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Opening and passing a portal of music you have never know before can be exciting because you are about to face something new, something beautiful. I have always loved Medieval and Renaissance music, not only because of the costumes and the music itself but also you can connect with the musicians easily. This is how I got to know Albert, who was playing with Blackmore’s Night at that time. However, our relationship has evolved into a friendship and I am grateful to him for opening my eyes to other bands and singers of the style; this is how I met Ida Elena’s music.

The minstrel, Albert Dannenmann can be called the living legend of the German Folk Scene; he recorded several albums and made the success with the band Des Geyers Schwarzer Haufen after he played with the folk-rock formation Blackmore’s Night. 

The lady, Ida Elena DeRazza is also a legend in spite of her young age. She is a very talented singer-songwriter and an actress. Coming from an actor family, it is not surprising that she has chosen that way. Moreover, she is a succesful singer-songwriter on her own right; She is familar in styles from the female-fronted symphonic metal band, Bare Infinity through classical music to neofolk.

As I sat down between two of my favourite musicians and also wonderful people, I felt so much love and kindness coming from them. The following interview was happening in a very warm and friendly atmosphere. What did these lovely and inspiring two artists share with us? Read here!

picture credits: Facebook/ © Fairy Dreams

How did you two meet?

Ida: I have always been a big fan of Blackmore's Night for the particular reason: Because they had this amazing minstrel playing with them - minstrel Albert. So after attending their concert in Brescia, I said: "I have to write a song for this minstrel!" Because when I see Albert, it's just like seeing somebody from the medieval age for real. I mean not somebody who only acts like he was from that age. Really, he's so authentic! So, one day I said: "OK, I think I have the right song for him." and wrote an email to him.

Albert: "I was at the tour with Blackmore's Night and got an email from a lady from Rome. And she wrote to me: "I wrote a song for you. Would you play it on my CD?" So I said: "Why not? Sure! Now I am on the tour with Blackmore's Night in Germany. Just come and we can talk about it." So she came to Chemnitz and Merseburg where we talked. Then, after the tour, I took the flight to Rome and went to the studio to record this song. And this was a beginning of a wonderful friendship and all the music we made together. And the song was "The Ballad of a Silver Dressed Lady". After we made a video to this song and after we come always more together, we play this song at each concert.

How do you make it work? Because Ida comes from Italy and Albert travels around the world, so it must be quite difficult to make the rehearsals etc.

Ida: "Actually with the internet, with the social media, it's not so hard anymore. Because, yes, it can happen that I am in Switzerland or in the United States - just like it really happened - and Albert is in Germany or Austria or somewhere else. And at that moment when we can use the technology, there is no big distance between us anymore because we can make a video call or talk about what we have to do, etc. Also with the cheap flights it is very easy to come to each other. But yeah, we use the time we have for the concerts to make more and more rehearsals. And it works! Because the best rehearsal is actually performing! Every musician will tell you that the best rehearsal is going in front of an audience and performing. Because when you make a rehearsal alone in your basement for example, or in the rehearsal room, it's something. When you are in front of the audience, it's something else. Because you can test the real feeling of the song and you can see the reaction of the audience. So that's the best thing in my opinion."

Albert: "There's one really important thing. We are professionals. And professional musicians do not have rehearsal every week. That's not possible. It was the same with Blackmore's Night. They made a copy of their new CD and sent it to me or they sent me links in an e-mail and I had to practice. Then we met once in one tour and had two rehearsals at Ritchie's place. In one tour, it was in Dresden, Ritchie had a jet lag so he didn't have the rehearsal. So late at night, I think about midnight, he started to check some songs and the next day we were about to go on the stage and play it. And if you cannot play it, you have to go home."

Ida: "Yes, it also happened to me in a lot of theatre productions that, for example, didn't have enough money to pay for the rehearsals. So they were just asking professionals working in there to come one day earlier just to test how it is on the stage and then to go on the stage the day after. This is a thing I do most of the time actually. Also with my band Bare Infinity when we have concerts we just see a couple of days for rehearsing altogether - because it is five people and it demands metal arrangement and other stuff, also we're playing with sequences so you must be perfectly on time when you play. And that's it. That's how it works. Otherwise, you see, with all the other things to do you don't have the time to rehearsal every week. Especially when everybody lives in a different place."

Albert: "With us, it's always like this. Last year in October we were playing in England and then the next year in May we had another tour in Germany. So two days before Ida arrived and before we started the rehearsal we had three new songs. (laughing) "Check it a little bit and go on the stage and play it!"

Ida (laughing): "Yeah! It's the best, I told you!"

Are you planning to come with a full-length album?

Ida: "Well, I have to tell you that it's not so easy. I mean with my band Bare Infinity it's possible because we are independent. We have a label which is self-made. It's led by my guitarist - Blackdown Music. If we want to come up with a new full-length album, we can do it - no problem. With my solo project, I am signed with an Italian label called Maqueta records and they think that today not everybody would want a full-length album. So they prefer to invest in an EP which means an album of half-length comparing to the full-length album. So it's about five songs. I would like to write an album of 24 songs but it's not possible, so what to do? I make an EP with five songs, I will make a new one - I already wrote the songs - and Albert will play in it, and I will publish this EP with five more songs and live I will play 24. Or 30 as always (laughing).

Both of you are active on more bands. Why is this formation so special?

