Fabio Gallucci

mandolin player


What is Mandolin Box?

Mandolin Box is a pretext to create; it's also music, pictures, videos - in other words a great collection of ideas, an open mind and a search without design, whose main theme is the craziness of creation.

All these pieces were improvised, inspired by the moment: they were recorded just as they were played with the means at hand...Some of the music was played on broken mandolins (old mandolins with or without strings).

But Mandolin Box is also about modern mandolins, made by the greatest luthiers in the world (from Italy – or more precisely from Naples, true home of the mandolin - from Germany, from Colombia, from Brazil and from Israel).

Where did the idea of playing on broken mandolins come from?

I always seem to have had some mandolins around that were no longer playable. They have come to me from families who have dug them out of the attic and presented them to me as being their grandfather’s mandolin or their great grandmother’s.  The inheritors of these old instruments have asked me for an opinion on the instrument or have simply wanted to talk about their memories of the mandolinist in their family tree.

In most cases, these instruments have no material value and it would be too costly to restore them. But the desire to give them a second life has pushed me to find some way of using them.  I soon found that you can make music even with instruments that have been eaten away by time. 

‘Broken’ mandolins offer a wide variety of colours, tones and rhythms that are very distinctive, reminiscent of John Cage’s ‘prepared piano’.  In the same vein, I’ve used other objects, like paper, pens, capos and bottleneck slides.

In France, for many years the mandolin has been seen as an instrument that’s out-of-date and clichéd. But, if today the mandolin is once more finding its place in ‘serious’ music, it has never lost its importance in traditional music, particularly in Italy, in Brazil, Spain, Portugal and lots of other countries. Today it’s quite at home, too, in the most modern music, such as jazz and rock.


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