Sanremo’s Assieme Edizioni, managed by Warner Music, is proud to announce the release of Aria’s new single, “Smile”. The lively piece is characterized by a Latin rhythm, with rhythmic movements of rumba and cha-cha, played by well-known South and Central American percussionists, such as Cosobatero from Medellin in Colombia (Carlos Vives, Ruben Blades, Maluma, Gente de Zona, Camilo, Kany Garcia) and nonetheless seems to be influenced by international rock.
Following the release of the English version, the South American market, having become aware of the song Smile, asked us for the Portuguese version, and we immediately worked to satisfy this request.
As Aria states, “I have always loved the way Portuguese singers sing.”
The vocalist Mariana Gouveia, aka Ariel Jones, of Madeira, has a style that seems to skim the notes. Portuguese singers tend to use glissandos, playing on the intonation, a bit like in blues music, thereby making it impossible to use pitch correction, something used on practically all records these days. Besides, if we used Melodyne, or auto tune, it would ruin the sound. But we want it to remain authentic, to keep that Fado style reminiscent of Amália Rodrigues.
Portuguese music is very sweet and persuasive, like Italian music, but even better, and second only to English when used in song. Mariana rewrote the lyrics in Portuguese, and sang the song again, using the English word Smile, the song’s title.
So we have a new version, with its own cover, which will be used later on when pressing the vinyl record.
You can also find the video on YouTube:
Aria seems to have the qualities of a rock band rather than a solo artist. Carlos Santana also used Latin rhythms in the context of progressive rock. Funky and R&B rhythmic influences are present in Smile, particularly in the two brass bands, played by Brazilian Horn Section -São Paulo, Brazil- (Nathan East, Luisa Sonza, Sandy, Lucas Lima) and Carlos Sosa Horns -Austin, TX, USA- (Daft Punk, The Backstreet Boys, James Blunt, Outasight, Jason Mraz, Gary Barlow).
The rock element is also featured in the jazz-rock style bass, played by the American Joseph Patrick, Steward Copeland’s bassist (Police), and the hammond, played by the great organist Phil Madeira of Nashville, TN, USA (Elvis Costello, Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin, Allen Toussaint, Mavis Staples, Amy Grant, Alice Peacock, Taj Mahal, Keb Mo, Garth Brooks Emmylou Harris, Michael W. Smith, Toby Keith, Buddy Miller).
Aria’s propensity towards R&B and funk has been known since the 70’s. He wrote songs and played the piano with talented black American artists, residing in Europe, yet known for having been the creators of this groove music. Wess was one such artist, as well as his group with Rocky Roberts and Wilson Pickett.
In terms of the arrangement, “Smile” is very complex, comprising of as many as 120 tracks. The main parts are intrinsic to each other, offering different fine melodies, in counterpoint, a recognizable and unique characteristic in the international musical panorama, which is strongly indicative of Aria’s style.
99% of records on the market today do not exceed 50 tracks, and this excess creates a more demanding audio experience for listeners, who today are accustomed to quick and easy listening. In this way one can appreciate the difficult execution of the instrumental parts and the high level of musical taste that each musician brings to the song, a bit like what happened in the progressive rock of the 70’s, where the individual instrumentalists showcased their prowess. Unfortunately, the beautiful riffs found in the ever green pop songs of old are no longer used in today’s music.
In “Smile”, one can hear the dialogue between the notes of the guide piano, played by Aria, in the classical Cuban way, the singer’s melodic line and the driving groove of the brass sections (on the off-beat), to which trumpets are added in the finale, as well as the Argentine bandoneon, played by Francisco Martìnez of the famous school of Astor Piazzolla, of the Camila y Silvio group (Buenos Aires, Argentina).
Aria also uses analog synthesizers within the arrangement, such as the ARP Odyssey and the Minimoog, which make the song more engaging, with a slight hint of psychedelia. Many styles are therefore present in Aria’s songs, inserted in an organic way. If we remove the vocals, the backing track is practically a song in itself.
As on his other records, Aria continues to collaborate with musicians all over the world to give his songs a variety of stylistic imprints that contrast with each other and infuse the songs with that contaminated sound, in effect embodying World Music. “Smile”, as can be seen in the video, is an expression of joy, conveyed through the smiles of people of all backgrounds, who interpret the “Smile” dance with spontaneous and unique gestures. It is a song of universal brotherhood.
Aria is the stage name of Mariano Schiavolini. The concept and the pseudonym were born as a tribute to the elements of nature that inspire us to live and create in harmony with what surrounds us. Once one has lost contact with nature, he is no longer himself. This connection, this bond, is what drives Aria to create masterpieces that often draw deep inspiration from the natural world.
Of course, this vocation is the result of a long musical journey; Aria’s beginnings were much more down to earth. A key figure in the Italian progressive rock scene and founding member of the famous band Celeste (aka The King Crimson of Italy), Aria has refined his art in the most experimental of genres, also collaborating with countless artists and producers of his time: Kit Woolven, Nick Griffiths, Pete Hinton, Guy Bidmead, Daniel Boone, Simon Fraser, Dennis Herman and Will Reid Dick, just to name a few.
In recent years Aria has returned to the fold, upending the music industry with “contaminated” music. With deep lyrical themes such as the plight of refugees in wartime, the devastation of the environment and the tragic disappearance of our planet’s wildlife, Aria’s music blends important themes with a melange of musical elements, such as progressive rock, soul, and even full, live orchestras.
More recent collaborations are the result of a recent trip to South Africa, where Aria had the pleasure of recording with the late Makeba’s band members, Thuthukani Cele (of Lucky Dube fame), and the famous Soweto Gospel Choir. It gives us great joy to see so many artists who share a passion for things that are sometimes forgotten but so important in this world. It brings us even greater joy to share this music with all of Aria’s fans, so that they too can be inspired.
For more information vistit www.ariamusicworld.com