Danielle Gasparro, singer, songstress and piano player, has a voice that is well-paired with a glass of wine. Her deep, rich, velvet voice lingers and soars so effortlessly that the listener is lulled into a musical reverie. Luckily for us, she will bestow those dulcet tones upon Lincoln audiences at Deer Springs Winery (16255 Adams St.) on May 15th from 7 – 9 p.m.
Gasparro's voice is her main instrument and is beautifully accompanied by the piano she uses to compose. Her singing career began in 1998 as she crooned the old jazz standards at various nightclubs in New York City. Friends eventually persuaded her to focus on her own compositions, leading her to give up jazz to pursue her music in 2002. Since then, she's been developing her craft, all the while learning to listen to her heart and connect with her audiences. Her lyrics are clear, easy to access and relate to in context of the struggles of the human experience.
Although they are autobiographically inspired, her lyrical themes are universal: the growth that occurs after heartbreak; the beauty of existence, despite its sorrows; and the rewards of living a life of risk.
The song “Irish Pride” off of her 2008 release “Birdsong” tells the story of Gasparro’s Irish grandmother who left a beloved landscape that held no future for her, to begin a life in an unknown land. When I remarked that I was reminded of my great-grandmother’s similar story, she told me that she has heard that response everywhere she goes. Considering the millions in this country who are only a few generations away from foreign soil, this song of imaginative empathy allows the listener to personalize the courageous stories of so many of our forebears who came over in times when the pursuit of survival required the deferment of dreams. Gasparro credits her Irish and Italian grandmothers for giving her the courage to live a life of risk, substituting the “known for the unknown.”
We spoke of her other songs that particularly connect with audiences, such as, “Tears are Only Water,” a piece that she says “all comes together...and says so much with so few words,” and “Birdsong,” which sings of “following your nature...and not using your head, but using your heart” as a guide. In Gasparro’s words, “Everything that you are given is an opportunity, if you are listening.” This applies even to heartbreak, which she sings about in “Thank You for Breaking My Heart,” a song of anger, determination and painful self-knowledge, an experience which she describes as, “Reminding me of who I am...” In her view, all great art “takes us out of reality and reminds us that we are all in this together.” This is her aim as she connects with audiences throughout the country.
Gasparro's concert in Lincoln is a part of a year-long national “Song Sweet Song” tour that will take her to the four corners of the lower 48 states. She has recently been traveling through the Midwest, with performances in Omaha, Paxton, Oklahoma and South Dakota. Gasparro's primary venues have been house concerts and small, intimate spaces such as wineries, all with the purpose of increasing her national audience with meaningful musical experiences. She nurtures her audience connections, which in turn have nurtured her – her Lincoln winery stop was suggested by a South Dakota winery owner and musician. He had seen her in New York and offered to host and help her when she declared to her fans that she was ready to explore the Heartland.
Like many with little exposure to the charms of the Midwest, she did not know what to expect when she came here. But she has been “blown away by the hospitality of the Midwest and. . . the very deeply touching response I've received to the music, especially lyrically.”
When: May 15th, 7-9 p.m., no cover, donation suggested
Where: Deer Springs Winery
16255 Adams St.
Lincoln NE 68527
To follow Gasparro visit her official website here or take the time to read her tour blog documenting her travels.