CANTO (“I SING”)
“Powerful yet intimate, outstanding, an arresting voice." ~ eJazznews.com
A song can tell us the stories of our lives. It can enlighten us. It can speak to us about ourselves. An artist can interpret a song in such a way that she takes possession of its soul. She makes the song her own. She opens up new worlds to the listener. Worlds far beyond the original.
Nardi does just this on CANTO (Really/eOne Music) .
CANTO means “I sing” in Italian. Released in late 2015, CANTO is a lush and intoxicating collection. Nardi applies her sublime interpretive skills to 10 timeless songs by some of Italy’s greatest jazz and pop composers. (these songs remain largely and inexplicably undiscovered by North American audiences). And she does this in three different languages: Italian, French and English. Nardi also brings her songwriting craft to an original contribution,. Amami Ancora (“Love Me Again”- more below). Nardi gives these gems a timeless spin. Her fluid, expressive vocals blend perfectly with the organic instrumental arrangements. Elements of blues, soul, and bossa nova give the album a refreshing mix of old-world romantic and modernist cool.
“I spent days searching, exploring, listening, learning. To interpret the song, I had to go beyond the original, redefine myself as a singer, as a musician, even as a songwriter. It all brought me to the new - but old - world of these songs. Songs of a time past. Of a time present. Songs by some grand maestri of the Cantautori (singer/songwriter) tradition. Songs by maestri in the making. Songs which honour a past, a tradition. But they also look to the future. Songs of Italy. Of its diaspora. Of NOW,” she adds.
Canto is no simple exercise in nostalgia. It shows how transcendent great songs can be, despite time and language. CANTO is intimate and universal, Exotic and sophisticated. CANTO takes the remarkable achievements of Daniela Nardi’s previous album, The Songs of Paolo Conte, to lofty and inspired new heights.
The Songs of Paolo Conte (Acronym/Universal, 2012) was a labour of love.,A celebration of the legendary Italian singer/songwriter Paolo Conte. It set Nardi on a journey of music and personal discovery. The journey continues on CANTO
Daniela Nardi imbues CANTO with an uncanny emotional resonance that transcends barriers of language and culture. “Punto” by contemporary Italian mega-star Jovanotti. Or “A Story Gone Wrong”, which sports Nardi’s own English translation of a renowned piece by Italy’s much adored Fabrizio DeAndre. Or the spunky “Giovanni Telegrafista” by legendary cabaret guy Enzo Jannacci. “Canzone Per Te”comes from balladeer Sergio Endrigo. And of course there’s Nardi’s contribution, the amorous lament “Amami Ancora”, There’s the English version of “Beautiful That Way” from the Academy Award-winning Life Is Beautiful. And the French love song “Tout L’Amour”.
Nardi embarked upon an intercontinental journey to create CANTO. Collaborating with noted Italian composer/producer Antonio Fresa (Joe Barbieri), she recorded both in Toronto and in Naples. The sessions drew upon an international cast featuring some of Canada’s most prominent jazz players, including Nardi’s husband and frequent collaborator, pianist Ron Davis, along with guitarist Kevin Barrett, bassist Mike Downes, and drummer Roger Travassos. From Italy’s great talent pool jazz giants Fabrizio Bosso on trumpet and clarinet virtuoso Gabriele Mirabassi contributed to CANTO.
"Daniela Nardi is a successful icon for the new generation of Italian-Canadians" --
Artistic curiosity and musical versatility are nothing new for Daniela Nardi. Her career has encompassed a remarkable range of activities: Singer, songwriter, DJ, film composer, radio show host, actor. She has also recently taken up the mantle of the Founder/Artistic Director of Espresso Manifesto’s Salone di Cultura. The Salone are a culture series that showcases contemporary Italian & Italian-Canadian artists/creators. They nurture the cultural exchange between Canada, Italy and the sizeable Italian diaspora.
Daniela busy Espresso Manifesto roster boasts some notable concert performances. Sold out houses (two nights) at the world-leading Montreal Jazz Festival A night at Toronto’s international venue Koerner Hall, co-starrng with guitar jazz legend John Pizzarelli. A standing ovation in Russia’s historic Tchaikowsky Hall.
Critics and reviewers globally sang the praises for Nardi’s The Songs of Paolo Conte . The album is an homage to the legendary Italian Singer/Songwriter, known for his whiskey-and-smoke tinged voice. Going where no woman has gone before, Nardi has taken the music of Conte and turned his originals on their head. She made them her own with her sensitive and remarkable interpretations. It was a top pick with Jazz and World music lovers. #1 and #2 on music charts through Canada and the US. Rave reviews from JazzTimes and JazzWeekly. “Best World Artist” nominations for 2014 & 2015 for the Toronto Independent Music Awards.
Going back in time, Nardi’s 2008 release The Rose Tattoo (Minerva Road) was inspired by her mother Rose’s four year battle with cancer. This profound recording marked a watershed for Nardi. It received wide international acclaim. It led to Nardi’s winning the Canadian Smooth Jazz Award for “Female Vocalist of the Year,” and the “Readers Pick Award” for Best Female Vocalist in the prestigious arts-savvy Now Magazine “Best of Toronto” awards.
The Rose Tattoo was preceded by her pop-jazz solo album One True Thing (2005/Minerva Road). With both words and music (and piano playing) by Nardi herself, One True Thing gained considerable airplay. It charted strongly. It earned Nardi a Best Group nomination at the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards.
Fluent in English and Italian, Daniela Nardi began her musical journey studying piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music. British pop music of the 80’s led her to take up bass guitar and embrace songwriting. She earned a music degree at Toronto’s York University and honed her live performance skills playing everything from pop to punk, from Latin to country. Now her focus is the Italian song book. And there is more in the works.
Romantic. Hip. Groovy. Muted. Earthy. Sensual. Intense. Playful. Electric. Passionate. Authentic. Maverick. Soulful. Daniela Nardi and her Espresso Manifesto has been called all of these. She is all of these qualities. And more. Every song, every note she delivers hits the aural G-spot. Watching Nardi and her Espresso Manifesto unfold promises to be a thrilling experience. Fasten your seat belts.