I have met a lot of musicians over the past three years since a series of events drew me in to the world of independent music in BC, a place filled with people who enlighten me about myself and the world in new ways with each passing day.
Every time I write about an artist after a show, I do my best to describe the feeling or particular account of our meeting, highlighting the memories of our conversation and their performance that are hardest to shake from my mind.
Each musician I have had the pleasure of spending time with are unique, with their own talents to share, stories to tell and way in which they connect. I purposefully write from a place of gratitude and appreciation for each artist I come into contact with. I make a concerted effort to identify and celebrate the best parts of a person and their music that has been revealed to me. Yet, because of this, it is difficult to set apart someone in particular when it is well known that I write from a positive perspective for everyone.
These few paragraphs are a necessary preamble for what I am about to attempt in writing about Luca Fogale.
Luca. This name is destined to be widely known as being synonymous with music that connects people to places inside themselves that they yearn to know.
I worry that every attempt to describe the feelings that have flooded my system because of his artistry and kindness will be trivialized by words.
For three years I have followed his burgeoning music career. I have had the pleasure of being in his company multiple times over this period and experienced first hand a human being who is capable of connecting in the most genuine way.
When Luca released his first full length album ‘Safety’ on July 1, I was floored. I knew how talented he was, I had seen him perform and had appreciated his first EP ‘Paths,’ but what he has produced on this album is a body of work that has limitless emotional fuel to catch fire.
Listening to him speak about the time he took to make it, how he meditated over each bar, altering the smallest of pieces, to eventually create a complete work of art, it is still one of the greatest wonders of the world that music gets made in the first place.
To hear his growth as a songwriter, composer, vocalist and musician on this album is what I appreciate the most as a listener.
He poured everything he had into it, to the point that he would be happy to never listen to it again.
It delivers on every level. Each song tells a story that can be understood in its own unique way by each individual who listens. His lyricism, though personal and gripping, has the ability to translate into a form that resembles any one person’s experiences and feelings.
Although he shared the basis of a selection of the songs from his perspective, it does not change how I interpret them while listening, the imagery that enters my thoughts, the memories they conjure, the feelings they raise.
Isn’t this the truest benchmark of art when shared, that the creator and their own muses are no longer central after the emotional baton is received and treasured uniquely by others. Because art is the purest tangible gift available to us. What we receive because of its creation is beyond comparison.
What I have received from Luca’s music is a sense of the depths of my ability to feel, that there are no limits to what I have the capacity to be moved by. It is whether I am brave enough to go there. He pushes me to think deeper, investigate the hollows of my heart and be as strong as possible to search and reconcile what excites my soul and what damages it beyond repair.
The fact that I was provided the opportunity to plan a few shows for him this past weekend hasn’t quite sunk in.
From a historic Okanagan fruit orchard, to my rural community’s art gallery, both evenings were incredibly special. Luca’s gracious nature was felt by everyone in attendance.
At Paynter’s Fruit Market in Westbank, BC, Luca began the show among the orchards, with the audience seated just above him looking out over the fields and rolling valley hills. Framed by the fruit trees and standing atop packing pallets, the scene was spectacular. As a storm rolled in hard and fast at the close of his first set, we moved everything under cover in the market, adorned by hanging flower baskets and a hand painted mural on the interior wall, while the rest of the sides were open to the air as we listened to Luca perform and the rain poured down on the roof above us. The crowd moved closer to one another, with those in the front getting as close to him as they could, sitting right at his feet. The backdrop was a red tractor adorned with lights. He tantalized us with the stories behind some of his songs and his gratitude for our attendance. It was an especially touching night for the venue’s owners as the Paynter family had attended a celebration of life that afternoon for one of their family members, Geoffrey Paynter, who had passed away from brain cancer after being diagnosed just over a month ago. Geoffrey was a prominent community member with roots that ran deep; his contribution to the community and his place in the Paynter family will be sorely missed. Without knowing this, Luca spoke about how he is often asked to play funerals and shared his experiences observing how incredibly special and moving it can be to see families come together to celebrate the lives of their loved ones. The synchronicity in that moment was something to behold.
In Clearwater, BC at the local art gallery, it was a small crowd that included my dear friends and their three young children. By the end of the first set their youngest son was asleep in his father’s arms. By the end of the second, their daughter had drifted as well, with their eldest son cuddled up nearly there. Luca had lulled them to sleep with his voice, which is no surprise as it is one of the most comforting sounds I have ever heard. Surrounded by angelic sleeping children and a handful of people from our small community, we shared in an evening of beauty set among local art and soft lights (and delicious baked goods brought by the attendees to share).
Apart from performing his own material, Luca covered Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You.” There is no doubt in my mind that Joni would be as much in awe to hear him sing it as the rest of us were. His vocal range and connection to her brilliant lyricism gifted the song a deserving performance. It is always enlightening to learn about the music that inspires a musician themselves. Knowing the extent to which Luca connects to Joni Mitchell’s songs gives you a clue into his heart and soul.
And what a heart and soul it is. Truly unmatched among us.
Luca Fogale performed at Paynter’s Fruit Market in Westbank BC on September 3 and at the NTAC Art Gallery in Clearwater BC on September 4. He is currently on tour across Canada until early November, taking him all the way to PEI and back again. Visit http://www.lucafogale.com for links to album downloads, social media feeds and more.