Award-winning guitarist, composer and producer Antonio Forcione is widely considered one of Europe’s most charismatic and inventive performers. He has released 17 acclaimed albums, toured internationally and has a strong fan base of all ages and nationalities. His next album, Sketches of Africa, inspired by various recent tours in Africa, is due for release in early 2012.
Forcione tours as a solo artist, in duo format and with AKA, a new world trio formation that recently debuted at the Edinburgh Festival to rave reviews. He also tours with his quartet, the Antonio Forcione Quartet (AFQ). Based in London, Antonio performs and teaches internationally and give frequent charity concerts for causes such as Amnesty International, Friends of the Earth, and Great Osmond St. Children’s Hospital (with Graham Norton).
Born in southern Italy in 1960, Antonio has been performing since the age of twelve, touring with his own band as a guitarist, mandolinist and drummer. He studied art at the Ancona Institute of Art, but music remained his first passion and he subsequently studied jazz in Rome. In 1983 he moved to London in search of greater inspiration and, before he had even learned to speak a word of English, he found himself the winner of the ‘Covent Garden Street Entertainer of the Year’ competition which led to a BBC television appearance and a major European tour supporting pop group Barclay James Harvest.
Forcione’s 17 albums have reached the top of UK and International Jazz and World charts. They mostly feature original compositions by Antonio, with his trademark eclectic mixture of global styles, including Italian folk, Brazilian, Spanish, African, Cuban, and Indian nuances and rhythms.
Antonio has shared the stage worldwide with some of the world’s most accomplished musicians, double-billing with artists such as John McLaughlin, Leo Kotke, John Scofield, Van Morrison, Steps Ahead, Pino Daniele, Tania Maria and many others. He has also opened for Bobby McFerrin, Phil Collins, Zucchero and Jools Holland.
Forcione has worked with many artists including Charlie Haden, Trilok Gurtu, Andy Shepherd and Kai Eckhardt. His fascination with performance as a whole, and comedy in particular, led to collaborations with comedians including Stephen Frost, Django Edwards, Bill Bailey and Boothby Graffoe. For several years he was musical director and performer in the award-winning “flamencomedy” show Ole, with whom he toured the world.
Antonio has won many awards, including the British Gas Award, Edinburgh Festival (with Ole,1991); the Golden Nose Award, Barcelona (with Ole,1996); Best Spirit of the Fringe Award, Edinburgh Festival (2001); Premio Internazionale di Cultura Re Manfredi (for innovation, 2008); Premio Sezione Musica (for album production and cultural promotion, 2009); Premio Enriquez “best musician of the year award’ (Italy, 2009); Premio Citta di Castelfidardo (2011), and Valigia dell’emigrante (prize for Italian immigrants who have made an impact worldwide, 2011).