Thursday 3 January 2013

Gabriele Poso: Sunshine on a Rainy day!

Written by Imran Mirza

Catching a lot of people off guard – including yours truly – Sardinia's very own, Gabriele Poso may very well have delivered the definitive soundtrack to 2012’s summer with his album release, 'Roots of Soul'.  And there was certainly a lot to choose from amongst the soul and jazz music releases, but while Incognito and Gregory Porter’s sophomore effort woooow’ed us, and we ooooooh’ed at releases from Joey Negro & The Sunburst Band along with Dojo Cuts, Poso's effortless blend of jazz, latin and bossa flavours mixed with a natural soul aesthetic generated beautiful textures and layers of a fresh-faced sound always welcome when basking in the rays of a summer sunshine.

Having culminated and defined his sound through his love of percussion, Poso's exceptional talents as an all-round multi-instrumentalist, writer, composer, producer, etc, have been honed over years of live performances and strong affiliations, with standout names, including Osunlade and the Yoruba Soul collective – whose strong and lengthy ties resulted in the production of Poso's first album released in 2008, 'From The Genuine World', and having performed with fellow Italian jazz and bossa nova maestro, Nicola Conte, amongst many others.  Also, able to boast having racked up countless performances across the world, including London, Paris, Istanbul, Belgium, Canada - it's these natural skills and eclectic energy that are masterfully captured on to this album.

Valuable vocal assistance comes from noteworthy jazz vocalist, Nailah Porter, who appears on two of the album's tracks, 'Into My Heart' and 'A Night With You'; Tanya Michelle, who secures the coveted spot on the album's lead-off single release, 'Sunshine', and the aforementioned Osunlade who lends an excellent contribution to one of the album's three cover versions, Dawn Penn's 'You Don't Love Me'.  Album highlights also come in the form of ‘Dona Flor’, ‘With Me Come Fly’ and ‘Tin Tin Deo’.

I was proud to catch up with Gabriele Poso about his incredible new album release, his music, his influences… and see for yourself why ‘mio figlio’ is the most moving and poignant answer to an interview question we’ve ever been proud to display on this site.

You must be thrilled with the high anticipation and coverage that the new album is gathering?
Absolutely, I'm very happy to see how ‘Roots of Soul’ is doing, and the feedback we have received, and continue to receive, has been numerous and all very positive. It is a great satisfaction considering the whole process has being very tiring and difficult, and it’s been almost four years in the making.

How would you describe the differences between ‘Roots of Soul’ and your first album release?
I believe that somehow every album has a link with its predecessor, even if it’s veiled as if it were a continuation of the same path, or rather as if it was a conversation between good friends. Sometimes you forget to talk about what initially drove you to meet, so you have to see them again, hoping to remember everything you meant to tell them until the next meeting and chat. In ‘Roots of Soul’, I tried to include most of the things that I had forgotten in ‘From The Genuine World’.

Can you tell us a little about what went into the making of this album?
In ‘Roots of Soul’, I tried to translate the energy that is released during a live [performance] with a band and in front of an audience and what happens in that unique, inimitable instant, that cannot be repeated again. I wanted to preserve this uniqueness and bring it back to the recording with much more simplicity.  In fact, the heart of each song was recorded live, trying to maintain this magic.

How did the vocal collaborations on the album come together?
The collaborations on the album are born in a very natural way.  I think that any collaboration comes from a deep personal bond, not just a professional one. Some are special encounters that I was lucky enough to find on my way, some are strong links I’ve been keeping for more than 13 years, as in the case of Osunlade.  Others are newborn, but have a sensational force, as in the case of Nailah Porter. They all have left a deep mark in my life and in my music.

Why did you decide on the album the title ‘Roots of Soul’?
The key to the album is contained in the title ‘Roots of Soul’.  Each person has his own spirit, roots and keys... I only offer the keyhole.

Can you tell us a little about what went into the making of the ‘Sunshine’ video?
Life is full of fortuitous moments and the video to ‘Sunshine’ is one of these. We met with, director, Tomaso Pessina in southern Italy, Salento, to be precise, which is my native land, and he was on vacation accompanied by a dear friend we have in common. We were listening to the song and he was immediately taken and wanted to turn it into a video clip. In a matter of days we had to find the locations and equipment to shoot it, which was quite difficult since it was August and the region was swarmed by vacationers.

One of the most talked-about aspects of this album is the fusion of different styles – was that intentional when you started planning the album or is it something that happened organically?
My music tries to express what it is that moves me and inspires me. So, I guess that what makes me vibrate is a completely natural process, in which I search for the right words using different languages.

Who are some of your musical influences and inspirations?
It's daily life, every day gives me a new chance to translate in notes what happens to me every single day. The album is dedicated to that.

What are some of your earliest memories of music?
A pair of headphones, a record player and a Stevie Wonder record on vinyl.

Who would be a dream vocalist or musician to have performed or recorded with?
‘Mio figlio’ son.

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