My friendship with Paolo Valente dates from 1986 when he, who is now bilingual, was learning English and I was teaching the language. He was one of my best students, so it was natural to socialise with him: it helped my Italian and his English. Now, Paolo is capable of reading my novels. I’m honoured that he enjoys them. I have suggested to my publishers, who have enthusiastically accepted the idea, that Paolo’s ‘Viking music’ be used in my Sceapig trilogy audiobooks. Book 1 is The Runes of Victory; Book 2 is Sea Wolves and Book 3 is as yet untitled as I’m writing it. In the near future all three will be released in audiobook format. But enough about me. Let’s hear what Paolo has to say:
The passion for the Vikings history goes back to my school years. I’ve always been fascinated by their strong, courageous warriors. Recently, I started following the History Channel series The Vikings and I really enjoyed Ragnar’s family saga but what really caught my attention was the music of the soundtrack. Recently, I have also read several of John Broughton’s historical novels, many of which cover the eighth- to tenth-century Viking incursions. Most recently, his trilogy set on the Isle of Sheppey captivated my attention: I couldn’t put down The Runes of Victory and I’m looking forward to the sequels.
I thought that I would like to create something similar with my own interpretation. Of course, this cannot be real Viking music as I don’t have their original instruments, but I wanted to create something as close as possible to the original feeling.
Thanks to modern technology, I managed to reproduce what my imagination of moments of Viking life suggested to me: battles, seafaring, conquest of new lands or whatever. Whether I succeeded in transmitting this message through my music, I’m not sure, but certainly it gave me that feeling of when you close your eyes you plunge into the action. I hope it carries over to the listeners.
As for the technology I use, first, a midi controller with Ableton live for the rhythm parts and then a mini-synthesiser for the solos. This represents a progression in my musical career, which began as a Blues musician playing guitar and harmonica to move on to more generic performances including singer-songwriter. I have performed solo or in bands, my first group was called The Midnight Ramblers. Among other things, I organised several blues festivals in my home town, which involved renowned international musicians and achieved national coverage in the Press.
Listen to Paolo's Viking music below: