Interview: Guitarist-Composer Federico Ferrandina Discusses Working With Stefano Torossi on Guitarra (2009) and Fabulous Sixties: Make Love Not War (2010)
In the second of a series of interviews with some of the key musical collaborators in the career of Stefano Torossi, this site recently had a chance to speak with composer, guitarist, and arranger Federico Ferrandina. His songs and instrumental pieces have been used in independent and big budget movies and TV shows including several Polish programs and American productions such as USA Network’s Royal Pains in 2009, HBO’s Big Love and Lifetime’s Roseanne’s Nuts in 2010, and ABC’s Twisted in 2013. An active recording artist, Federico has made more than a dozen albums including two with Stefano Torossi, Guitarra in 2009 and Fabulous Sixties: Make Love Not War in 2010. Their compositions have appeared on numerous compilation albums as well as in the recent Hollywood film, Dallas Buyers Club.
6D: How did you first meet Stefano Torossi?
FF: In 2009, he came to listen to some gigs of mine. I was playing with songwriter Chiara Morucci, a close friend of Stefano. She persuaded him to listen to some of my compositions and he contacted me, proposing some projects in the soundtrack field.
Federico Ferrandina and Chiara Morucci “Desaparecer” from her 2012 Qualcosa Di Fondamenale album is here:
6D: How did your first album with Stefano Torossi, Guitarra, come about?
FF: Stefano knew me above all as a guitar player, so the first thing he planned was a guitar-focused album, a kind of 6-string travel around the world, flipping through different styles and colors.
6D: How did the creative process work for the two of you?
FF: He suggested the style to me and the kind of sound we needed and I came up with some ideas which we then discussed. He played a guiding role and I composed, arranged, and performed everything under his precious supervision. It was so important that I feel we really co-composed each of our works.
6D: Which songs are your personal favorites on Guitarra?
FF: I love the Manouche jazz style and the Latin American tracks, that’s where my expressive world is more able to be revealed. [“Voice of Cuba” and “Latin Milonga” will also appear on the ExtraBall Records’ new compilation, Paso Latino: Dancing to Mambo, Salsa and Merengue (2014) scheduled for release 27 January.]
6D: How many musicians were involved in the making of the album?
FF: There was an Italian rhythm section: Alessandro Marzi on drums and Francesco Ponticelli on double bass, as well as Alessandro Belli on double bass on tracks where I needed the bow playing of double bass by two players.6D: How about on your second album with Stefano Torossi, 2011‘s Fabulous Sixties: Make Love Not War, was is the same people?
FF: The musicians involved were Alessandro Tibaldi on drums, Stefano Napoli on bass, Fabrizio Pieroni on piano and keyboards, and Giuseppe Russo on reeds.
Didi Frank’s video for “Make Love Not War” is on YouTube:
6D: Which songs are your personal favorites on Fabulous Sixties: Make Love Not War?
FF: I really love “My Guitar” and “Blue Submarine,” where I had the pleasure to show my lifelong passion for the Beatles. I also appreciated the brass arrangement of “Baby Boomer.” All the reeds on the album are played by Giuseppe Russo.
Among tracks by Federico Ferrandina and Stefano Torossi appearing on new compilations from ExtraBall Records in January is “Bluegrass” on Country Nation: Best of American Country Music (2014) [24 Jan], “Latin Milonga” and “Voice of Cuba” on Paso Latino: Dancing to Mambo, Salsa and Merengue (2014) [27 Jan] and “Jumping Stone” and “Carlos Guitar (Instrumental)” on Just Let It Rock: 14 Top Classic Rock Songs (2014).
6D: Can you share any details about the tracks that will be on this month’s new ExtraBall releases? Specifically, who’s initial idea was “Bluegrass”? How did it develop into a song?
FF: As usual, it was a brilliant Stefano idea, and I put it into music.
6D: How about “Jumping Stone” and “Carlos Guitar (Instrumental)”?
FF: Stefano felt that in the Fabulous Sixties: Make Love Not War album [where both songs originally appeared], we needed to have a wide variety of 60s music. The album involved tributes of a sort to classic artists like The Rolling Stones and Carlos Santana (even if his music is mostly associated with the 70s).
6D: Besides your work with Stefano Torossi, could you answer a few questions about some of your other projects. For example, who is the amazing vocalist on the title track for your What We Are: Vocal Smooth – Pop Jazz album from 2012? [The song was one of two Ferrandina compositions, along with “Paradigma” to win global music awards in 2012.]
FF: Nicoletta Nardi. I really love her vocals and great working attitude. I also hired her to sing some tracks on the Ask The Stars album.
