INTERVIEW: LOUIS DONNARUMMA IS BACK WITH GRACE: THE SONGS OF JEFF BUCKLEY

After a sell-out 2016 season, Donnarumma (pronounced Donna-room-ah) are back at this year’s Adelaide Fringe with Grace: The Songs of Jeff Buckley. It is a show I know a lot of die-hard Buckley fans are keen to see, which might be daunting for some, but lead singer (and band namesake) Louis Donnarumma is up for the challenge.

First appearing at the Adelaide Fringe with his own band in 2015, Donnarumma wanted to do something different for the festival in 2016. “I realised that a lot of people were doing tribute shows and people love that… I think it was my Dad that had the original idea. I wanted to do something like Damien Rice who is also a big influence but then Dad suggested [Buckley] and I thought not many people do Jeff Buckley tribute shows.”

“It was daunting especially last year after we saw how many tickets were sold, you know, you have to perform well and you have to pull it off.”

Donnarumma structured the show how he imagined Buckley would structure his set-list. He researched how Buckley would perform live. Buckley would meld songs together at times, turning them into one seamless epic and Donnarumma have taken note. Pulling largely from Buckley’s only studio album Grace, this year Donnarumma will incorporate more songs from Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk, the unfinished Buckley album released posthumously in 1998.

“There’s a lot of high energy songs and some that will make the mood kinda mellow… It’s kind of like a roller-coaster, there are lots of highs and lows of the night.”

Donnarumma got into music through drumming, which he started in Year 6. His Dad also taught him a few chords on guitar and his Auntie was always playing music. From there he learned bass and as a teen taught himself to sing and play guitar. The first song he taught himself to play was “Time of Your Life” by Green Day in his bedroom and since then his musical interests are always changing. Current influences include Arcade Fire, Jack White and Nina Simone.

“I really like a lot of different of music which is the reason why I like Jeff Buckley as well, because he can do so many other different things and I can appreciate and love all the different styles that he does.”

The other members of Donnarumma’s band are Django Rowe (guitar), Anthony Costanzo (bass) Max Tulysewski (drums). Together they have been working on an EP of originals which is due for release around winter this year. The band will tour on the back of it around the east coast and some festivals later in the year.

Grace: The Songs of Jeff Buckley consists of two 45 minute sets so the band can fit in all the new songs they have learnt. With only four shows to see, don’t be like me last year and miss out on seeing this local band pay homage to a lost and revered musical legend.

Pick up your tickets to Grace: The Songs of Jeff Buckley which plays on February 18 and March 18 & 19 at the Grace Emily HERE

Pick up your tickets to the February 24 gig at Jive HERE

See more of Donnarumma at their socials: Facebook, Instagram

By Josh van’t Padje