A CHAT WITH ROMINA ARENA

By: F. Anthony D’Alessandro – Aug 1, 2012

      Walking thru a sparkling mountain stream, skiing after a fresh sunrise snow, running thru a summer sun shower are so refreshing. So it is with some people who saunter across the path of our lives. After conversing with them, we feel energized, upbeat and optimistic. They exude a refreshing honesty that brightens the rest of your day. Romina Arena defines joie de vivre. Chatting with her inspires and the rhythm, poetry and sensitivity of her words draw us closer to our Creator.

      I could write volumes on the accomplishments in her brief three decades of life. I will leave most of those details to the book and the movie, scripted and based upon her life. To truly understand this gifted entertainer, one should visit and read that official biography and eventually watch the movie depicting her triumphant life. Both should be accessible soon.
A child prodigy, Ms. Arena started her career at 4 years of age as a Disney Mouseketeer in Italy. A musical genius and a trained ballerina, she also taught herself to speak ten languages. She accomplished this while travelling around the globe. Humble, Romina chooses to praise her Sicilian nuns’ teaching skills for her facility with this multiplicity of languages.

      Tragedy rudely forced its way into her life and tar brushed her innocence. While on a musical tour, an assailant slashed Romina’s throat with a pocket knife. Comatose for several months, her mother Rita visited her every day, cleaned and washed her, whispered in her ear, and prayed endlessly. For years this devoted single mother with limited income, raised her child as best she could. An accomplished dancer, songwriter, and singer, Rita introduced Romina to the magic of music and helped to mould and hone her child’s talents.

      Suddenly, her mother found herself isolated with her comatose child at her side. All that mattered to Rita at that moment was her daughter’s survival. Miraculously, the sixteen year-old awakened one day. Despite a tickle in her throat, she tried to speak to her mom immediately. Her lips moved, but her voice was absent. She broke into a cold sweat. Confusion overwhelmed Romina. Terror and frustration cast their ugly shadows over her. To make matters worse, her attending physicians told her that she’d never sing again. She felt her blood boil. The room seemed to close in on her. That life sentence was unacceptable to Romina. At that crossroad of her life she focused on the heavens and vowed, not only to speak without the medically predicted raspy voice, but to resume her singing career. As the cliché states, “The rest is history.”
During our conversation, Arena mentioned that her life appeared to be, “a series of strange coincidences,” and sensed that she was meant to make a mark on the world. Of course, she never forgot that vicious attack on her, but instead of hating the troubled perpetrator, she concentrated on helping others and developing her skills as a writer and singer.

      Messina, Sicily native Salvatore Pacino (Al’s father) assumed the role of her father, took her under wing, and brought her to the USA to study. He and his wife Katherine helped pioneer a production company with her. Romina kept reflecting on a conversation she once had with the brilliant, Italian Oscar winning cinema music composer Ennio Morricone. At twelve, he’d served as her mentor. As a pre teen, she asked if she could work with him. Morricone suggested her going to America to study and then contacting him again. She ended up doing just that. Fate? A score of years later, he presented her with the opportunity to make a major recording based on his movie scores entitled, Morricone Uncovered. On September 18, 2012 the recording, showcasing Romina’s voice and lyrics will be released internationally by Perseverance Records.

      Our interview flowed so smoothly that I tossed the rest of my questions into the pail. As alluded to before, Ms. Arena has a gift for uplifting her fellow man. She could easily assume the role of a “life” coach or a “motivational” coach. She said that her philosophy was,” To do something positive every day, and to avoid hatred because, hate only consumes you.” She adheres to those words in her day-to-day life. Thru numerous appearances and concerts, Romina raised moneys for the children of Haiti, the Red Cross, and the Yellow Ribbon group. That organization collects money for children of our military casualties in Iraq. She said, “If one is truly a humanitarian, then one needs to share.”

      Quite witty too, she labels herself as the “anti-diva” since she laughs freely and frequently and loves to run around in blue jeans. Whether she regards herself as a diva or not, the fact remains that after her trauma, she was blessed with a five-octave vocal range and is the only female tenor (tenorette) in the world.
     Multi-talented in a multiplicity of ways, Ms.Arena signed a contract to complete five books. Her first one will be released by Quill Drivers Books, in the spring of 2013. After talking about manuscript proposals, I put my notepad down.

