Francesca Biancoli. Picture: Gabriella Achadinha
Francesca Biancoli. Picture: Gabriella Achadinha

Our Round corners mini-interviews situate artists outside their given media. Francesca Biancoli is an innately free musician, most noted as singer for Zingara, she is equally at ease in impromptu jazz, folk and new music settings. Wherever the music is spontaneous and heartfelt, she’ll be strumming and vocalizing to her heart’s content. MICK RAUBENHEIMER chats to her about art and artistry.

When did you first identify as a creative artist?

My first memories go back to my childhood when I was about 8 years old. I’ve always been a “weird” girl with a creative and imaginative mind. I always needed to create something that represented me in every form of art.

Outside of your medium, what branch of art most stimulates you?

I am interested and attracted to any form of art as long as it is truly sincere. The art forms I am most stimulated by are painting, photography and poetry.

Francesca Biancoli. Picture: Niklas Zimmer
Francesca fronts Zingara. Picture: Niklas Zimmer

Which artist/s in said discipline have significantly inspired you, and why?

This is a difficult question… I was inspired by many different artists during different seasons of my life.

Jazz has been a huge influence, as has soul, R&B and world music. I am fascinated by everything that is spiritual, experimental, which takes me to another dimension and makes me forget about time. That’s what music does for me.

Some of my artistic influences:

Ella Fitzgerald, Thelonious Monk, Salvador Dalì, Frida Kahlo, Hayao Miyazaki, Alice Coltrane, The Fugees, Donny Hathaway, Erykah Badu, Bjork, Amy Winehouse, Fela Kuti.

What, to you, is art’s most important function?

Art helps people overcome difficult moments, gives hope, exalts the spirit and is a medium that is able to pull out the most hidden parts in all corners of your life. It makes you laugh and cry and shake.

Local creatives (in any medium) that currently excite you?

TheCITY, Herbie Tsoaeli, Brynn, Amy Ayanda.

What specific work – be it in literature, music, or visual art – do you return to again and again, and why?

I go back to what is most exciting, a song, an album, an image that reminds me of that particular moment of life. There is a book I read and reread – a Billie Holiday biography, it always teaches me something new. In truth, I’m always looking for new music that tastes of genius.

Any current project you’re unveiling/wrapping up?

I’m in the process of recording a new album with my band ZINGARA. We are hoping to wrap it up by the end of the year, if all goes well.

WS