FALL 2011




Solidus Online

Riro Maniscalco

The Things That I See

    The things that I see
    got me laughin’ like a baby
    The things that I see
    got me cryin’ like a man
    The things that I see
    I can look at what He gave me!
    and He’s gonna show me
    even more than I see

Just the other day
I heard a new voice in the darkness
Sendin’ me away
with mud on my face
I heard the people say
he’s crazy and he’s hopeless
til a splash washed the darkness away!

Makin’ me explain
to a lot of angry faces
Talkin’ to ‘em plain
they don’t hear what I say
tellin’ me again
“He’s a sinner and He’s reckless”
but there’s only one thing I can say…

He came to me again
and this time I could see Him
Told me how he’d been
out lookin’ for me
He told me to believe
I said “what should I believe in?”
He said “keep on believin’ in me!”


Waitin' For Somebody to Come

Nest in the neon nighttime, Tap and taillights on the run
Silence stands on the sidelines, Of conversations said and done
And with a cloud smokin’ over the table
And speakers beatin’ to the same old drum
He’d play it cool and collected but he just isn’t able
He’s waiting for somebody to come

Doin’ the day to daytime, Bein’ the obedient mom
Smilin’ at just the right times,
Through “pay attentions” paid and gone
And as the last head is hittin’ the pillow
as night lights promise yet another dawn
She doesn’t know why she’s lookin’ when she stares out the window.
She’s waiting for somebody to come.
That mama’s waitin’ for somebody to come.

    Daytime or nighitime, noontime or midnight it might be there.
    No wrong or right time. No tellin’, no knowin’ where?
    Who? Is anybody there?

Lumberin’ through a lifetime,
Till time and life go back on their bond
Ain’t no denyin’ sometimes,
Seems time ain’t takin’ life where it wants
And as the train’s railin’ for the next station
You can’t help hopin’ someone new will get on
Don’t try to cure it or ignore it there ain’t no immunization
To waitin’ for somebody to come…
    That mama’s waitin’ for somebody to come
    This bum is waitin’ for somebody to come
    My knees are shakin’ for somebody to come
    My heart is achin’ for somebody to come…


Lord, I Tried

Open Tuning in “D” – Capo on 6th fret

Lord, you know that I tried,
Oh Lord, you know that I tried,
Lord you know how I tried,
Lord, you know how I tried

Every night, Lord, every day
I feel like sinking down in my pain.
I’ve got a bleeding heart, I need your love
And it’s tearing me apart

Lord, you know how I tried...

Good or bad, Lord, I can’t tell
My need for love turns heaven into hell.
Am I drowning in this lonesome well
since beauty has cast its spell?

Lord, you know that I tried...

Scarred like a soldier

when the battle’s lost.
Being chased by a million ghosts.
Kneel to the ground and stretch my hand.
Is this tenderness enough to make amends?

Lord, you know that I tried


The Morning Star

Look to the Morning Star (4x)

Crying in a dry desert
Thirsting for a piece of heaven
a mem'ry of a promise pulls you on
Step by step the sand’s hotter
Day by day the land’s farther
You wonder if you're wandering toward home

Look to the Morning Star (4x)

Babylon's a bad dream
Jerusalem, there but not seen.
Who can build and who will lift the stone?
The weight is great, the task taller,
The ruin deep, the remnant smaller
but something in you knows you're not alone

Look to the Morning Star (4x)

Pilgrims in a deep night
See the dark, but know the light
a thousand candles pointing to the day
The road is long but hope, longer
The flesh is weak but friends, stronger
Burning hearts are showing you the way

Look to the Morning Star (4x)


Interview by Meghan Burrows

1) What do you mean when you refer to yourself as a fake musician?

I mean basically 2 things:
1. Partially trained
2. Never expected to make a living off it

According to most people those are the elements which qualify you as a real musician.
Well, I play and sing more than many trained and professional musicians, and I give all I can give when I perform. So, I am fully aware of my limitations, yet fully aware of the desire and passion with which I do what I do.

2) When did you start writing songs? Why?

At age ten. Why? You need to talk to yourself, don't you? And you have so many things in you. Confused, confusing, and you do not know how to express them ...some people start writing poetry, others keep a diary, some draw, paint ... I started writing songs. To keep them for myself.

3) What do you love/hate most about the songwriting process?

