Peppino D’Agostino: “Nine White Kites”

Peppino D’Agostino, an Italian born guitarist who has made his first album back in 1981, decided to move to San Francisco in 1985.

Like many musicians, Peppino started performing out on the streets….

but with talent like this, it didn’t take him long to find a good booking agent, more connections and then a record deal with Shanachie Records.

Peppino has since issued six more albums prior to Nine White Kites, the most recent being “Made in Italy,” a musical travelogue through the songs and composers of the country where he was born and came of age.

Check out the excerpt from his bio:

D’Agostino has been hailed as “a guitarist’s guitarist” by Acoustic Guitar magazine as well as “a giant of the acoustic guitar” (San Diego Reader), and holds many top guitar awards, but the San Francisco Chronicle encapsulated the essential difference that distinguishes D’Agostino’s music when it dubbed him “a poet.”

That poetic eloquence, grace and magic suffuses Nine White Kites, his first album of new compositions for the guitar in a decade (during which time he’s done much else wonderful with his musical talents). The set of 11 songs and two bonus tracks launches with the soaring fingerpicking of the title track, leading the listener through a tour de force showcase of D’Agostino’s mastery and artistry.

Numbers like “Barefoot in Rio” (on which D’Agostino makes a rare appearance on nylon string guitar), “Cowboy Minestrone” (an homage to master country picker Jerry Reed) and “Reggae Ragu” travel through spots on the musical globe where he finds stylistic inspiration to blend with his own international roots, while “San Francisco 1982″ revisits the allure of the city he first visited on vacation that year and soon after returned to and made his home. “Street Pulse” bristles with a kinetic urban energy, “Imminent Dawn” evokes the mystical junction of night becoming day, “Jump Rope” is a stunning showcase of guitar athleticism and dexterousness, and the sparse and subdued “Silence In Between” captures the music in the space among the notes. “Clare’s Gifts” and “Sweet Sylvia” are D’Agostino’s musical Mona Lisas that paint women on guitar. D’Agostino wraps it up with two Italiano melodic desserts on the bonus tracks: “Nella Fantasia,” an Ennio Morricone melody (originally “Gabriel’s Oboe” in the film The Mission) with lyrics by Chiara Ferrau, beautifully sung by Peppino’s daughter Aleza, and the spry folk classicism of “La Gazza Ladra.”

After a listen to Nine White Kites, It’s no wonder that Acoustic Guitar says that D’Agostino is “one of the most capable composers among fingerstyle guitarists” while the San Jose Mercury News notes his “gift for writing emotionally evocative tunes.” The title reflects the fact that “music is weightless,” D’Agostino observes. “But if you think about it, it can create very deep and heavy feelings. The kite is very light, like music, but it also can evoke feelings. Plus it symbolizes a sense of freedom, and kites are universal, found all around the world.” read more

A native of Italy, D’Agostino has made his considerable international mark as a musical artist on the guitar since he arrived in America a little over 25 years ago. The readers of Guitar Player voted him Best Acoustic Guitarist in 2007, and the following year in Acoustic Guitar’s People’s Choice Awards he won a Bronze medal for Best Acoustic Album of All Time for his 2002 release Every Step of The Way (tying with Leo Kottke, one of his prime inspirations) and another Bronze award as Fingerstyle Guitarist of the Year. But as said above, it’s not just his talent that makes D’Agostino so notable, but also what he does with it.”

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