Andrea Valeri strikes the right chord in Netley. A dull, damp day in Netley was illuminated to Aurora like status as the sound of fingerstyle guitars filled St Edward’s Church, the temporary home of Chapel Sessions Music pending the refurbishment of the Chapel, Royal Victoria Country Park.
The much heralded UK return of Andrea Valeri, 25, world renowned fingerstyle guitarist from Pontedera, Tuscany arrived accompanied by quotes such as
– “A Guitar Genius, one of the best Guitar players in the world” John Doan
If Tuscan smiles were translated into music notes, a whole symphony of beautiful music was to grace the Chapel Sessions stage.
With Valeri’s audiences across the world regularly attracting 2,000 plus, this was surely a treat to reach all the senses in the intimate setting of St Edwards.
First up, 20 year old, highly regarded fingerstyle guitarist from Oxfordshire, Rory Evans with a fast and furious, well crafted set, sure to raise the tempo and the temperature. The ‘antipasto’ of the evening went down a storm with the audience of all ages including Hampshire Guitar students that cannot fail to have been inspired.
Anti Pasto savoured, it was the turn of the ‘Primo and Principale’ the first and main course all rolled into one and hot it definitely was.
Accustomed to playing to crowds of 2,000 plus in some of the most beautiful cities in the world, Valeri demonstrated the warmth of his Tuscan heritage infused through tunes from every continent. The Tango of Argentina, the drum heartbeat of Africa, the mysteries of St Petersburg, Russia, the plains of Australia and an emotional song La Lettera that made the hairs stand up on the back of the neck with a story of a WW2 soldier who is shot and killed on the battlefield before he has chance to read the letter his mother has sent him. The gunshot percussion on Valeri’s signature Maton guitar, ricocheted through the building and caught the breath of the audience before an overwhelming applause.
A set of two halves, the first, featuring tunes from Valeri’s aptly named 2014 album ‘Race Around the World’ plus some Rock’n’Roll in the form of Dire Straits ‘Sultans of Swing’ which saw Valeri down on his knees whilst playing. Straits original bassist John Illsley was ‘very impressed by Valeri’s beautiful interpretation of the song’ and passed on his good wishes and apologised he couldn’t get to the concert personally. A poignant rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine had all the audience singing along in heartfelt harmony.
Valeri’s second set treated all the senses to a taste of his Tuscan homeland with tracks from his new album ‘Mediterraneo’, literally hot off the press, collected 2 hours before leaving for the UK from 38 degree temperatures in Tuscany. Tracks such as ‘the Journey home’, Hans Zimmer’s ‘Driving’ plus ‘Young Gun’ from Australian fingerstyle master Michael Fix all came together to paint a picture featuring the title track Mediterraneo.
Without question this was the best attended and well received Chapel Sessions, not for profit concert to date, at St Edward’s Netley.
The return of Andrea Valeri will be much awaited.