There is nothing I hate about it. No one ever forced me to do it. Even when I am asked to write something (I did some for documentaries, movies), if I accept, it is because I desire to do it. Something "will come". At times I love it more, sometimes less. But all songs are "true", a real expression of the cry of the heart. Because that is the only thing a song is.
I sit with my guitar and I start singing. Melody first. I let it flow. I kind of follow images and sensations, memories and feelings that crowd my heart and mind.
After so many years I know exactly if I am listening to the cry of my heart or if I am making things up. It is like when you tell somebody "I love you". "I love you", you can say these words and mean the whole universe or mean absolutely nothing. Same thing with a song, and - I think - with every artistic expression.

4) You mention in your bio that you have been performing since you were ten. What was your “earliest” performance?
Well... We put together a band. Sort of ... We invited friends and relatives to our shows. That's the clearest memory I have of the "beginnings." Obviously, it was not good but it was certainly fun.

5) What instruments do you play? How long did it take for you to get where you are now in regards to your comfort level/skill with these instruments?

Playing an instrument, like speaking a language, like everything you learn, sets up a never ending journey. As much as you may master an instrument there will always be more out there. I used to collect instruments and teach myself how to pull out of them some sort of sound ...you shouldn't do that. Training helps, training is needed. But, you see, I never thought of being a professional, especially after my parents denied giving me permission to attend the local Conservatory in Pesaro. And I understand the reasons why they did so. In any case, training helps! If you learn by yourself it takes longer, and often times there are errors in method [bad habits] which will stay with you forever.

6) I understand you recorded 3 albums with The Bay Ridge Band. What was that experience like for you, working with other musicians?

An experience of "Beauty." You are and remain yourself, yet with your friends you experience the hundred fold. And then you can learn a lot! It is a gift; that is what it is.

7) Do you have any favorite American songwriters/artists? Italian?

I grew up listening to the Beatles ... Then I discovered Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, the Mamas and the Papas ...I listened to a lot of music, and I still do; whatever is out there. You have to listen a lot, and then do as Saint Paul used to say: "test everything and retain what is good".
I discovered jazz here, I knew nothing about it, and hated the very concept of it. I have a favorite "voice," a favorite singer (even though I do not like everything he did). That's Ray Charles.

8) The first song you performed tonight was a Bob Dylan song. Was there any significance behind that song/artist choice?

There is always a meaning! And if there is not ...drop whatever you are doing!
“I shall be released” is one of the first songs "I understood". First I understood the cry in it, the longing, the awareness of how messed up we are, and nonetheless how thirsty and hungry we are for fulfillment then I also understood the lyrics ...

9) Do you consider songwriting and music performance to be a poetic form? How so?

I believe so. I am not an expert. I am just an ordinary human being who was given the little gift of loving music, was given the little gift of melody. Who was given - like everybody else in this world - a heart that cries out its infinite desire for the Infinite. Life, all of it, is about this. But there are moments in life in which this cry dominates the scene, and expresses itself in forms of Beauty; that, I believe, is Art.


Maurizio “Riro” Maniscalco is A “fake musician” – to use his own words – who’s been playing, writing songs, and performing since the age of 10. For the most part “self taught” (that is where that self definition comes from), Maniscalco plays “a little bit of every instrument” but mostly acoustic guitar. He also studied oboe for two years (“Then I left for College”) at the Conservatorio Rossini, in Pesaro, Italy, where he was born in 1955.
After graduating in Law at the Catholic University of Milan, he worked for long years as a Human Resources Manager and Consultant. Consequent to his somewhat fortuitous arrival in the US at the beginning of ’94, his passion for music – which had always been deeply rooted in his heart – took on to a very different level through the encounter with various great musicians of the New York scene. He recorded 3 albums with The Bay Ridge Band, an extremely talented and creative vocal/acoustic band, contributing also with his original songs, and two solo albums, “Blues and Mercy”, and the recent “Sketches of You”. Together with his friend Jonathan Fields he regularly gives presentations/concerts on Blues music. With Fields, in 2008, he also conducted a series of conferences on the history of American Music for the prestigious NY Crossroads Cultural Center. Maniscalco is also the co-author of “Learning through music”, a three volume series published in Italy by Itaca Libri. For Societa’ Editrice Fiorentina he also published three more books: “Mi Mancano solo le Hawaii” (I am missing only Hawaii), “Dal Ponte all’Infinito” (From the Bridge to the Infinite), “Musica, Parole e Storie” (Music, Lyrics and Stories). He regularly writes for Il Sussidiario.net, an internet newspaper. Maniscalco is the President of New York Encounter (newyorkencounter.org), one of the City’s biggest cultural events which takes place every January. In the midst of all this, in 2003 he started his own small business, Emerald NY, an ESL school (www.emeraldny.com)
His personal website is www.bluesandmercy.com