Ida: "Because Albert is my lucky charm and my main source of inspiration. So it cannot be that I played without Albert. Sometimes it happened, but it's not the same. It's special because if Albert is there, then everything is OK. That's why. And we are freer to play in all kind of venues. We can play on a big stage, but can also play in a small club because being two people, it's easier. It's easier for the place that you take. It's easier for getting along with your arrangement. And it's easier because I'm at the same wavelength as Albert. I have exactly the same point of view so when I work with him it is like - no, not like - it IS a working with my best friend.

So it's a synergy.

Ida: "Exactly! It's a synergy!"

Albert: "Ida is a very good singer and a very good songwriter. And especially she's a beautiful human. And for me, she's also a source of inspiration and youth. Because she has so much power in her and everything is so simple when working with her. We can start playing a song we have never played together before and it fits together perfectly. And all this work keeps me young because it always flows. I was playing in another band where it took 8 years to make one CD. They only worked against each other. It was like: "I don't like this, I won't play it." And it was like that the whole time. With us, there's nothing like that.

I'm old, I had played many beautiful concerts and had standing ovations, and I don't need that anymore. But she is young and she needs somebody to push her and help her. So I go back not because of any ego - that I have to be at the concert - no! I want to support her and in return, I get some of her youth. And it makes me younger as well.

picture credits: Facebook/ © Fairy Dreams

Both of you were playing in a band Cantus Lunaris. Was this the first time when you met?

Ida: "No, we met actually two years before. We met for the first time in Brescia. After one year we met in Germany and at that time we started to write to each other, becoming friends, go to the studio etc. It actually happened that we started to work with Cantus Lunaris because I was very interested in a lead singer of this band. She's called Gaby Koss and I wanted her to play in my album. So I wrote to her and I said: "Would you like to play on my CD? In this particular song? Because I wrote a song for an opera singer." And she said: "Wow! I like it very much! Why don't you come to München to meet me?" And that day when I came, she said: "Oh, I have a surprise for you! I also invited your friend Albert." So, I was like "Woow! That's great!" And we met all together there and we started working together. We also made it to the "Gothic Treffen" which is one of the most important festivals of the Gothic scene. But unfortunately our points of view were not at the same level, so we left the band but we wish them a big success without us."

Let me tell you that you two work perfectly together. The people from the audience at the Kašperk castle where you recently had the show said that when they closed their eyes, they felt like flying when listening to your music. Like the music was taking them away...

Albert: "Oh, that's nice!"

Ida: "Aww, that's exactly what we want! Albert always talks about it! He could tell you a lot about the magic of music!"

What are your plans for the future?

Ida: "In the near future, we have some concerts in Germany and Switzerland. I also plan to come with more concerts in Switzerland because that's where I live now and of course Albert would be there. I am trying to form a band for my solo project because I want to start performing my songs in a proper way - not only very acoustical but it's a bit more rock. It's not so easy - for the reasons we were talking about - most of the time there is no place or the budget is not so big. But it's my dream. My dream is to have Ida Elena on stage with a proper band. Albert, of course, will be there if he wants! And in these days I'm actually writing a musical.

Wow! Can you tell us something about this musical?

Ida: "Yes! It would be a fantasy theme musical and there will be a lot of influence of medieval music, but also from metal. Imagine something like Avantasia - but not only the musicians on the stage. A proper musical. With a story. It will be something little bit like my video Native Spirit.

Albert, do you have some other plans for the future except working with Ida?

Albert: "No." (laughing)

Let me ask you: Do you like the Czech Republic? If yes, what do you like the most?

Ida: "Oh, my God, I love it since the first moment! You know, when we met at the castle Kašperk, I had a very big problem with my eye and I thought: "Oh, tonight it's gonna be a nightmare!" But as soon as I arrived, I found loving people, always trying to help as they could. Very, very warm people, warm audience. I know that the value of the Czech koruna is not the same as the euro, but either way, the people who bought my album paid it in the same price as in euro. And this melted my heart, really. I could never imagine something like that. That's what I said to Albert: "I have a feeling I'm in Italy." The language is completely different, even though some words are very similar - fontána for example. But the warmth of the people is very similar to the Italian ones. And together with Greece, this is the first time I say something like this. I perform in a lot of different countries. But I'm used to the warmth of my people, of the Italian ones. And in this case, I don't miss it. And what can I say about Prague? I saw it yesterday for the first time in my life and I already have the feeling it's one of my favourites in Europe."

Albert: "I come here for 30 years. And there were years when I was eight or ten times in a year in Prague! I have a lot of really good friends here and I work with a lot of artists from here - different kinds of artists. I came to Prague in the socialism time and brought these artists, the musicians and knights to Germany. They got jobs from us in Germany so during the socialism time they could go to the West. And there's a really beautiful friendship with a lot of people here. When you come here in Prague, you are with wonderful people. It's unbelievable. And for me, it's not only people I like here but also the history. The castles and the city of Prague. It's really old and magical place."

Ida: "It's magical, it's true!"

Albert: "Prague is one of the most magical cities in Europe.

Ida: "You feel it. Everywhere. And yesterday I enjoyed the mirrors a lot! The Mirror Maze was amazing! I took a lot of pictures in there - very funny ones. I just saw the city from the top because I was at the Funicular and I took a lot of pictures of the Prague Castle. I hope during the next days I will see more of this beautiful city because I love European cities!"

Great! Would you like to come to Hungary as well?

Ida: "Of course! Why are you even asking?"

Albert: "I have been in Hungary. I played in Budapest a couple of times at different beautiful places. Also with Blackmore's Night."

Thank you so much for the interview! It was an honour to meet you and to talk with you!

Ida: "Thank you very much for interviewing us. It's a pleasure to be here and it's a pleasure to meet you."