Paola Tagliaferro sings Greg Lake promises to be one of the most beautiful albums of 2021. I have had the opportunity to speak with Paola several times and what struck me was her great humanity. For this reason, to simply write a review, I preferred to invite her to tell about herself, her friendship with Greg and Regina Lake, her music and her projects.
Hi Paola and welcome to Sound36. Our readers met you in 2018 on the occasion of the release of Fabulae. An album that I listen to with pleasure, but that has only told a moment of what your business and your artistic commitment are. Before delving into what your latest work is, I ask you to briefly tell our readers.
Hello Fortunato and greetings to all readers.
I am Paola Tagliaferro singer, composer and researcher of the “primordial sound”. I studied with Amelia Cuni, I sing Dhrupad at the Conservatory of Vicenza and I released 6 albums with Owl Records:
Lines of the Soul (2008), Fusion (2008), Chrysalis (2009), Millions of Moons (2012), Fabulae (2018), Paola Tagliaferro sings Greg Lake (2021).
In 2012 I organized three dates of the Italian Greg Lake’s tour: Verona, Zoagli, Milan. I organized the Zoagli date with the Municipality of Zoagli and the Genoa International Poetry Festival.
The following year Claudio Pozzani, president of the Festival asked me to invite Greg Lake back for a concert / reading at Palazzo Ducale in Genoa. Greg Lake was pleased to accept the invitation and then stopped with his wife Regina for a few days in Santa Margherita Ligure. From the first moment I was impressed by his voice and his personality. His presence filled every space and he addressed me like a gentleman. Regina too had immediately struck me for his grace and kindness. The strength of their union was evident. They are unforgettable memories made of music, dialogue, laughter and emotions.
Greg and I corresponded from 2012 until two months before his death. He wanted me as an Ambassador of his Music in the World, so he had written to me.
During our correspondence, Greg listened to some tracks of my unreleased pieces, he appreciated my voice and encouraged me to become autonomous and independent, in the composition and recording of the pieces. He suggested many important technical secrets and more. We had become friends. Unfortunately in 2015 I was informed of his illness and in September 2016 I received an email from him in which he informed me that he was dying … I was paralyzed reading it, I didn’t know what to answer, I had never talked to him about spirituality.
So I wrote to him “Dear Greg I studied several ancient philosophies and I believe that we live many lives in this level and in others, until we completely detach ourselves from matter to join the Primary Source of Light from which everything arises. I am sure that we will meet again and whatever form you will have I will recognize you because your voice touches my Soul ”.
Greg replied “Okay Paola, whatever happens, we will stay in touch”.
During a Meditation, in January 2017, I perceived Greg’s presence and the intuition to propose Honorary Citizenship to Greg Lake to the Municipality of Zoagli for the importance of his work in the world and in memory of the concert on November 30th 2012 in Castello Canevaro.
I looked for Regina, with whom I had not spoken since her visits to Italy, except with an email of sincere condolences. Greg gave me all of her contacts, so I called her.
Regina was very kind and welcoming. After a few weeks she gave me her consent and my Municipality unanimously voted for Honorary Citizenship for Greg Lake.
With the International Academy of Arts (a non-profit association of which I am president) I organized a beautiful event, together with the Municipality of Zoagli and the International Poetry Festival. Then again with the same staff I organized the 1st and 2nd Art in Progress Event in Memory of Greg Lake, with important guests and with Regina Lake as Patron flanked in 2019 by Elinor Emerson, ex-wife of Keith Emerson.
Tell us how the idea of ”Paola Tagliaferro sings Greg Lake” was born and what you asked your virtuous companions of La Compagnia dell’Es.
In the summer of 2019 Didy Pasini Ciriani, ELP fan, met at the events I organized, proposed to me to bring the “2nd Art in Progress Event in Memory of Greg Lake” on tour in Palmanova with the Ethan Emerson concert and the my concert with “La Compagnia dell’Es”, always accompanied by the two splendid Patrons.
During that summer Regina Lake suggested to me that it would be great if I recorded an album with Greg Lake’s favorite songs whose title, she wanted,
“Paola Tagliaferro sings Greg Lake”. Excited, I replied that I would talk about it with the current members of the band “La Compagnia dell’Es”, after the Palmanova concert. Everyone accepted with enthusiasm, putting their talent at the service of this album: Pier Gonella guitar, Giulia Ermirio viola, Andrea Zanzottera piano, Enten Hitti (Pierangelo Pandiscia and Gino Ape) lute / bells, oboe / xylophone, U.T. Gandhi percussion. Vincenzo Zitello whom I respect and admire for a long time was involved by me in the final phase of the production and enthusiastically accepted to put his wonderful harp on my a cappella singing in Promenade2.
