Vincenzo Abbracciante majored in jazz at the Conservatory “Nino Rota” of Monopoli, under the guidance of Gianni Lenoci. In 2000 he won the “25th International Competition Città di Castelfidardo” and in 2003 won the 53rd World Trophy Accordion. Since 2000 he is a testimonial Borsini accordions in Castelfidardo.
He has performed all over the world performing with leading musicians. In 2009, together with Carlo Borsini, designs a new system for the exchange of records of the accordion, which allows you to expand the sonic range of his instrument. The new accordion, after more than a year of construction and design, was officially presented at the Frankfurt Fair in April 2011. In the same year he was awarded the International Festival of Castelfidardo the prestigious “GOLDEN VOICE”, awarded to those historically promote the image of the accordion. In 2013 he was awarded by the festival ARGOJAZZ of Metaponto (MT) as “Best Instrumentalist in 2013”.
When and why did you start to play the accordion and why?
I began studying the accordion at the age of eight years. In those days my father, accordionist too, had infected all my cousins (and many are) with this tool, so during the summer “Meeting” of the family listened to all play and I was the only one who played alone until, fed up of loneliness and at the same time intrigued by the strange instrument, I asked my father to teach me. Since then, between me and “her” there is a strong feeling that binds us.
Is perceived as your instrument in the Italian collective?
It is always difficult to generalize and think about the Italian collective imagination, by the nature of our country, which has always been divided and full of contrasts: the evidence we have unfortunately too often, but these are other discourses. Certainly in Italy, but also abroad, the accordion is well known for its popular music, plus the public has become accustomed to its presence in many different contexts. And for context, I mean the genre. I for many years I deal with jazz, and it happens that after a performance someone tell me that is amazed by the possibilities rhythmic/harmonic that the accordion can be expressed in this form of music. I say that sometimes I catch myself, because I experience during live always sounds different and during the improvisations I try to do new things, I love the risk, and this push towards the unknown brings me to a more in-depth discovery of the intrinsic possibility accordion. I am sure that there is much yet to be tested on our instrument in all musical contexts. After all, she is young!
How it is perceived abroad, where you have the possibility to perform and to meet many people and musicians with different experiences?
As I said before, even abroad, the accordion has a strong within all popular music in the world: Brazilian, Danish, American, zydeco, Arabic, Balkan etc. I can say that the public is always happy to see and hear the accordion, because the sound is almost always returns to its roots, childhood, and then I think the eyes and people’s ears is a cute tool. While all the musicians with whom I have worked have appreciated the research work I have done so far and made me realize one thing: any style of music should be approached as a musician who intends to express and communicate emotions through sounds, and not to see how much you is good. In this sense, I was very lucky to find my way people who have been able to teach some truth.
In recent years, popular music have received many positive stimuli by “cultured”extraction artists. Your music has affinities with the musical traditions of your region?
Definitely my music is influenced by everything that surrounds it: the Itria valley, the sea, the green of the meadows, olive trees in Puglia, the stone walls, the trulli, people, Ostuni, the white city, the air, the earth, the sounds, the food… I am fascinated by some of popular music, so it may be that be affected. Certainly some of my compositions are very lyrical and melancholy, just as some older designs that are perceived in the air here in Puglia.
You have done research on the accordion and have helped to create a new model with Borsini. Can you talk about your organological interests?
I knew you would have asked and I have not anticipated before. When I spoke of my own research I was referring to this, now let me explain. For about three years, “betray” my accordion with vintage keyboards, organs such as Elka, Farfisa, Rhodes and Wurlitzer plans, I have a small collection in short, this always for my thirst to experiment with new sounds and give free rein to the psychedelic side that is inside of me. Among the famous Hammond organ sound. As the great Wolmer Beltrami, the accordion is a portable organ, how right he was! The concept of the heights of sound is identical. The peculiarity of the Hammond is right there, every musician can literally create its sound operating on the drawbar, plus there are already records “classics” to be used in some cases. The accordion has only registers and is therefore limited. A couple of years ago I asked the question and I gave an answer (as some would say!). But the accordion could have a system that makes free logs? Yes! Thanks to Carlo Borsini and factory engineers were able to make this dream come true that rocked now for a couple of years. My instrument has no records, if I have in mind a certain type of sound I can get working on the drawbar while I play, just like the organ. And the same thing happens with the left part. It is the concept of free accordion constitutional constraints. This freedom on the sounds considerably widens the horizons of our tool. I know that it is a complex and difficult to understand without listening to the result, in fact you could even turn up their noses, but this is a way to allow the accordion to achieve an idea of the sound on the instrument.
What are the projects you are working on at the moment?
In this period I have several active collaborations, but the most important of all for thirteen years in this part is the one with the Bumps, with Antonio Di Lorenzo and Davide Penta. We are finishing the recordings of the new album of the band, with music by the great Ennio Morricone, with arrangements in our style developed after many years of collaboration. It will be released on cd just present it a bit’ everywhere. While recently I worked for the last Ornella Vanoni reocord, the last song is also one of my improvisation that apparently is willing, I’m happy.
What are your future plans? And who would you like to collaborate with?
I like to work with anyone to share emotions, for me the music is also made of emotions. For the future, I’m already thinking about a new album with the accordion, after the successful “Introducing …” that was my first jazz record as a leader. But I do not like to talk about the things to come, because there are so many ideas in the pipeline, and then if I say anything you lose interest… and then I am superstitious.
This article is available also in: Italian