The Secret of the 7 Melodies
What are the 7 Melodies?
The 7 Melodies, the debut album by the Silver Snails, constitute an integrated musical spell designed to open human hearts. Revealed by inspiration, and diligently sculpted, recorded and mixed by the Silver Snails over a 2 year period in the medieval hills of Romagna, these 7 songs work together to ease suffering, unlock joy, and unleash magic within the lives of those who listen. This effect is what we call ‘the Miracle of the 7 Melodies’…
Like 7 colors of the spectrum, each song is shaded by a different frequency of emotion, with its own footprint of musical and cultural references. Composed by Lucas Ward in English, Italian, and French, with touches of Mandarin and Sanscrit. the songs are stylistically adventurous, yet firmly rooted in post-Beatles pop. Taken together, the 7 Melodies form a powerful, no-calorie, audio Love bomb. A portion of proceeds will be reserved to promote well-being on planet Earth.
1) Dancing with the Stars
Lai Lai Lai… Inspired by Jasmine and Celeste, Dancing with the Stars attempts to convey the unconveyable awe a father feels at the miracle of children. This song is our answer to ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ by Stevie Wonder. Lucas, Elisa, Jasmine, and Giampiero ‘Jean’ Vincenzi all join voices in a family chorus. We are grateful for the bedrock rhythm section of ‘Guru’ Luca Nanni on drum, and ‘Mago’ Danilo Fiorucci on bass.
The music video starts with Silver Snails’ official astrofile, Nonno Rino, who first spotted the ‘Galactic Angel’ in the vicinity of Orion with the assistance of his homemade telescope and a bottle of San Giovese. The video represents Rino’s (and the rest of our) film debut… Shot from Orion on Yoshimi (‘happiness’), the flying baby grand, the Silver Snails land in Romagna to collect their daughters.
2) Temple Princess
Ma Ma Ma... This slow ‘snail rock’ groove features Lucas and Jean singing the praises of ‘Ma’ a euphemistic syllable for wife, mother, and the Universal Feminine Force, Goddess, call-Her-what-you-will. Her voice guides, comforts and inspires us. The track also features guitar work by Nicola Brandi, drums by Luca Nanni and bass by Danilo Fiorucci. Organ added by our sound engineer, Andrea Spadaro.
3) Beatrice Russo
In the film ‘Il Postino’, Pablo Neruda’s mailman shares his fledgling love poetry with the master. When queried by the great Poet as to who inspired these metaphors, the postman (played by Massimo Troisi, who died filming the movie) responds with wide love-struck eyes, the name of his Muse rolling like sugar off his tongue, ‘Beatrice Russo’.
The song features a bi-lingual, husband/wife vocal duet, a string quartet (Beatrice Donati, Manuela Trombini, Elisa Nanni, and Paolo Baldani) arranged by the able Ludovico Buonamano, and more vocal assistance by Giampiero Vincenzi.
Beatrice was also the lifelong romantic inspiration of Dante, who composed his epic sacred poem ‘The Divine Comedy’ while exiled to Romagna around 800 years ago. As it happens, the valley where the 7 Melodies were written is called ‘The Valley of Purgatory’ on old maps, and is walking distance from a church in Polenta frequented by Dante. Interestingly, Dante’s guide through the realms of Hell, Purgatory and Paradise happened to be Virgilio, the name of Elisa’s devout uncle (see next song).
4) Ave Maria a Zio Virgilio
Uncle Virgilio was a tough old farmer, humble and devout, who worked 12 hour days under the sun while fasting and listening to ‘Radio Maria’. His weathered face was illuminated by that light that genuinely worshipful people sometimes carry. The song is a requiem for him. The Chorus features our friends Filippo (also our video director), Erika ‘the Voice’ Tozzi, Giampiero Vincenzi, Emanuela Degli Angeli. The accordion solo is a duel between Giampiero and our friend Samuele Loretucci of ‘Ballaonda’. The weird language is Sanskrit, featuring our unschooled renderings of 3 favorite verses from the Bhagavad-Gita, translated very roughly as follows (with apologies to the learned);
Chapter 18, Verse 61: ‘In the heart of all living things resides the Supreme Lord, O Arjuna, causing each of them to spin and reel like carousels, as if by magic’
Chapter 16, Verse 21: ‘The three doorways to Hell are lust, anger, and greed. These are extremely damaging and must be abandoned at all costs’
Chapter 8, Verse 5: ‘One who remembers [the Lord] at the moment of death upon relinquishing the body becomes united with Me. Of this there is no doubt.’
