“Francesco Garolfi is one of the best musicians I’ve ever worked with.”
Peter Walsh (Producer – Peter Gabriel, Scott Walker, Simple Minds, Miguel Bosé)
Francesco Garolfi is one of the most interesting and refined italian guitarist, composer, arranger and producer, emerging from today’s indipendent music scene. Known for his elegance and versatility, he shared the stage and recorded in Italy and abroad, with international artists. Graduated, with honors, in Literature and Philosophy, with a final dissertation in Social Psychology about music, he undertook an artistic journey without boundaries, that led him to play live, worldwide broadcasted, his composition “Starry Night” for the Pope and 400,000 people, during the VII World Meeting of Families in 2012.
He won the International Festival / Challenge “Out of the Blue’s” in Switzerland, overcoming, alone, European bands, reached the EBC 2017 final and won the 2019 Italian Blues Award. He trodded prestigious stages, such as Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, Expo Milan – USA Pavilion, The National Cinema Museum – Mole Antonelliana, La Soglia Magica – Milano Malpensa Airport; he performed in prominent festivals such as MTV Day in Genoa, International Acoustic Guitar Meeting in Sarzana, Milano Music Week, Folkest in Spilimbergo and he appeared in major television and radio broadcasts – nationally (RAI) and internationally (CBS, KFFA “King Biscuit Time”).
As a solo artist he recorded seven albums, ranging from blues to rock, from smooth jazz to contemporary classical, that earned him respect and credibility among the insiders. His albums The Blues I Feel (2006), 1968 A Rock Odyssey (2008), A Handful Of Songs (2015), conceived to preserve the rough and deep flavor of live music, revisited and reinvented the roots of black music and the artistic tradition of a classic rock era, with Garolfi playing exclusively acoustic instruments (acoustic guitars, resonators, lap steel, pedal steel and mandolin). These cds, greeted with enthusiasm by the public, are still broadcasted, in rotation, in the United States and Europe (France, Denmark, Italy, Poland) and received brilliant reviews abroad (Blues Revue, Blues Wax, Blues Matters!) and in Italy (Musica & Dischi, Il Mucchio Selvaggio, Folk Bulletin, Jam, Chitarre, Rockol, XL, Il Blues, Rockerilla).
Demanded as a sideman for his sensitivity and his distinguishing artistic approach, Garolfi, Cristina Donà’s collaborator (Tenco Awards and Ciampi Award), stood out as a guitarist and arranger in her cd Piccola Faccia (EMI, 2009), the first acoustic album of the singer/songwriter. She wanted him at her side in the theatrical tour, in promotional tours (Gargantua, Rai Uno with the Nobel Prize Dario Fò) and in other prestigious events and recordings (Festival of Philosophy in Modena, the audio book “La Giornata di Sidi e Karisa”). His polyhedral talent guaranteed him the deep esteem of the international producer Peter Walsh (Peter Gabriel, Scott Walker, Simple Minds, Miguel Bosé). Garolfi’s work was also plauded by Maud and Garth Hudson (The Band) with whom he played and recorded in Woodstock, New York, by Joe Boyd (producer of Pink Floyd, Nick Drake, John Martyn), by Eric Bibb, Luther Dickinson and Jonny Lang (contemporary blues stars), by Gil Dor (Noa’s guitar player), by William Ferris (world expert of American history, African-American music and folklore) and by the italian singer/songwriter Francesco de Gregori (for the instrumental interpretation of La Donna Cannone from Garolfi’s cd Un posto nel Mondo).
The collaborations with the writer and journalist Davide Sapienza in two readings (La Stagione di Ognidove and Il Signor Loci, presumo? – presented at I Suoni delle Dolomiti, Il Circolo dei Lettori in Turin, Trento Film Festival); with Maxophone (world famous progressive rock band, whose members boast sessions with Mina, Celentano, Dalla, Bennato, Nannini, Ron, Milva); with the harmonica player Fabrizio Poggi (with whom he arranged, produced and recorded 4 album: The Breath of Soul, Still Alive, Mercy and Spirit of Mercy, siding him also in the traditional music ensamble Turututela) showed his constant evolving talent, his flexibility and his mastery of multiple musical languages.
His research for new artistic solutions led him to record the cd Un Posto Nel Mondo – A Place in The World (2012), consisting of 10 original instrumental tracks, that approach cinematic worlds. The album, composed, arranged, played, recorded and artistically produced by Garolfi himself, was mixed and mastered by Garolfi and the producer P.Lion (Happy Children, Dream).