I personally produced the arrangements with the collaboration of the musicians who freely interpreted the parts assigned to them. Regina Lake did the artistic co-production alongside me and guided me for hours in listening to Greg’s songs and studying them, especially the sung part. A long, difficult, profound journey that taught me a lot.
As well as my first guitar, Pier Gonella was my production assistant and sound engineer. With Pier I did all the mixes and the graphic technician.
For the Cover of the Record I asked Regina if she would let me use her Drawing of Greg as I particularly like it. She kindly agreed and she suggested me that I add one of my images, Regina and I designed the cover. How many exciting moments I experienced on this journey …
“Paola Tagliaferro sings Greg Lake” is not a simple tribute but a tribute to one of the most beautiful feelings: friendship. We know a lot about Greg Lake and his death has only sanctioned his passage from history to legend. To you who have had the good fortune to attend him I ask to share a memory or an anecdote of private Greg.
Greg Lake was one of the protagonists who wrote some important pages in the History of Music. First with King Crimson and then with Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Like all the great he was a person with great charisma and strong personality. He was definitely a perfectionist and an ethical person, qualities that I also found in his lifelong partner, Regina Lake. Greg Lake was a brilliant musician and a gentleman. In 2013, after accompanied him as a guest at the Genoa International Poetry Festival, he stopped with Regina for a few days of holiday in Santa Margherita Ligure. On that occasion I organized a private dinner at the Pitosforo restaurant in Portofino by my friend Carmelo Carluzzo. We were a few close friends and Greg with a guitar found in the restaurant and with the grand piano sang all his best songs for more than an hour. I will never forget that wonderful evening.
In your conversations, I imagine that you have talked about Music many times and you will have retraced the golden years of Prog. What is the thing / episode that struck you the most about those stories and what was his judgment on the new musical landscape.
During his lives he told many anecdotes of his career, stories reported in his autobiography “Lucky Man”. Greg Lake loved Quality Music. He remembered the legendary Hank Marvin (Shadows), Little Richard, the Beatles he said will always be “First in the World” and Elvis Presley he called the “King”.
Greg had great love and respect for the beautiful voices of Luciano Pavarotti and he told me that was inspired by the emotion of Edith Piaf for song C’est la Vie , with which Jonny Halliday reached Number 1 in the french Hitparade.
From The Beginning – Epitaph-Battlefield the opening and closing tracks of the album. A choice that seems anything but casual. My feeling is that, through those texts, you wanted to embark on a journey into the very essence of life that does not end with death. And at this point I ask you: what are Life and Death for you?
Life and Death are for me, as for many others, simple changes of state from one dimension to another. The Divine source, which is in all of us and gives rise to everything, is Eternal.
I have listened to the songs of “Paola Tagliaferro sings Greg Lake” many times and I was fascinated by the spiritual dimension you gave them. My feeling, also looking at the sequence of songs, is that you didn’t just want to pay homage to Greg Lake, but that you tried to give him a voice from another dimension. And it is precisely this vision of yours that gives personality and depth to the album. How wrong am I in making these claims?
The musical legacy that Greg Lake left to humanity is the “Liaison” with his Spirit. Thanks to Regina’s guidance, I searched for Greg Lake’s “Musical Frequency”. I studied and practiced for many hours and in the end I perceived him and interpreted and recorded his magnificent songs with the Voice of my Soul and with the Music of my band.
Which of the songs you have chosen do you feel most yours and why?
I love all the songs I sang on this album, but I am very attached to the lyrics of Promenade2, The Sage and Epitaph for the important message that they contain.
In 2017 Greg Lake was awarded the honorary citizenship of Zoagli, albeit posthumously. You were the promoter of this beautiful initiative and since then you have kept its memory alive with beautiful initiatives. Have you already thought, after such a complex year, about the initiatives for next summer?
I will certainly try to make the “3rd Art in Progress Event in Memory of Greg Lake” with guests and some live shows with “La Compagnia dell’Es”, but, given the situation of the pandemic, I still don’t know if it will be possible.
At this point I just have to say hello and thank you for your kindness.
Thanks you Fortunato and greetings to all your Sound36 readers.