Filippo Graziani, father Ivan and "For friends"

Filippo Graziani, father Ivan and “For friends”

He was born on June 26, 1981 Filippo Grazianison of Ivan Graziani and, in turn, musician and author. At the beginning of the year Filippo together with his brother Tommaso sponsored the release of an album composed of eight unreleased songs by the illustrious father, entitled “Ivan Graziani – For friends”. Filippo followed the release of the album with a tour in which he presented the album on stage. By re-proposing our review of the album we intend to celebrate the birthday of Filippo Graziani and the memory of Ivan.

On their latest album ColapesceDimartino had anticipated, albeit in a different form, an unreleased song by Ivan Grazianiby title “The sailors’ song” where the “virtual” voice of the singer-songwriter of Abruzzo (and half Sardinian) origins appeared. Now, a few months later, that song, together with seven others, finds space in a new album (available from 26 January) of unreleased songs by Ivan Graziani entitled “For friends”. Before these new eight tracks we have to go back exactly 30 years to find Ivan’s latest unreleased songs, those on the album “Gossips”.

A recovery operation, without any technological artifice, carried Ivan’s sons, Thomas and Philip, who found tapes containing old auditions recorded by their father. “They were unusable tapes today – explains Filippo – Tommaso did a great job of digitizing them and made them available for a new record production.” They are songs that have their own completeness, as Filippo always explains. “They were recordings of songs in an advanced stage of construction, with a precise idea of ​​arrangement and structure, already in focus.” However, the exact date to which they date back is unknown. “My father wasn’t very tidy so he didn’t keep track of the recording dates. Listening to them we think they could be somewhere between the mid 80s and early 90s”.

There are eight songs that are clearly attributable to Graziani, both in terms of sound and writing, songs that for various reasons have not found a place in any album but that have their own dignity. “They are free recordings – says Anna, Ivan’s wife – made without any prediction, free from any constraints, expressing his creativity and a sort of experimentation.

“To the full advantage of the work it must be said, as his son Filippo confirms, that everything heard in the eight tracks is actually played in the studio, there is no enrichment or “creative” use of technological tools, other than the necessary ones to dump old tapes. Eight tracks, therefore, in which we recognize Ivan’s hand, his irony, his touch that leads him towards a rock vision of songwriting. Ballads that are sometimes biting, sometimes more delicate, with some “excursions” towards a social aspect observed with a critical/ironic gaze. The album opens on the irony and guitar of “.A woman” which almost amusedly talks about a certain type of emotional relationship between man and woman: “He turned you around and around like an old pedal / now your destiny is sealed”. A fun ballad with the guitar in evidence.

The arpeggio it introduces is more delicate “Anger” one of the most intense and, despite the title, slow songs on the album, where his son Filippo is also mentioned: “Filippo is a child with tears in his pocket / and he has a light veil of sadness in his heart / Now he doesn’t know but he will learn what that anger inside him is.” A sentence that Filippo himself confirms: “It’s true – says his son who is now 42 years old – I was like this as a boy.”

The third track “The Italian girl” is the most mysterious of the lot. A text that can speak metaphorically about our country or about a woman “or even about a ship” suggests Filippo. This piece is also of great intensity, complete with violin to delicately color it. The origin of the song is of folk origin, borrowed, as Anna explains, from an old Abruzzo song. Introduced by the sound of the surf comes “The sailors’ song”, anticipated by Colapesce Dimartino, inspired and dedicated, as his wife and son reveal, to his fishermen friends from Marotta.

A song of clear maritime inspiration, a ballad with guitar (the central solo is very beautiful) and piano. One of the best moments on the album. The track ends with a part in which Ivan’s speech appears as he jokes with the musicians in the recording room. “Working on this album – explains Filippo – also had emotional implications precisely because the tapes were full of dialogues and hearing his voice again was a real shock for me.”.

Changing register with “TV” where Graziani analyses, with a biting rock ballad, the relationship, the weight and the social meaning of television. Ironic without being political, but certainly with a clear and long look. “The great circus of monsters seen on TV only and always on TV / Who will hypnotize you and you / You will see, you will see, you will see people you don’t know” Again a delicate guitar, almost blues, accompanies “Miley” inspired by and dedicated to a Neapolitan girl. Another beautiful moment, with a typical Graziani style of singing.

Another beautiful guitar opens “I will surprise you”, an interesting and very powerful rock ballad. Once again Ivan’s vocal performance leaves its mark (with its melodies). Voice and guitar: Graziani’s magical interweaving. Here too a light piano line enriches the song.

The closing is entrusted to the title track “For friends”, the most rock moment of the lot, a triumph of the concept of friendship: “I’ll play a Gibson solid body for my friends”. It is the rock, light-hearted and fun soul of Graziani, who quotes himself with the “po po po” that comes from “Goodbye Lugano” (1977). Although the eight tracks were recorded at different times, the result is “solid”, univocal, there are no major stylistic changes, there is a good underlying unity. Even if the songs are not among the best of the singer-songwriter’s production, some good ideas are certainly not lacking.

Graziani’s discography ends with this album because, as Filippo states, there is no other unreleased material. The final word on Graziani’s discography also corresponds to the closing of a circle. “For friends” is in fact released by the reborn label Number one (now at Sony), which was that of the first years of Graziani’s career, with the Anonymous Soundhis last group, and then (until 1980) he released his first solo records.