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Barbara Rubin interview by Ravi V. Chhabra




An { news FOR soul}

EXCLUSIVE interview 

Barbara Rubin's eyelids on thoughts


Ravi V Chhabra-fnbworld By Ravi V. Chhabra


Barbara Rubin-violinist-composer-fnbworld

Barbara Rubin-violinist-composer-fnbworld

Born in Mede Lomellina (PV) Barbara Rubin is violinist, singer and songwriter who began her musical journey with Maestro Fabio Biondi at the “Antonio Vivaldi Conservatory” in Alessandria (Italy). She then graduated in violin at the “Giuseppe Nicolini Conservatory” in 1998. Soon this classical background influenced her into the world of rock music that included several shows with pop, rock and metal bands since 1991 till now. This blend of music gave birth to her passion for progressive music, loving the chance of free expression, which she feels fits in with her musical creativity. 

She had joined in two editions of the “Saint Vincent Festival” in 2002 and in 2003 and arrived in final 'singers and song writers' category. In 2003, Barbara joined into the contest: “Talenti Italiani” (Italian talents) in Rome: First Classified in the song writers category. She performed at the contest: 'Young Emergent Music' in Rome in 2010 with the single “Eyelids”. In the same year, she released a Jon Anderson cover “Change we must” with a video clip selected for the Earth Day Brasil 2011, as an artist who represented Italy. 

Barbara Rubin-violinist-composer-fnbworld

Her discography comprises SWIMMER IN THE SAND - ARCANSIEL (2005 Musea Records), 'Low Fare Flight To The Earth' - Paolo Baltaro (2007 Musea Records) , 'Under The Ice' (2010 self released and distributed by BTF), 'Imperviae Auditiones' - Loreweaver (2011 SG Records) 'Italic' - Loreweaver (2014 Musea Records), 'Operauno' - Barbara Rubin / Veronica Fasanelli (2014 Self-released), 'Luna Nuova' (2017 mini-album NERALUCE STUDIO Self-released), 'The Shadows Playground' (2020 NERALUCE STUDIO Self-released).


Her album 'Under The Ice' achieved hundreds of radio airplays and reviews all around the world. She has performed at prestigious music festivals such as 'Prog Farm Festival di Bakkeeveen' - The Netherlands in 2007 (with the band Arcansiel) a fusion music festival. Lydney, Uk 2011 (with the band Loreweaver) Val Curone Festival - Alessandria (Italy) in 2012, (Under The Ice LIVE) , Cambridge Rock Festival in 2013 Uk (with the band Loreweaver).


Barbara Rubin-violinist-composer-fnbworld

She also teaches violin, singing and ensamble music in “Scuola Civica Musicale” Mortara (PV - Italy), “Tetracordo” music school in Mede (PV - Italy) and in several State Music Schools.

Excerpt from the interview:

Ravi V. Chhabra: Early influences in vocals, violin and song-writing?



Barbara Rubin: My early musical influences came from The Beatles, Kiss and the Italian great vocalist Anna Oxa. Oxa and Paul Stanley are great performers as well as melody lovers. They sing with great expressivity, power and since my youth, I was attracted by that kind of singing.

My songwriting, of course, is majorly influenced by rock music making a blend with my studies and my love for the classical music, especially the Baroque. Violin teaches a lot about the working on the melodies. Regarding the arrangements, I had learnt a lot from my studies in harmony at the Conservatory,  from the Italian pop music which had great productions in the ’80 and ’90, as well as I had learnt a lot from the rhythmic peculiarity of progressive rock and metal music.

Ravi V. Chhabra: Can you name some of your most liked songwriters and reasons?

Barbara Rubin: I think Italy is a country of great songwriters, despite nowadays, the Italian music could be witnessing a somewhat decadent era. I could say some great names like Lucio Battisti, Maurizio Fabrizio, Bruno Lauzi, New Trolls, Banco del MutuoSoccorso. I think that it is because we have a great attitude for the melody, and this is what that characterizes many Italian productions. Speaking frankly, I have listened to so much music that it’s not easy for me to name just a few. I love many musical forms -  Bach to Bacharack, from Kiss to Dream Theater, among lots of English, American and Italian pop artist, from ’70 to ’90 era.