     I needed to clear up a recurrent thought I had about Sicily. I asked her if she ever intended to move back to Sicily. We discussed the notion espoused by many that “Sicily is the land of forbidden dreams.” A proud Sicilian she said, “I’m an ambassador for my heritage.” While she loves Taormina’s beauty, and owns a place in Palermo, she reminded me that she’d left Sicily to forget the pain.
Prior to leaving the Isle, she’d agreed to meet with her father. She’d not seen him since she was three-years old. She anticipated a joyous reunion and reconciliation. Before they met, he died suddenly and unexpectedly in Sicily. The attack on her vocal chords took place there too. There were too many sad memories attached to a homeland she’d loved. Arena paused for a few seconds, and then offered some words of wisdom someone once tossed her way. A movie director once told her, “You’re always where you need to be.” I asked her if she had any advice for me. She paused and shared a saying of her own. She wrote it and she followed it. Romina simply said, “Live the life you love.”

      I’ve only provided a glimpse of this Sicilian who conquered America. Conquered America, you wonder? That was one of the headlines related to Arena, posted in the Giornale di Sicilia on January 29, 2012. I suspect that with her spontaneity, spirituality, courage, and talent headlines around the world will soon proclaim, “Romina Arena Conquers the World.” Everyone who samples her art or chats with her will feel refreshed by an artistic breeze, revive, rejuvenate and “live the life they love.”

F. Anthony D’Alessandro

 

Shorter version of Romina’s press release ROMINA ARENA TO PERFORM SONG FROM MORRICONE UNCOVERED AT YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO FEST.The Greater Youngstown Italian Fest (August 3-5) in Youngstown, Ohio features Romina Arena performing her latest hits as well as, for the first time ever, a new song from her long-awaited album, Morricone Uncovered. She will perform at 7:00 P.M. on both Saturday and Sunday. 

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MORRICONE UNCOVERED TO BE RELEASED SEPTEMBER 18

 

The long-awaited album by Romina Arena, her voice and lyrics honoring several soundtracks by Ennio Morricone will be released by Perseverance Records on September 18, 2012. Morricone Uncovered will feature 15 tracks, adding lyrics in English, Italian, Spanish and French to several Morricone scores. This may be ordered on the Perseverance Records web site.

 

 

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4 Responses to "A CHAT WITH ROMINA ARENA"

  1. Antonio  November 16, 2013 at 12:38 am

    Hello i am a music journalist from Italy..I interwiew the maestro Morricone few months ago and Morricone Uncovered is not produced by Morricone he don’t do nothing on Morricone Uncovered this is just a tribute to Morricone…why you present a disc under the name of Morricone,,??Let me know i ask on the romina arena FB page and she blocked me why?

    Reply
    • Jay Hall  March 1, 2014 at 4:46 am

      Dear Antonio,
      My name is Jay Hall; I am the personal manager for Romina Arena. First of all, I would like to set the record straight regarding the legitimacy of the “Morricone Uncovered” album. This is not a tribute album; it is a full collaboration with the full guidance of Maestro Morricone. I was at the Maestro’s home in Rome Italy when he gave Ms. Arena the permission to write the lyrics to his famous scores as well as agreeing on a full collaboration of the musical works with her. If you have a copy of the album, you can clearly see that Ennio’s personal manager & agent were listed as Executive producers showing that they knew about it. Maestro Morricone is NOT going to let just anyone write lyrics to his music,let alone re-record it without his permission, although some have in the past to his displeasure.
      This now leads me to the question, are you a legitimate journalist? If so, I am very curious as to which newspaper or magazine you write for in Italy. I would be very interested in speaking to you.
      Jay Hall/ personal manager to Romina Arena

      Reply
  2. Anna Maria  March 1, 2014 at 4:03 am

    Dear Mr Journalist( we don’t know your name or what magazine or newspaper you write for please let us know). If you will document your self through Romina Arena label( I am a blog writer my self and I had all the confirmation right in front of me that not only Romina Arena was in the same room with Maestro Morricone when they started to work on the project together, but also Maestro himself gave Romina the permission to do a record with all of his music by him guided ..oh by the way, his own son, as the record says is also part of the “guidance of choices of music from Ennio in the album! and ..I almost forgotten..Ennio’s personal manager appears in the record as the executive producer…uhm… so much for not being official right?) you will find out as well, that Romina’s former agent ( Morricone’s agent) gave Romina’s management a signed letter with the agreement that both parties will do this record wiht Morricone name attached and by him guided and approved. Before making certain comments you might want to do your homework.The album is a fantastic collaboration between the two amazing artists. Romina, according to her manager comments, is no longer associated with Morricone’s agent( one of the many I guess) therefore there might be some tension between the parties.Good luck!

    Reply
  3. Michael  March 31, 2014 at 9:17 am

    For the record;

    Michael Von
    VP Creative Development
    Film And Music Entertainment

    also confirm Jay Hall /personal manager, that his statements are true-accurate.

    Fantastic symbiotic music & lyrics !

    Reply

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