World culture provides the inspiration for jazz guitarist

Antonio SUS-140814-080405001
Antonio SUS-140814-080405001

Antonio Forcione is an acoustic guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, composer and very much a citizen of the world when it comes to speaking the language of music.

When we caught up with Anonio he was in the middle of ten solo performances at the Edinburgh Festival but he was there to learn as much as perform.

“It is like being somewhere exotic where you can try all these amazing spices in one place. It is inspiring. If you choose what to see carefully you will see things you will remember for the rest of your life.”

Antonio hails from Southern Italy where he started performing in a band with his brother at the age of 13. With a couple of older friends they would pile into a car and travel to villages to play at local festivals.

Antonio would play guitar and occasionally the drums and bass. The boys earned some pocket money and Antonio began to hone his craft on the guitar, working out new compositions and feeding his soul..

Since then Antonio has played everywhere from huge stadiums in Madrid to busking on a street corner and still for him it the journey that is important - absorbing everything and following his dream. “If you don’t have dreams - that is when you grow old’, he says.

Absorbing cultures and music has defined Antonio. He has played with ‘incredible’ musicians in small African villages who are still undiscovered.

In Edinburgh he temporarily abandoned his jazz and world music influences to play Motown covers of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye numbers.

There are no musical borders as far as Antonio is concerned: “There is jazz and classical and in between those is a whole universe of sound.”

“In September he will fly to Cuba to immerse himself in the country’s incredibly rich musical culture. There is no money in this - he says - it is a poor country, but there are some amazing musicians and to play with them will be enough.

“I am always absorbing and learning, he adds “I am a very curious soul and You never stop learning and discovering new things.

He will be joined on stage in Rye by Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adewale who has played with Jools Holland is a specialist at cross-art form.

Commenting on playing in Rye he said: “I come here to play music. I never ever judge a venue by its size - some of the best performances I have given have been in front of my fire at home.”