Ravi V. Chhabra: Italians are famous for genres of music v.i.z opera, classical, rock, progressive rock, jazz...can you give us your favourite names in these categories?

Barbara Rubin: I am a Baroque lover, so I listen to a lot of  Vivaldi operas, the Alessandro Scarlatti Oratorios. About rock, well, I like very much the singer songwriter Elisa, who makes a fine blend between pop European music and rock, be it in English or Italian. I prefer the early discography. I’m not a blues fan but I am tempted to  suggest listening to the great pop star Pino Daniele and about Prog, you have a great number of big stars. I prefer Area, New Trolls and Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, but today there’s a huge number of bands that continue to release great prog rock productions, as well as prog metal.  

Ravi V. Chhabra: Who would you most want to perform alongside as a violinist and vocalist?

Barbara Rubin: Well, it isn't an easy question, but I think that it would be fantastic to perform with Peter Gabriel in his song “Here Comes The Flood”, but I would love also to sing with Iron Maiden. I love to sing to their music!

Ravi V. Chhabra: Do you also play the double bass/cello? Any constraints as compared to violin?

Barbara Rubin: No, I don’t play those two instruments. I play violin and viola. The constraints are about the setting of the instruments. Violin and Viola are shoulder instruments, cello and double bass are the leg ones, but they have some differences also in the grip of the bow and in the left hand. Anyway, the viola is  quite a different instrument. The violin is about the mentality; the tone as well as the role it has in the ensembles. If you are a good violinist, it’s not sure you could be a good violist.

Ravi V. Chhabra: Typically which brand of violin do you use... do you prefer acoustic or electric?

Barbara Rubin: Absolutely acoustic. Electric violin is a great fit to play in LIVE with a rock band because the acoustic one could give lots of problems due to Larsen, having a very resonant conformation… the peculiarity of the violin as well as the strings is that the whole instrument is vibrating when you put the bow on the strings. It gives the characteristic of every single violin, each one is different than the other, it doesn't matter if it is mass-produced. I have and play a Lutherie violin by EyalHofmekler produced in Parma, Italy in 1988.

Ravi V. Chhabra: Have you heard the many virtuoso Indian violinists such as Dr. L. Shankar, Ambi Subramaniam or any others?

Barbara Rubin: Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to listen to any of their music but I will and thanks for this suggestion. Of course, they could have a fascinating way to play, thanks to the folk influences of your beautiful traditional music.

Ravi V. Chhabra: The titles of some of your songs are far-out like 'Eyelids' and 'Under the Ice'...who gave these?

Barbara Rubin: Those songs are written by me for the music as well as the lyrics, so the titles are mine too; “Eyelids” has an English title but the lyrics are in Italian. It is a single released in 2010. I had imagined the listener could see closing the eyelids, with your thoughts and your mind, like they could be seeing  a place, a big house, an ancient room where your imagination could fly. “Under The Ice” is a place where you could freeze your troubles when you think that nobody could understand, waiting for someone special.

Ravi V. Chhabra:  What is your thought process when you write the lyrics. Inspiration?

Barbara Rubin: My songs are just a means to communicate my deep reflections, my hopes, as well the impressions from the stories that fascinate me. Basically, I express all these things by writing then down at first. I sit  at the piano and start to improvise. Sometimes, I sing a melody that appears in my mind, when I’m quiet and alone. After this, words come to me and the lyrics too. But I study a lot to write the complete song, especially for the musical part as well as the arrangements. I never stop to work on it until I am pleased with the best I could. If I don't like the song, it cannot be liked by anyone! 

Ravi V. Chhabra: Are you interested in studying poetry, any English poets that come to mind?

Barbara Rubin: I am not a lover of poetry. However, I love to write lyrics for my songs. I have been reading English songs lyrics since I was quite young and often appreciated a lot Dream Theater lyrics and Genesis lyrics as well as Peter Gabriel's words as a soloist.

Ravi V. Chhabra: Is there anyone in your family into fine arts?

Barbara Rubin: No, I am the first one in my family involved in arts, though my father and my grandfather had beautiful voices. I came from a humble family of workers, but of course, they were very interested in cultures. They read a lot of well researched papers and good books, so they agreed for me to follow my passion for music. 

Ravi V. Chhabra What projects are you currently working on?

