#Interview with Adolfo La Volpe (November 2016) on #neuguitars #blog


Hello Adolfo, I think.. well our last interview dates back to … 2010! How many things in the meantime … the works with AlchEmistica … collaborations with Giacomo Mongelli and Pierpaolo Martino on the italian indipendent label Setola Di Maiale, with Stefano Luigi Mangia and Giorgio Distance on Leo Records, Nautilus quartet of Workin ‘Label … there do you want to talk about it? Have I missed something?

Well.. a lot of things happened, in fact … the two AlchEmistica’s jobs ( “Il Nome delle Cose” in 2010 and “15 Improvisations” in duo with Pablo Montagne) were important to me because in both, as indeed the last “A Little Less”, I completely dedicated myself to the acoustic guitar, for me a little bit unusual. The Mondegreen trio with P.Martino and G.Mongelli is a formation that is giving us a lot of satisfaction (in these days we play within the Time Zones Festival); we feel we have now developed a remarkable interplay, and above all a common language, a synthesis between quite different things: the avant-jazz of the so-called “downtown scene” in New York at the turn of the 80s and 90s, experimental post-rock, the most abstract radical improvisation. The CD in trio with S.Mangia and G.Distante (preceded by the way by another cd for Leo in quartet with Mangia, Stefania Ladisa on violin and Angelo Urso on double bass) was an experience of which I am particularly proud, as the concerts that followed; we hope in the future to be able to pick up the thread of that discourse. And again, the Tran (c) formation Quartet with Giorgia Santoro, Marco Bardoscia and Pippo D’Ambrosio, who in recent years has recorded two CDs ( “Entrance” for Leo Records and “Nautilus” for Workin’Label) is now a skilled and trained group, where we can now wander and experience a lot in terms of composition, as we have always wanted to bring together a melodic and relaxed writing with most bitter and hallucinated moments. Also my cd “Charting The Sleepers – In a Nutshell”, for many reasons, perhaps my most “private” work, and to which I am very fond of, has been released by the collective “Desuonatori” (www.desuonatori.it ). Another great adventure is Camera Sonora (www.camerasonora.com), a “durational performance” that we performed several times in Italy, Germany and Denmark with Marialuisa Capurso, voice and electronics, and Morten Poulsen, electronics. I played (with Francesco Massaro) in the “Floating” cd by Chiara Liuzzi, an original work on Billie Holiday for Leo Records, and this summer I attended the very interesting multimedia performance “Memoriae Cantus” with Vito M. Laforgia’s Med’Ensemble, which I hope we will have occasion to repeat. In totally different areas, I keep worknig in the so-called world music, continuing my “long course” collaboration with Raiz (Almamegretta), the ensemble Radicanto (with whom I work now for more than fifteen years) and Radiodervish, and my work with the Fore trio and the quartet L’Escargot, with whom we are now working on a new CD which we are excited. Finally, I can’t forget my almost twenty years collaboration with the contemporary dance company QuaLiBò.


And then this year two very interesting works in duo with Pablo Montagne and La Cantiga de la Serena … shall we start to talk about this trio with Fabrizio Piepoli and Giorgia Santoro … how do you meet? How long do you play together and why do you choose early music and Sephardic music?

With both known each other for several years, we walked several diffent “roads” together and shared very different experiences with each other. The beginning of my collaboration with Giorgia dates back to 2006, the one with Fabrizio even to 1997, when we both began to try to play ancient Mediterranean music, passionating ourselves with those traditions. In 2008 Giorgia and I created the Cantiga de la Serena, who was born as an instrumental trio and in more recent years consolidated itself in its present form with Fabrizio’s arrival.

I was very pleased to listen to play the oud with Cantiga, in our interview in 2010 you said that one of your favorite discs was “L’art du ud” by Munir Bashir, perhaps the greatest Iraqis artist of this instrument, how did your passion for this instrument start and how did you learn it? By the way your intro on “It Verias” is a small masterpiece …

Thank you indeed, but in all honesty I try to relate oud (like other cordofoni that I’m passionate about, such as the Portuguese guitar, the corsican harp, the Irish bouzouki or turkish saz) like an environmentally schoolboy, remaining aware that I have so much to learn.


La Serena has been produced by the independent Workin ‘Label, you said that is not the first time you work with them, how did this relationship start?

The relationship with the Workin ‘Label was born when we recorded Nautilus, the second CD of Tran (c) formation Quartet as I was talking about before. Irene Scardia, label’s founder, already invited us to play in exhibitions organized by her, so everything happened very spontaneously. When we recorded “La Serena” it therefore seemed natural to offer this new work to Irene, considering that her label has a very interesting catalog and is opened to different musical styles.


Then there is the work in duo with Pablo Montagne, you two are almost…. brothers, how did start the idea of this work? It seems that you two often feel the need to catch up and start something new togheter….

When it’s possible Pablo and I meet to study and experiment together, and one day we realized that focusing on the dialogue between classical and acoustic guitar we obtained some interesting results; then We chose some of our compositions there seemed could be interesting with this particular instrumentation, and so the work’s direction began to take shape. Finally I think it helped us a lot being able to perform this material in concert, allowing us to understand what worked and what needed to be improved instead.


What are differences from A little less than 15 Improvisations?

First, as the title suggests, “15 Improvisations” is completely dedicated to improvisation work; in the case of “A Little Less”, instead, one of the things we were interested in exploring more it’s the dialogical relationship between writing scores and improvisation practice, and in particular the possibility to “dose” them differently within each passages. So in the cd we can find completely written tracks, and completely improvised other, and still others in which the two elements are compared in different ways. Also I add that, while in the previous cd both of us played acoustic guitar, in this record Pablo dedicates himself to classical; this, might seem like a detail, but is actually an element that has opened a new frontier: in the course of our shared history Pablo and I have always tried to play in order to create a kind of macro-guitar pointing to the amalgamating as possible, almost canceling each individuality; to do this we always choose similar instruments, two electric guitars, or two acoustic. In the case of “A Little Less”, we decided instead opened to the possibility of enhancing the tonal and structural differences of the two instruments, which are sufficiently important but not so insurmountable as to undermine that homogenity mentioned earlier.


Listening to A little less I noticed something different than your previous collaborations: there is a wider use of melody, dissonance, as a texture, sound more like a color ….

You are certainly right, I think the song “Aquarelle” is emblematic of this willingness to use harmony in a not purely functional sense but rather as a means for creating textures and colors; in the development of that song Pablo and I improvise two different harmonic paths, whose juxtaposition creates an almost three-dimensional effect.

Your CHAQUE OBJECT project continues or is it for now on stand by?

Chaque Objet was an open ensemble, in which the only constant presence were Pablo and I, accompanied each time by Francesco Massaro, Vittorio Gallo and Alessandro Tomassetti, so I can definitely say that the work in duo with Pablo are the natural evolution of that experience; it’s not said, however, and no decision is taken in the future to re-use the name “Chaque Objet”.

Do you think you will realize more records with Amirani Records and Setola di Maiale?

I hope so, yes, I hope that Gianni Mimmo and Stefano Giust, founders respectively of Amirani Records and Seyola di Maiale, now I think the two most important Italian labels in the field of improvised music, would like to publish in the future my other works.

What are your next projects? What are you working on?

Different things, but I would mention especially “La Forêt”, a concert for music and images in a duo with my wife, the illustrator Maria Teresa De Palma; it is a project still in its infancy, with only one public performance in assets, but we are very interested about it and for which we imagine a very interesting evolution. I’m also writing material for a CD in trio, in which I will only play the electric guitar. We’ll see.