I’ve been a fan of composer/pianist Ludovico Einaudi ever since I first heard his stunning album Divenire in 2008. Actually, I liked his kora-piano duet album Diario Mali with kora player Ballaké Sissoko, which came out before that in 2006. He is a big star now, with fans around the world, and is busy scoring movie soundtracks and commercials as well.
Einaudi comes from a prominent Italian family. His great-grandfather started Poderi Luigi Einaudi in 1897, making dolcetto d’alba and other Piedmontese wines; his grandfather was the first Italian president post world war II after the fall of Mussolini; his father was a prominent publisher of works by Italo Calvino and Primo Levi.
Einaudi turned to music to complete the portrait of this accomplished family dynasty, studying with Italian composer Luciano Berio, who experimented with both avant garde classical music as well as folk songs. Berio’s Folk Songs suite with soprano Cathy Berberian was a crossover classical hit in the 1960’s, featuring songs by American folk musician John Jacob Niles (“I Wonder as I Wander”) and other classics.
Ludovico Einaudi recently teamed up with Greenpeace for a concert in the Arctic Circle to publicize the melting of the polar ice cap and its effect on rising sea levels and global warming. I have a friend who didn’t believe that the ice caps were melting until he went to the arctic. He saw polar bears floating on small blocks of ice and heard the thunderous noise of ice calving. The ice melt is affecting not only polar bears but all species living in the far north. You can hear some of this thunder in the background; Einaudi notices it too, as you will see. It is a dramatic project that surely will gain more worldwide attention to what is fueling climate change, as if we needed further proof.
Here is the video of Einaudi performing, with a second video showing the project taking shape. It is both audacious and timely.
And click to see the making of this most unusual concert (click the arrow on the right window to watch).
Ludovico Einaudi is touring both Europe and the U.S. In Los Angeles, a UCLA Royce Hall concert takes place Saturday, October 8. It will surely sell out. Thanks to René Goiffon and Robina Young of Harmonia Mundi USA for distributing and always promoting this most unusual artist.