Barbara Rubin: I’m working on new music directions right now. I have already written 2 complete songs and shaped many piano ideas. I have recorded some of the material, so I can say I have started a new album but there’s still a lot of work to do, a lot of music and lyrics to compose. Furthermore, I would like to play LIVE by the end of 2021, so I have to test some musicians who could play with me. I played all the instruments in my albums, but I cannot do it in the LIVE setting.

Ravi V. Chhabra: Are the internet platform(s) like Bandcamp and online music streaming arena: Reverbnation and such companies good place to park your work in terms of showcasing and making money?

Barbara Rubin: They are indispensable for us independent musicians, because we would have not many places to reach out for good exposure without them. Many music lovers are there to search out new music.

Of course, there are thousands of new releases every year and it’s not easy to make our music get noticed. Music writers like you and the radio  presenters make a great effort every day to help us, and this sometimes works. I must tell you, I had to sell albums, not in a great number, but constantly to pursue my musical challenges. Many radios had played my music, and many of them do it constantly, so I can feel the courage as well as the energies to go on composing.

Ravi V. Chhabra: Do you record at a professional studio or with your own equipment and what are the brands used?

Barbara Rubin: I have my home recording studio called 'Neraluce Studio' and I self release everything from the recordings till the mastering. I also self produce my own works. For no, I decided not to have a label of my own.

I record using Cubase with a Focusrite audio card interface, an Oberehim MC 2000 as a master keyboard and a Kurzweil for the piano and the synthesizers as well. An SEelectronics Valve Microphone for the voice using also a valve pre-amplifier.

Ravi V. Chhabra: Is performing LIVE or recording music or teaching music more satisfying? Well, in terms of let's say on a scale of 10 each?

Barbara Rubin: For me, to perform is 9/10 but it depends on what I have to perform; if it is my music or other ones just for a freelance job, to make money...If you play your music, the feeling you have with the audience is different and special. To record music: 10/10, I think it’s the thing I love most. To compose and release my music is what involve me more. To teach is not always the same, it depends on the students. May be, the rating is a bit less, but this gives me self-improvement  as a musician because it is a constant activity that makes my soul rich day by day. The rating is 8/10.

Ravi V. Chhabra: Can you share two of your most liked musical experiences with us?

Barbara Rubin: The most beautiful musical experience was the first day at the Conservatory, when I met my Maestro Fabio Biondi, who soon became a famous violinist and conductor of Europa Galante, one of the most important orchestras of the world regarding the Baroque repertoire. I remember, once I was out of the classroom and I heard the violin. I had hardly imagined that entering in that room my life would be different and my musical vision became special.

Many years later, when I released my first solo album “Under The Ice”, I made a dream come true and this gave me the chance to meet lots of people involved in music who gave me so much support. I met many of them when I played at some English music festivals between 2011 and 2013; the Cambridge Rock Festival, where I saw great passion and friendship in the audiences. The UK’s love for the music is huge. I found great respect and affection for us musicians.

Ravi V. Chhabra: Views on world music or music without boundaries....

Barbara Rubin: I think that nowadays, thanks to the internet, we have the chance to enjoy and share music from every corner of the planet, this is awesome. I know that rock music (the American one), still influences a lot of us but we are more interested to listen to ethnic music and many things of the classical genre as many who had forgotten the great operas have discovered it in the last 20 years. Luckily, today we can self-produce our music as well to make it available for the whole world.

Ravi V. Chhabra: Your most cherished violinist?

Barbara Rubin: Most certainly, it is my Maestro Fabio Biondi. I never heard no one else who can speak about himself with his instrument in a such of personal way. I also appreciate the young American violinist Hilary Hahn, the great Anne-Sophie Mutter, the unforgettable Maestro David Ojstrakh and Ida Handel who also inspired me with her personal life as a musician. She became famous when life was not easy for  female musicians, especially for an East European Jewish.

Ravi V. Chhabra: Any Indian string instrument that you dig most?

Barbara Rubin: You have so many fantastic traditional instruments, but of course, the 'sitar' has made fine inroads into the world music. I love the work of late Pundit Ravi Shankar and his daughter Anoushka Shankar. I think the 'sitar' has a mesmerizing quality with its gentle, unique vibrations. It is sonorous and harmonically very rich. I simply adore it.



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