I was born in Chòra tu Vùa (Bova in Italian), a very small village in the wild south of Calabria.
Wild because of the very harsh winds, the desertic mountains and the burning sun.
I've been playing the saxophone for 16 years, but the history of sounds in my life starts a little earlier, in my childhood. There was music going on in my family at that time: my grand-father was a 'Cciugulu (or Trugulu) player, a very ancient instrument in some way close to the launeddas, a traditional Sardinian wind instrument. My grand-father was a shepherd, he called each of his sheeps by a greek mythical name he had given them, and he was one of the last masters of 'Cciugulu.
If you're born in a musician-shepherd family (almost a cast, called 'u Trugulari'), whatever conventional instrument you end up by learning for making a living in this modern world, your musical, spiritual and mystical heritage will always be of a Trugulu'.
Unfortunately my grand-father, a traditionalist, had cut the contacts with me from the day I went to school to learn english instead of learning his old language with him in the mountains. One day my parents bought me the Launeddas at a local fair, trying to generate a new respectful relationship between me and my grand-father. The results were terrible: he didn't speak to us until the end of his life, few months later, when all the instruments he made had been buried with him and Hestia, his devoted ram.
Looking back, I regret to have lost the lucky chance to to be part of that ancestral musical tradition. I think the cause is that bitter mix of rage and misunderstanding that started between my grandpa and my mother the day she left home very young to go to São Tomé and Principe in search of luck.
I picked up the saxophone when I was eight, since my village's communal band needed one to play Nino Rota's music and I brought it with me to Rome, a little bit later when my parents decided to move there.
In Rome I discovered and fell in love with jazz, studying great musicians such as Otto Hardwik, Cootie Williams, Lucille Bogan and Frankie Trumbauer. In my daily life now as a jazz musician, I try to find bridges between the world of my archaic forefathers, and the music of the African-American people that has changed me forever.
With my instrument and some Portuguese I learned from my mother I moved three years ago to Lisbon, where I'm now living, playing and teaching.
I'm very grateful and honoured to be part of the ESE. I'm looking forward collaborating with other young European saxophonists of different cultural backgrounds, and finding through playing and creating music, the common language that forms our european identity.