“"A charming genius! One of my all time favourite performers." ”
— Martin Stephenson- legendary UK songwriter
"A charming genius! One of my all time favourite performers." (Martin Stephenson - One of Britains best songwriters and Indie legend).
“An extraordinary talent! A fantastic sense of humour, a great, great player and a great performer”. (Frank Hennessy - BBC Wales).
“If he wasn’t amongst us already, somebody would have to invent Roberto Cassani, he’s such a blast of fresh air in a tired, self-regarding world.” (John Davy - Music News).
“Artistic rebellion is such a strong force. Music and comedy are the last bastions of where you can speak your mind without getting arrested. Roberto sticks his head above the parapet and says what we all think in a great way... it’s fxxxxx wonderful!" - Robin Wynn Evans, legendary music producer, The Manic Street Preachers, Sam Brown, The View, Dodgy.
“A true emerging star with side-splitting humour and clever lyrics which will see him firmly in place as a national icon” (Alan Wilson - The Courier).
“Wry humour, life affirming lyrics – and all in a second language! Italian born musician and songwriter, Roberto Cassani’s humorous songs are pitch perfect in their razor-sharp observations of daily life” (BBC Radio Scotland's Comedy Cafe).
"Roberto is like the best street musician...Something of the clown, the seriousness covered over with humour..."
"The last wandering troubadour, enlivening all of our lives a little for a few songs".
"He's genuinely an enigma, I've never heard anyone else like him. I don't even know who or how to compare him. It's best just to give in. He'll get you in the end. Songs are about capturing the stories of the common people to retell down the ages. Well that's what we've got here. It's true to life, funny and says something different about Britain today!"
- Mark Coyle -
"Scotland's favourite Italian! Absolutely wonderful and delightfully entertaining. Cassani Rocks!!" (Rob Ellen - Medicine Music).
"Roberto Cassani is like the best street musician, the last troubadour, a clown; genuinely an enigma, I've never heard anyone quite like him. He's true to life, funny and says something different about Britain today" - Mark Coyle.
“Completely different! Unique! Quirky and humorous with a dark side of truth lurking underneath the chuckles”. Frank Hennessy (BBC Wales)
"A charming genius! One of my all-time favourite performers." - Martin Stephenson, UK songwriting legend and leader of the Daintees.
Roberto Cassani is but the rarest of musical rascals. The only one doing what he does! A protected species!
So what exactly does Roberto do?
Mostly whatever comes into his head at any given time, often with some music involved. Sounds ok? You've found a forever pal! Read on for a full biography (as much as possible to paste together for such a fella...)
(This biography is approximately the truth, mostly made up of "copied and pasted" anecdotes from Roberto and stuff found on the internet. Roberto doesn't write his biog because it makes him feel like a twit!)
Roberto Cassani appears to have been born with mischief and artistry in mind and has never allowed himself to follow the trend (and quickly jumped off the boat if he perceived that he may have been on course to be doing something even remotely trendy). Some have argued with Roberto that if he had remained in one place, stuck to one language or indeed one formula, he would by now be able to pay the bills.... In response he sticks his tongue out to all, for he sees all as an apprenticeship of unknown length and purpose...
Roberto was born in Milano, Italia, 12th August 1975 and grew up in the working class mad house of Rivolta d’Adda, a town which had more bars and osterie in its small footprint than it would be thought reasonable...and yet all were busy with people particularly fond of wine, songs and stories, of which Roberto’s fathers (and the boy himself) were proud exponents and disciples.
Roberto was always a loveable rascal, but so was every other boy and man of Rivolta d’Adda, hence he almost blended in well. Still however managing to stick out due to his fondness for Music (no-one else in the family could play a note), and the innate instinct for disobedience (the first conscientious objector of the town when his military service duties beckoned).
By then, his songs had been spotted and he was snapped up by the big record label BMG (now Universal). Working and rubbing shoulders with some of the elite of the Italian music biz only served to tickle Roberto’s rebellious nature and before a record was out, he did a runner....
He spoke no English of note and yet decided it would be wise to relocate to Britain, where he proceeded to eat beans for a full year, get himself into adventures of the kind no longer possible in our virtual times, and fall in love with the person of his dreams: his wife Lara.
After a few years he managed to build a sufficient vocabulary to start writing songs again...
In 2007 he played his first pub gig, by then having settled in the Scottish (wet) idyll of Perthshire. The songs were playfully boisterous and nothing the punters had heard since the bawdy days of the Music Hall, so Roberto soon graduated to playing big Festivals. The content of his songs made it impossible for him to be played on national radio, yet when “Chicka Boom” was recorded live in one night in the Perth pub “Mucky Mulligans” and released in 2008 under the now defunct Nessmp3 label, it sold out and gained incredulous yet enthusiastic 5 stars reviews. The whole record consisted of Roberto battering an acoustic guitar and shouting to be heard by loads of drunken punters: to say “raw” is an understatement. The album is now sold out and out of print.
Roberto spent 2008, 2009 and part of 2010 playing every nook and cranny in the UK, on land, river, loch or sea. He ventured twice into the Americas, he played to the thousands in the fields and to a man watching the football in a pub...He even won a couple of prestigious songwriting awards, best of all the Burnsong competition which led him to perform at the Scottish Parliament, BBC and especially meet his fellow musos of the superfolk band Kilmarnock Edition (more of which in a minute)...
Tired of the solo wondering, Roberto dedicated a few years to his love of the double bass, which he first met under the tutorage of Italian jazz great Giovanni Tommaso in Rome. Roberto became a session musician first and then a funding member of Kilmarnock Edition, which released an acclaimed record on the Greentrax label and became one of the few darlings of the new folk circuit. A couple of years of performances in the UK and Canada followed before the band parted company.
In amongst all that, Roberto and Lara became parents to Ruby, to date the only magnificent masterpiece. One cannot wonder about aimlessly when such cuties are at home, so the live concerts were drastically reduced to 20-30 per year, no more.
In 2014 Roberto and his double bass fancied trying out some comedy swingabilly and formed Roberto & the Tickety2 with his genial guitarist sidekick Owen Nicholson and the loveliest drummer on the planet Dave Clelland. Two albums followed in as many years, Man Flu (2014) and Middle Age Spread (2015), as well as several triumphant festivals and radio sessions on both BBC and local radios. As with every album, Roberto insists on recording live, like in the good old days, warts and all...
2016 saw Roberto returning to solo efforts for Badabadoom. On the album Roberto experimented with some unorthodox vocalisation as the accompaniment to the songs, with only his guitar, bass and voice as actual instruments. Yes, Roberto playing everything means that overdubbing is involved here, but every track was recorded live from start to finish without copied and pasted parts, so it’s still cool!...The album was produced by UK songwriter Martin Stephenson and gained Roberto a whole lot of new fans. Festival performances in UK and Europe followed, as well as the usual sessions on private and BBC wireless.
Roberto used even less instrumentation on the 2017 “punky” album of protest songs, out only digitally under the monicker of Protest Panda. The short album, all recorded live at TPot studio by legendary producer Robin Wynn Evans, spoke up against the political car-crash decisions of the previous year. Roberto accompanied himself only with a crunchy guitar, a foot drum and a kazoo...yes, a kazoo...the boy gives zero hoots! Protest Panda was an unexpected success with DJs on private radio and also received some superb reviews, which is quite something as Roberto did not promote it at all...
In 2018 Roberto has worked with idol and double bass legend Danny Thompson to build a body of songs telling some truth about Roberto’s stories and feelings. Songs from the heart, though with the usual unusual verve... look out for them in 2019.