita al suo nuovo album che uscirà a giorni. “L’album che si intitola ‘Sketches of Africa’ (Schizzi d’Africa) è il frutto della simbiosi tra Forcione e i musicisti incontrati durante i suoi viaggi nel continente Africano. Sonorità provenienti dal Senegal, dallo Zimbawe, dal Sud Africa e dallo Zambia si fondono alla ritmica inconfondibile della chitarra di Forcione. “Credo che la musica mi abbia formato per quello che sono oggi – spiega Forcione – ma del Molise porto dentro alcuni valori che è difficile trovare altrove come il rispetto per gli anziani, la cordialità, l’essere alla mano”. Quando si chiede a Forcione il consiglio per i giovani molisani che amano la musica e vogliono vivere di questo il musicista spiega: “Quello che consiglio è di avere una buona abitudine all’ascolto”. Ascolto inteso come attenzione al mondo esterno ma anche ascolto di se stessi, delle proprie passioni. “Ricordo quando ho sentito davvero per la prima volta me stesso. Osservavo il paesaggio dalla mia finestra a Montecilfone, avevo 16 anni, e per la prima volta mi fu chiara questa frase ‘Voglio viaggiare e suonare’. Sapere ascoltare è molto importante”. Forcione chiude con una citazione di un proverbio inglese che dice “La conoscenza parla, la saggezza ascolta”.
(Ticonzero Editing per Comune di Montecilfone e Sportello Linguistico regionale area arbereshe)
Famous friends and Funs Explaining Antonio Forcione Appeal