My trip to Rabbits’ Hill

As some of you may know, I recorded a song for Trick or Treat’s new album “Rabbits’ Hill Pt.2”. Trick or Treat are good friends of mine and really fun to work with as you can see for yourself in the video below! The song I’m featured in is “Never Say Goodbye”, the ballad of the album, and I was also a part of the choir together with Alle Conti, Damnagoras and Simone Mularoni. We have a slide of the mighty choir here:

 

And a shot with the band here:

The guys were so kind to send me some really cool t-shirts and, of course, the album. I tried to show them on a video on facebook, but it looks like things didn’t wanna work out that day, so I ended up having a strange photo slide show with my awkward audio on it! I’ll figure out how to make facebook like my videos sooner or later, bare with me!

If you like the t-shirts and album you can find them here. The record is really good, I really think you should check it out!
So this is it, my trip to Rabbits’ Hill is all displayed in this video clip:

 

Have a nice day everyone! Hugs

Sara

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Congrats on the Oscar, Maestro!

Please allow me for once to show off some of my patriotism, which I usually tend to smother.
Last night, at the 88th Academy Awards ceremony, Maestro Ennio Morricone won the Oscar for Best Original Score for Quentin Tarantino’s movie The Hateful Eight. This important acknowledgement made the proud Italian inside of me scream and shout out of happiness.

Film score music undoubtedly has a heavy influence on us Ancient Bards as musicians, especially on Daniele who usually writes all that we play,  and along with other great composers such as John Williams, Hans Zimmer and Thomas Bergersen (to name a few), Ennio Morricone is one of our greatest sources of inspiration, both music and career wise. The fact that Morricone happens to be Italian too makes us all very proud, ’cause us Italians are people of art and poetry, but we often forget it, undermining our own value.
Morricone had already received an honorary Oscar back in 2007, but this time it was at “actual” Oscar and I loved seeing an 87 year old genius receive recognition for his work, take the statuette and deliver a speech (in Italian) with his voice broken by that tender mix of emotion and genuine gratitude. I also loved how he thought of his other esteemed competitors and, above all, how he dedicated the award to his wife Maria, because any manifestation of long-lasting true love and profound respect makes my heart melt (life goals!).
I was happy to see that a couple of days ago Ennio also received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and, I have to say, this was long overdue!

I have two pieces that I rank among my most favorites of all time.
The firs is Finale di un Concerto Romantico Interrotto (literally Finale of an interrupted romantic concert) from the movie Making Love (Ricky Tognazzi’s Canone Inverso, taken from the book of the same name written by Paolo Maurensig).
I swear to you guys, whenever I listen to this piece of art I have to concentrate to avoid crying! I can’t contain myself, the melody is from another world and the whole composition is the poetic and pure expression of passion, love, sacrifice, sadness, glory. Everything is so perfect to me I let myself bathe into the piano and the violins. Give it a listen and tell me if it isn’t beautiful!

 My other favorite is one of Morricone’s most famous pieces, Gabriel’s Oboe from The Mission and, quite frankly, this one doesn’t even really need anymore words.

Actually, no piece of good music at all should ever be ruined, categorized, shrunk, minimized, impoverished by using words. I say when music touches your heart just enjoy it, because that heavenly feeling you feel needs no explanation, it’s yours and nobody else’s, treasure it.

So, all there’s left to say is, yet again, another THANK YOU to the incomparable Maestro Ennio Morricone, for giving us the privilege of listening to his music, for being a solid example of modesty in greatness, and for providing us with a whole lot of precious inspiration. Grazie Maestro ❤

Tons of love,
Sara

Caught in a Gentle Storm

I was very surprised and happy to see that Arjen Lucassen had decided to go on tour with his new project with the great Anneke Van Giersbergen, The Gentle Storm, and since they had 3 dates in Italy I knew I HAD to go, I wouldn’t miss this one of a kind occasion for the world! So I went to their night in Bologna and the gig was everything you could expect from those two huge artists and even more, because true talent always surprises you with more beauty every time. Anneke’s voice is incredible, just out of this world, and I still can’t believe I got to sing with her Valley Of The Queens, from Ayreon‘s Into The Electric Castle.
I honestly have to say that the emotion of the moment almost got the best of me, but I hope you can understand, I was so happy and honored!
I was literally caught in a gentle storm, as Arjen and Anneke are beautiful people, always smiling, kind and… gentle!

Here’s a little clip of the performance:

 

Have a nice weekend my friends,
Take care!

Sara

A New Dawn Ending

Annuncio
Ok guys, it’s official, A New Dawn Ending is the title of Ancient Bards new album, which will conclude the first part of the Black Crystal Sword Saga. A long and intense battle was about to begin at the end of Soulless Child so get prepared for it, because 10 tracks are going to take your imagination on a wild ride.