With WILD – Musics for Jack London rivisited by Davide Sapienza (2015) – Garolfi experienced the combination of music and literature. The 14 original songs are inspired by the Great North described by the two novels “The Call of the Wild” and “White Fang”, masterfully translated in italian by Davide Sapienza, considered the most innovative London’s scholar (published by La Feltrinelli). The album is, once again, composed, arranged, performed, recorded and produced by Garolfi, at his own La Gar(e) Studio. The songs contained in Wild are also the themes of a theatrical show, which successfully landed in Festivals, including the Lessinia Film Festival and Oltre le Vette in Belluno.
Since 2015, in addition to his studio works as guitarist and producer and his solo gigs, he performs with the Francesco Garolfi 4et where is joined by Ernesttico (Pat Metheny, Pino Daniele, Eros Ramazzotti, Jovanotti etc.) on percussion, by Maurizio Camardi (Antonella Ruggiero, Paolo Fresu, etc.) on sax and duduk and by Pietro Taucher (Billy Branch, Sharrie William, Billy Gregory etc.) on piano and hammond. Garolfi collaborates with the renowned noir writer Massimo Carlotto to readings (Literature Festivals in Mantua, Rome etc.) and he lectures Music History and Sociology in High Schools and Universities, including Bocconi University and Catholic University in Milan.
He also composes soundtracks for films and advertisings, appearing on stage and in commercials alongside actors like Giuseppe Cederna (Mediterraneo, Marrakech Express etc.), Paolo Bonacelli (Salò, Le 120 Giornate di Sodoma, Francesco, Io Speriamo che me la Cavo, Johnny Stecchino, Mission Impossible 3).
Since 2015 he collaborates with the journalistic/multimedia project The River Journal Project providing music to the web documentary in important events such as: Expo Milano 2015, Premio Luchetta Trieste, World Water Day – Mole Antonelliana, Turin.
He appears, as a character, in two Massimo Carlotto’s novels: “Per tutto l’oro del mondo” and “Blues per cuori fuorilegge e vecchie puttane” – Edizioni E/O.
In 2019 he has been recognized Godin Artist, alongside artists like Roger Waters, Al Di Meola, Paco De Lucìa, Billy Corgan, Bill Frisell, Kirk Hammett, John Mc Laughlin, David Crosby, Bruce Cockburn, Brian May, Neal Schon, Doyle Dikes, Sylvain Luc, Robin Finck, Jeff Tweedy, Steve Stevens and many others. In 2020 he has been recognized AER Artist, alongside artists like Eric Johnson, Tommy Emmanuel, Jerry Douglas, Michael Fix, Monte Montgomery and many others.
In 2019, he completed the creation of his new instrumental record, an ideal sequel to the previous Wild. Furthermore, collected the musical ideas and lyrics written over years of touring, he recorded and published Sono Solo, single and video that anticipates his first album of unreleased tracks in Italian, characterized by the mix of songwriting and overseas influences, evident in the use of the lap steel guitar (in the style of Ben Harper, David Lindley, Ry Cooder) and fingerpicking. His unpublished songs are selected for the semifinal of the Prize L’Artista Che Non C’era 2019 and for the final of the InediTO Colline di Torino 2019 Literary Prize.
His passion for the combination of music and art took shape, in 2019, with his performance of Wild in the famous Burri Theater at Castello Sforzesco, for a festival created by Milan Triennale and with his collaboration with Maestro Alessandro Busci, for the inauguration of his personal exhibition Steel Gardens, at the Galleria Antonia Jannone in Milan.
Since 2019 he is musical ambassador of Italy Photo Award, a reality committed to the enhancement of national photographic culture and he performs at the MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome and at the Mausoleum della Bela Rosin in Turin.
Francesco Garolfi begins 2020 on the set of the Rai2 fiction, The Alligator, dedicated to the homonymous character, protagonist of the novels by Massimo Carlotto. Together with Maurizio Camardi he plays himself, with a song of their composition.
In 2022 he curates the original soundtrack of the RaiPlaySound Original podcast entitled Nelle Tracce Del Lupo, by the authors Davide Sapienza and Lorenzo Pavolini, presented at the Rome Film Festival and Turin Film Festival. In the same year the French label Wagram selected his version of Waiting For The Sun and included it in the celebratory album The Doors In Jazz.
The consideration of prominent artists of the pop, rock and blues scenes is also evident in two tours in the United States (Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut), in the openings for international stars (Steve Howe – Yes, North Mississippi Allstars, Chuck Prophet, Dirk Hamilton, Ana Popovic, David Bromberg) and collaborations, to name a few, with Niccolò Fabi, Massimo Bubola, Eric Bibb, Guy Davis, Otis Taylor, Bob Brozman, Bob Margolin, Ponty Bone (The Clash, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Joe Ely), Rob Paparozzi (The Original Blues Brothers Band, Blood Sweat and Tears), Andy White, Giovanni Falzone, Piero Monterisi (PFM, Daniele Silvestri, Max Gazzè), Lightin’ Malcolm, Ronnie Jones, Fabio Treves and more…