I Califfi (May 2010)
Joined: May 20 2005
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Topic: I Califfi (May 2010)
Posted: May 09 2010 at 15:28
Interview with Franco Boldrini, by Andrea Parentin and toroddfuglesteg
When and by whom were I Califfi formed and do you have any background from other bands ?
I Califfi were formed in 1965 on the initiative of bassist and singer Franco Boldrini who previously had been playing abroad in professional orchestras. In 1964 Franco Boldrini played in the band of Edoardo Vianello and one year later he formed I Califfi along with some young musicians like Giuseppe Maffei (piano), Marco Bracci (guitar) and Carlo Felice Marcovecchio (drums) all at their first experience in a rock band.
Edoardo Vianello is an Italian pop-singer that was very popular in the sixties
Carlo Felice Marcovecchio later entered in the line up of another prog band from Florence, Campo di Marte. For a period the line up of I Califfi featured also guitarist Paolo Tofani, later member of Area
To start with; please give us your (long or brief) thoughts and reflections on your first album, Così ti Amo, released in 1970
Our first LP, Così ti amo was recorded with the help of an orchestra director, Maestro Gianfranco Intra who appreciated very much the band and wrote on the liner notes of the album: “They are four boys that deeply love jazz. It’s a love that shines through their performances, rich of elaborated nuances that usually you can’t find in commercial recordings”.
Can you describe for us the passage from beat to progressive and the Italian progressive rock scene of the early seventies?
Progressive Rock was born in Italy in the seventies as result of the great popularity of British bands like Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Tarkus). It’s a new form of rock that features dilated pieces and privileges keyboards (piano, Hammond organ, synthesizers) above all other instruments and that can give you an ampler variety of sounds if compared the usual “guitar sound”. Some examples are bands like PFM, BMS and Le Orme. I Califfi, from their side, with tracks like Varius and Campane, produced a clear and interesting example of the new “progressive sound”.
Please give us your (long or brief) thoughts and reflections about Fiore di Metallo, released in 1973
The album Fiore di Metallo received many reviews (some of them even very recent) and most of them are very positive. You can still hear on it the influence of old rock (“A piedi scalzi”, “Fiore finto, fiore di metallo”...), but with pieces like “Varius” and “Campane”, you understand that the transition was done.
Indeed, the pieces were recorded in trio (organ-piano-synthesizer, bass and drums) and featured elaborated and sophisticated rhythm patterns. In the overture of “Varius” the sound of an original pipe organ prevails (it was directly recorded in a church), then the organ sound turns to the timbre of a Hammond C3, as to say the “sacred and profane” that always have been existing in our soul.
“Campane”, is based on odd times. It features an elaborated interaction between bass and drums creating a rhythmical “suspense” that develops with the piano solo. It’s a pity that the album was not adequately distributed by the record label Fonit Cetra, on account of the political crises that was raging in that period, called the Years of lead (energetic crisis, strategy of tension, Red Brigades, NAR, etc.).
What happened to the band after the release of Fiore di Metallo?
Well, our record label, Fonit Cetra, did absolutely nothing to promote our album. No TV passages, very few concerts... Then, soon after the release of the album, the band split up because leader and founder Franco Boldrini went through some serious personal problems.
Please, tell us about the recent reunion and comment for us the album All'Improvviso, released in 2007
About the reunion... BEWARE! The musicians that claim to be I Califfi are just boasters that bought the name of I Califfi in 2003 and legally registered it to Chamber of Commerce of Florence. They respected the law about the name but they didn’t respect the history of the band. You can’t buy the history of I Califfi! They exploit the songs by Franco Boldrini, they add their own compositions and then they claim to be I Califfi. They’re just simple, bleak mercenaries with a poker face! Their album is abusive and was released without the permission of the original song-writers (Boldrini-Bigazzi-Intra)
I Califfi released the first album in 1970 and the last one (so far) in 2007. That's a long time.... What have you been up to all these years ? What are you currently up to now and what are your plans for this and next year ?
In December 2009 Franco Boldrini recorded and released an album featuring some of his best known songs and some covers. It’s a compilation called “Percorsi dell'anima” (Ways of the soul), produced by Radio Birikina and Klasse Uno Edizioni.
Franco nowadays plays in duo or trio or with some dancers for shows in the theatres where he has played in some musicals. Lately he’s up to a musical that tells the true story of rock music from the fifties (Presley, Richards, Haley etc.) through the sixties and seventies to Michael Jackson. A two hours show featuring singers, actresses and qualified dancers. The show will debut in October 2010.
What bands have influenced your music?
In the sixties the most influential bands for us were Spencer Davis Group, Animals, Jimmy smith, Led Zeppelin, Jimy Hendrix...
How is your current label situation and what is your experiences with the music industry ?
My present label is Radio Birikina and I have very good relation with them, so good that they are also the producers of some my shows. I take part to some festivals organised by the label along with artists such as like Mal, Gian Pieretti, Giuliano dei Notturni, Maurizio Vandelli, Bobby Solo, Camaleonti, Corvi, etc.
Is I Califfi your main occupation or do you also have more sane occupations in addition to being musicians?
I Califfi are my only profession and music will be my only profession until the end of my life.
Just to wrap this interview up; do you have any regrets in your music career ?
I don’t have any true regrets. It was a pity that when the band were taking off the political situation in Italy tangled up (1973-74-75). Some events like Cantagiro were off, dancing and pubs had to close at eleven p.m., discotheques were replacing orchestras and live music, etc.
Anything you want to add to this interview ?
I think I told almost everything. Anyway, I want to add that the musical level of the rock bands active in Italy in the sixties was very low and everyone used to imitate someone else! The so called cultural revolution of the youth was a farce, just an excuse to experience libertine sex and hashish. Today young musician are technically better. I hope that they are morally better too and that they can contribute to build a better world. We need it! Franco Boldrini, leader of the authentic I Califfi
Joined: February 03 2007
Location: 1950s Suburbia
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|Posted: May 09 2010 at 17:42|
Great work gentlemen, very interesting and informative. What a shame somebody ripped off their band name, hopefully they can rectify that situation somehow.
Joined: May 19 2005
Location: Mexico City
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|Posted: May 11 2010 at 16:28|
Great interview guys!!!
Follow me on twitter @memowakeman
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
Joined: August 01 2007
Location: United Kingdom
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|Posted: May 13 2010 at 13:24|
Very interesting, nice one
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