Take a look again at the trailer and read the official announcement, further news are coming your way soon!

ANCIENT BARDS along with Limb Music and Rockshots Music Management, are proud to present:


A New Dawn Ending

This is the title of the new album of Ancient Bards, containing the third and last chapter of the first part of the Black Crystal Sword Saga, which began with The Alliance of the Kings in 2010 and continued with Soulless Child in 2011. Ancient mysteries, entangled schemes, come in succession together with strange revelations, during the long and intense battle this chapter is about, a battle that takes place both inside and outside the charachters. The songs were all recorded at Simone Mularoni’s Domination Studio.

A New Dawn Ending will be released via Limb Music on April 25th, 2014.

Daniele: “For us now it’s a habit and a guarantee to record at Domination Studio, with Simone we studied the best sound for this album, which this time goes beyond our previous productions: the guitars are even more aggressive, the orchestrations and arrangements are more epic than ever, while the choir, which is more present, has a new and more important role. These are the main ingredients of this final chapter of the Saga. The music flawlessly delivers the events of the story, every note fits it perfectly like a tailored suit. With this album we tried to reach a high level of epicness because we want the listeners to enjoy it to the fullest: the choruses are likely to resonate in your head for a long time. The composition are, of course, all enriched by the beautiful, clear and strong voice of Sara, by the engaging solos of Claudio and Martino and accompanied by the uncontrollable machine that is Federico.This can probably be the best chapter of the saga so far.”

In addition to all of this, there’s an added value to the album, a very special guest in the track The Last Resort: Fabio Lione from Rhapsody of Fire, a name that definitely doesn’t need any introduction, duets with Sara in pure magic.

The album contains 10 songs, including 2 suites: one of over 12 minutes, and one of nearly 17 for a total of over 70 minutes.

Here’s the tracklist of A New Dawn Ending:

01 – Before the Storm (1:39)
02 – A Greater Purpose (7:55)
03 – Flaming Heart (6:52)
04 – Across This Life (4:31)
05 – In My Arms (5:25)
06 – The Last Resort (6:06)
07 – Showdown (12:48)
08 – In the End (5:11)
09 – Spiriti Liberi (4:49)
10 – A New Dawn Ending (16:37)

The cover artwork will be revealed soon: it was designed by the master Felipe Machado Franco (Blind Guardian, Rhapsody, etc.) and it truly encapsulates the essence of this chapter.

Get ready, the Black Crystal Sword Saga pt.1 comes to an end.

The Bards and I are utterly excited and we can’t wait for you to hear our new piece of work!

Lots of love

Sara

On musical purism

I happen to witness a lot of querelles between self-styled musicians fighting to establish whose musical taste and culture is better, why what they listen to is gold while what all the other unworthy common human beings listen to is plain sh*t. I’m saying self-styled because, in my humble opinion, whoever has a prejudice in music can’t be called a musician, a real musician listens to all of the possible streams and, most importantly, understands and respects them all, even the ones he doesn’t really dig.

competition

Of course this is just my point of view, I don’t mean to impose my opinion or sound pretentious, but this is what I learned from my experience, from when I was a kid ’till now.
It’s ok to say you don’t like something, but it’s not ok to say that it’s worth nothing.

 “It took 5 authors to write a Beyonce song, Freddie Mercury wrote Bohemian Rhapsody all by himself” 

What’s that supposed to mean? Freddie was obviously one of a kind, a true genius with a voice like no other (don’t deceive yourself, I know someone who does not recognise even his talent), but that shouldn’t diminish the merit of all the other artists or there wouldn’t be anyone singing again after his death. So Beyonce doesn’t write her own songs? Who cares, she still has an AWESOME voice (I dare you to say her songs are easy to sing), a beautiful face (and body), a great personality and a strong charisma.

 “You’re a DJ and you think you’re making music? You’re just playing around with noises and a computer”

“Metal is for men, what’s that Lady Gaga-wannabe doing?”

“If you call that band genius, then what should we say about Frank Zappa?”

“Do people really listen to One Direction?” (says the one who at 12 had an entire wall of Backstreet Boys posters)

“Mainstream music is for suckers who know nothing”  (like Jon Snow)

 

You know what, I think music is the most democratic essence in the whole world, it’s for everyone, it touches the heart of the good, the bad, the young, the old, the mild, the tough. Some people let it in their geart easily, some people are hard to get through, but even the least emotional person on earth has had goosebumps listening to a tune.

So who are we to judge wether someone should feel or not a sense of happiness while listenint to Justin Bieber? And what harm does it make?

And don’t even get me started on all the comparisons between artists that i hear, that’s simply foolish!