For those interested in exploring the Gita, we found the free site, http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/ extremely helpful.
5) Waltz for 2 Moons
What happens next?, the human race seems to ask at regular intervals with trepidation (remember Y2K?). Coming out in 2012, a year synonymous with millenarian anxiety, ‘Waltz for 2 Moons’ imagines a rare and powerful planetary alignment observed from the vantage point of an alien world. We are not sure whether the celestial dance heralds destruction or rebirth, and feel small in comparison.
The tune features percussion artistry by ‘Guru’ Luca Nanni, a jazzy guitar solo by our Belgian comrade, Robban Cirrin, and Lucas rapping in 12/8 time. The French lyrics were written with translation assistance from Robban and further refined by Lucie Ferrini. The ‘nostalgic piano’ at the end of the piece captures our string arranger, Ludovico in a candid moment playing a student piano: a serendipitous event, from our perspective.
6) Danza dei Foulard ‘The Scarf Dance’
This one is tough to explain, as it does not follow conventional song format, consisting instead of 3 separate instrumental modules spliced together like ‘dreams-within-a-dream’. The recipe for this piece, as channeled by Elisa direct from our Signora, called for a Buddha-bar style dress-up of a traditional Irish medley, (Paddy’s Return/Willie Coleman’s/Up in the Air) embedded within an original tune, and containing a third melody nested in the middle.
The Irish track was performed with heart by Bertinoro’s own Gioele Sindona on violin and the exotic Nickelharp. The rest was realized by Lucas on keyboards with help from Andrea Spadaro. The Opening and Closing theme is ‘Noemi-chan’ a keyboard sketch inspired by our Beijing-based niece, Noemi. The slow jam in the middle is another original sketch called ‘Solar Senator’. We think of ‘Foulard’ as an impressionistic soundtrack for the music video (coming soon), which features Jasmine as a sort of ‘Alice’ dancing and practicing martial arts with costumed children in an enchanted dream forest.
7) The Sundance
Prior to the formation of the Silver Snails, Giampiero Vincenzi of Orchestra Vincenzi recorded his accordion vehicle, ‘La Danza del Sole’. The resulting low budget video filmed with help from Elisa at our house became a viral hit (by Romangola folk music standards).
Building on this inspiration, the 7th Melody incorporates lyrics in English and Chinese composed over the chord structure of Giampiero’s ‘Danza del Sole’. The Chinese was learned phoenetically by Elisa for the piece. The song features improvised harmonics and a raging blues solo by Nicola ‘Nicotine’ Brandi, with a full Snail chorus acapella fade-out (chorus: Lucas, Giampiero, Valentina Merli, Piero ‘Boss’ Ensini, and Emanuela Degli Angeli).
(Bonus Track). We first encountered this term watching an episode of ‘The Mighty Boosh’, where our heros Vince and Howard find themselves marooned on a tropical island. They end up hallucinating after eating too many rancid coconuts. This song was conceived as a send-up to a Latin music fixture, the summer beach song. Playfully mixing Caribbean and African elements, Coco Loco serves as a ‘palate cleansing’ bonus track to the 7 melodies. The recording shares the same core rhythm section as the 7 melodies: ‘Guru’ Luca Nanni on drums, Nicola ‘Nicotine’ Brandi on guitar, and the masterful Danilo Fiorucci on bass. The brass part was composed and recorded remotely by Andrea Guerrini.