I was born in Palermo, Sicily. My debut in the music world took place in early 1990 on the n º 4 bus which then connected the two sides of the city and which brought me to school. There, every morning, with a guitarist friend, we would give short performances to the assembled students, workers and early morning commuters. A few months later I joined a band and performed for the next two and a half years in local areas. When the band broke up, in the company of the same guitarist with which I began, we formed a duo busking through the streets of several towns and also in various pubs. This experience was very important, it gave me the opportunity to learn more about my voice and the audience. At this time I wrote a lot, thoughts in verse. After we called it a day, I performed with several bands over the years. The style was invariably the same, rock & blues.

During one period, I dedicated myself only to listening and I became interested in jazz, African and Mediterranean music, especially intrigued by Sicilian culture.  Slowly I began to feel the need to sing entirely new things, maybe write some songs that could express my new state of mind, influenced by those sounds that were part of my new musical tastes. With a small tape recorder, I began to experiment and create melodies and verses in the Sicilian language. Sing about my homeland and things it was saying to me, and I couldn’t do it any other way than through my mother tongue.

Francesco at Psilocybe in Hondarribia

In early 2000, I briefly joined with a group playing music inspired by the Sicilian language. For me it was a great opportunity to explore this new world although we performed live only once, at the BK Festival in Palermo. We played together for a few months mostly in the rehearsal room. My vocal style, did not adapt to their genre, so I decided to continue experimenting on my own, trying out my sound. Gradually, spontaneously and naturally, out came verses and melodies of the songs that form part of the current repertoire.

A few years later, in collaboration with a friend, a good guitarist and sound engineer, I began a collaboration using those melodies and verses, along with his electronic sounds. We worked mainly in studio spaces outside our daily obligations. During this time, I experimented a lot with my voice, defining more and more that sound that I had been trying to find for some time. The project stopped when I moved in 2009 in the Basque Country, which made it difficult to continue working.

After a brief stint in a local blues band, with who I performed a couple of gigs, including one in the spring of 2010 in the city of San Sebastian, I decided that it was time to resume the project. Compose new songs, with clear ideas about music and rhythmic dynamics, but alas, no musician to work with.

Finally in the summer of 2014, during a conversation with Peter Walsh about music. He told me that he was working on some of his compositions and offered me the opportunity to collaborate.
He invited me to his house and we swapped stories and played each other our stuff. Our musical genres are poles apart, as is our culture (he’s Irish and I’m Sicilian), but it was precisely this that drove us to start a collaboration… our curiosity.

And so, maribop was born.

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