 Let’s not put restraints on the freest thing there is, our feelings. Music arouses all diffrent kinds of feelings in us, no genre is more noble than another so judging people by their musical tastes is pretty silly.

 Music connects us to the divine: it is physics, pure mathematics, it’s nothing but a wave that propagates, a vibration and yet it is able to stimulate our soul and, so ineffable and inexplicable, manages to speak when all our words fail. It unites us, gives us hope, keeps us company.

I am the first one who isn’t really fond of most of the Italian artists, they don’t suit my taste, de gustibus non disputandum est, so I do go and deprecate everyone who just went to the latest Ligabue concert. Respect, respect is the key to everything, in music, in religion and every other thing in life.

If you’re somehow a music “purist” try to be a bit more open minded and note that there are a lot of levels on which we can appreciate things, understand that what you feel is not what the other feels and nobody is superior. Enjoy some good music, even the song you’ve always considered silly, shake you booty to Call Me Maybe because damn, that song is catchy and fun!
You can go back to Deep Purple later, their record will always be there for you.

I really don’t know if I made my point with this, there are so many things I wanna say, but I fear the post would get too long and boring… maybe I’ll come back on this subject.
Thanks for reading, I hope you agree with me!

Lots of love,

Sara

The briefest biography ever

– Date of birth: February 14th 1986 (yes, i’m turning 28 next week! )

– Singing since: 1986 I guess

– First time on a stage: 1990

– Piano lessons: from 1990 to 1998

– Dance lessons: from 1992 to 2007 (classical and contemporary)

– Choirs: I sang in many, “Piccoli Cantori di San Francesco” is the one I stayed the longest in

– First band: Stay Jam, from 2005 to 2007

– Meeting with Ancient Bards: 2007

– Strong suit as a kid: New York New York, Liza Minnelli version

– Strong suite now: it’s probably still New York New York!

– All time favorite artist: Celine Dion

Aulos
Me at four. I’m the one in the green skirt
Aulos2
Cheeky me at 7
Cantori
Me and my crooked teeth at 14

Quick and easy!
Bye!

Sara

Videos and half naked heroes

This, dear friends, is the trailer we shoot to build a little bit the hype for our upcoming new album (and to let everyone know there is actually going to be a new album!). In the end of Hope Dies Last, the last track of Soulless Child, we hear Sendor mocking Daltor and shouting “Raise the sword, for the glory and peace, let the fight begin!” and in the new album the story will resume right where we left it, so yes, get ready for the long and intense battle!
Also you will notice at the end of the trailer that The Black Chrystal Sword Saga PART.1 ends: the saga is divided in 3 parts, and the first one, the one that will end now, is composed by 3 chapters (chapter 1: The Alliance Of The Kings; chapter 2: Soulless Child; chapter 3: TBA).
The director of the video is Matteo Ermeti, he also took care of the videos of Through My Veins and To The Master Of Darkness; Matteo is a very good friend of ours, if you want you can check out his other works on his website or like his facebook page.
Many thanks to Angelo and Teo who played respectively Sendor and Daltor!

Here is some “making of” bootleg:

The setDaniele's fancy shoes Federico Martino Matteo at work

Heels

See ya!

Sara

You also gotta pay your dues

A while ago I came across this sort of comic strip on facebook in which, in one scene, there was a musician asking the waiter of a club where the dressing room was and, in the next scene, the musician was getting changed in the bathroom (illustration by Ornella Stingo http://www.ornellastingo.com).

IlCamerino

At first I laughed thinking it was so true, but then I realized that in my experience having a bathroom where you can get dressed is pure luxury most of the times! When you’re just the opening act of the concert you don’t always get all the comforts, in fact you usually don’t get any at all. I’m sure there are people who had to face worse scenarios than me, this is just what I think is my least favorite place to use as a changing room (and we even had to use a porch once!).

The backstage corridor

Ok, literally the corridor that runs between the end of the stage and the wall behind it. The features of this fancy dressing room are:
a) Everyone walks though it at every given second, most of the times carrying heavy stuff like amplifiers and cabinets. In this case you have to squash yourself to the wall making sure none of your appendages are in the way, you don’t want them to trip. When the space is too little all you can do to get out of the way is to go under the stage climbing over the pipes of its framework and blend in with the cables and cases.
b) This point might be irrelevant for bands composed by people of the same gender, but I’m a girl and usually all the others around me are men. There are no curtains of any kind in the corridor, so how do you put on your pantyhose, your dress, your shoes and your cloak? Well if you’re not ashamed you just do it and let everybody see what God graced you with, but if you are ashamed to be seen almost naked there are two things you can do: bring a long and large skirt you can wear so you can change everything under its protection, or you can grab someone and force him to hold up your cloak as if it was a curtain while you change with your behind facing the corner. Do you have a stable equilibrium? You need it, otherwise you’ll be hopping around hoping you don’t step on something gross or on a nail, because, to raise the difficulty level, obviously there are no chairs (a tetanus shot is a good idea anyway)! You need to be neat and always store carefully the clothes you take off, because otherwise you will lose them or bother someone.
c) I know, stupid girly problems but… in the corridor there’s no place for a mirror. I usually bring my own little mirror, but when I do there’s not enough light and if I bring a lamp there’s nowhere to plug it. I’m sorry, but when the combo “no mirror, no light” hits there’s no escape and you’ll end up on stage looking like a panda or like a kid who stole her mother’s make up and put it all over his face. If you’re lucky you won’t find out in front of everyone that you’re wearing your t-shirt backwards.