Federico Ferrandina’s “What We Are,” featuring Nicoletta Nardi on vocals, is online:
Federico Ferrandina’s original instrumental, “Paradigma,” his second composition to win a global music award in 2012, is also on his SoundCloud site:
6D: Besides composing “What We Are,” you wrote the lyrics, correct?
FF: Yes, I did. I wrote most of them in the Paris subway. I was there for some gigs in February 2012 with singer Pilar, who took this picture:
A fun video for “Vecchio Frack,” one of a series with Federico Ferrandina and Pilar recorded in public bathrooms, was made in Poland in 2012:
6D: What other musicians appear on “What We Are”?
FF: I played and programmed each instrument.
The title track from Ask The Stars: Contemporary – Pop – Rock, Federico Ferrandina’s 2013 album featuring Mia Schettino on vocals, is on SoundCloud:
6D: I’m a fan of your earlier album Kiss & Pop (2012). Is Mia Schettino also the vocalist on “Stains”?
FF: Yes, Mia is a close friend of mine. She’s also a composer and talented songwriter. She’s the singer on the whole album.
A video by Didi Frank for “Stains,” featuring Mia Schettino on vocals, is on YouTube:
An audio file for Federico Ferrandina’s “Wait,” with vocalist Mia Schettino, another track from Kiss & Pop: Contemporary – Uplifting – Pop Rock, is on SoundCloud:
6D: What other musicians appear on this track?
FF: I played and programmed every instrument.
6D: One final question about your recent albums: Are you the sole party responsible for Green Horizon: Pop – Lifestyle – Environmental (2011)? That is, did anyone join you on tracks like “Green Power”?
FF: No one. I played and overdubbed acoustic guitars on the whole album.
Didi Frank’s video for “Green Power” is on YouTube:
6D: What can you share about new projects you are working on now and will be involved in this year?
FF: I just finished writing a musical drama with American writer Germaine Shames called “You, Fascinating You.” It examines the true story behind the famous Italian song “Tu, solamente tu” written by composer Pasquale Frustaci for Jewish-Hungarian dancer Margit Wolf, who was forced to leave Italy due to racist laws in Italy in 1938. It’s an amazing historical piece about love, war, dance, music, and a deep reflection on our mistakes.
Here a video that was recently posted for “You, Fascinating You”:
6D: Can you share any upcoming film or TV soundtracks your music will appear on in 2014?
FF: I’m proud to say that the Oscar-nominated Canadian movie Dallas Buyers Club has one song of mine and Stefano’s in the soundtrack, “Mexican Mariachi.”
A video clip featuring Federico Ferrandina and Stefano Torossi’s “Mexican Mariachi” is on Vimeo:
I’m also involved in independent movies with original soundtracks. Here a couple of samples for short films shot in Los Angles between 2013 and 2014:
6D: Do you and Stefano have any plans for new musical releases in 2014?
FF: We don’t have any upcoming musical projects but we are always in touch. Stefano follows my career and often offers wise suggestions. I owe a lot to him.
A recent video of Jasmine Tommaso’s rendition of “Yellow,” directed by Antonella Sabatino, features Federico Ferrandina on acoustic guitar. This correspondent is a big fan of this song as well as the beautiful images of Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome’s Parco Adriano.
Jasmine Tommaso’s “Yellow,” featuring Federico Ferrandina, is on YouTube:
YouTube Sampler includes Studio and Live Cuts
A sampler is on YouTube showcasing 16 tracks of the music of guitarist-composer Fedrico Ferrandina, including six live performances:
- “Meant For You” with Nicoletta Nardi video by Didi Franks 2012
- “Paradigma” 2012
- “Milonga Sentimental” with Ana Karina Rossi live 2011
- “Passepartout” with Chiara Morucci album cut 2012
- Lady R Forrest backstage shoot 2013
- “More” with Pilar live 2011
- “Intermezzo n.1” Mario Montore 2012
- “Say That You Will Again” with Mia Schettino album cut 2012
- “Crisalide” live 2009
- What We Are with Nicoletta Nardi album extracts 2012
- “Stains” with Mia Schettino video by Didi Franks 2012
- “Oblivion” with Marcela Szurkalo live 2012
- Showreel 2012
- “Green Power” video by Didi Franks 2011
- The Haunted House live soundtrack 2008
- “Moon River” with Pilar live 2011
More from Federico Ferrandina
Online Audio Playlist Focuses on Ferrandina’s Pop Music
A selection of songs with music and lyrics by Federico Ferrandina is on SoundCloud. Vocalists include Nicoletta Nardi and Mia Schettino.