The list could go on but I’ll stop here because I don’t wanna be tedious, I’ll just say that every little rub is worth the while, because playing with my band is awesome, being on stage is awesome, meeting our fans and meeting great musicians is… awesome!
If you’re a performer of any kind, what’s the strangest place you had to get dressed in? I’m curious as always.

Have a great weekend my friends and take care!

Sara

You gotta begin somewhere

headpost

In this day and age YouTube is an emerging band’s best friend, the majority of Ancient Bards’ fans discovered us thanks to a random click on our video, found on the related videos column. When we started playing together things went fast, at the time Daniele had already composed the basics of almost 3 albums, we participated in some contests in order to realize what was our impact on the public, if we were convincing on stage; we recorded The Alliance Of The Kings, sent the master to some labels and before we knew it we had a record deal with Limb Music and Products. At that point we knew that it was essential to shoot a video of our most catchy song, but we didn’t have the experience, or the money, so we managed to do things the best way we could and, with a couple of friends, we made the video for The Birth Of Evil. “Cheesy” is the most used word by the users in the comment section, are they right? Well of course they are, look at us! Do we regret or feel ashamed of what we did? NO!

You gotta begin somewhere, and we started right there, in a grotto with inadequate lighting, clumsy miming, bad hairstyles and odd shots. That was US in 2009.

It’s a step you have to go through if you’re the new band in town, if you don’t have anybody to bankroll you and your project; being mocked a little  is the price we pay for having the satisfaction of knowing that we made it all on our own. We still are confused and surprised though, because that badly treated video currently has more than 1.100.00 views! Consider that it’s not even on our channel, but on the one of the guy who made it for us (he’s the one who wrote “zero-budget” on the description box, the choice of writing that unhappy detail wasn’t ours), if it was on my channel I would probably change the preview image lol. With that being said I would like to thank all of our fans: we love you, without your amazing support we wouldn’t be able to grow and get better, so we promise that if you keep on loving us we’ll do our best to provide you not only with good songs, but also with good related media! 😉

People always point out what they hate about something, how about you tell me what you like about the video? I’m very curious, be original and funny, I’m always ready for a good laugh at myself!
Take a look at it one more time to refresh your memory:

Hugs, take care

Sara

Dutch memories

As some of you may know, I was part of the cast of singers who participated in the new Ayreon record The Theory Of Everything. When Arjen Lucassen contacted me I was very surprised (given the list of huge artists that have worked with him in the past, like Bruce Dickinson, Russell Allen, James LaBrie, Jorn Lande, Devin Townsend, just to name a few) and my first concern was not to betray the trust he had placed in me and in my abilities, because he could only rely only on a couple of videos he saw on youtube and on a recording of poor quality I had done with my phone (sound cards let you down when you need them the most!). IMG_5841So I got on a plane and went north, landing at Schiphol, Amsterdam. Arjen and the lovely Lori were waiting for me to arrive and, guys, I’m short and I’m used to being around taller people, but Lucassen is a real tower! During the trip from the airport to the house we had a little chat and got to know each other and the first impression about Arjen (well the second, the first one was obviously about his height!) was that he was immensely kind, I never felt uncomfortable, not even for a second. I didn’t have time to actually visit The Netherlands, but from the little I saw from the car window it must be a really nice place and I’m looking forward to going back again! I admire how Arjen and Lori let me, basically a stranger, into their house, in such a personal space with courtesy and spontaneity. I had a great time recording my parts, I didn’t know much about the story, but the lyrics were enough for me to understand what kind of feelings I needed to arouse. For further information about the recording sessions you should definitely check out the DVD they made, containing interviews with all the singers, time lapse videos of the sessions and a lot of other features that show how a bunch of different people from almost all over the world came virtually together to create something special! You can buy your copy here.

Here are some pics of my flight back home, my delicious Starbucks cappuccino and me with The Theory Of Everything.

Collage

This is the video of my presentation:

I hope you like the album, I honestly love it!
See you soon, take care

Sara