June 18, 2011 Donald Braswell II announced his new album, Unchained, at Barnes and Noble at The Shops at La Cantera, (15900 La Cantera Parkway, Bldg 27, San Antonio, TX 78256) where he performed a benefit for NESA (North East School of the Arts). 14 years ago Lee High School adopted the NESA magnet program for gifted arts students and turned one of the state’s most trouble schools into one of the top high schools in Texas, where students come in droves to enroll and 99.9 percent of the graduates go onto college. The grads from NESA each year earn millions of dollars in scholarships. Many past students have successful careers on Broadway, film, and television. The school is quickly becoming THE high school to attend in Texas if you are interested in the Arts.
In the poor economy NESA is in danger of losing it public funding, due to state budget shortfalls. One reason the school is so successful is the teacher/student ratio, which is much higher and more expensive than other schools. Being an entertainer, Braswell sees the value the NESA program provides and wants to help the school continue to stay afloat. Barnes and Noble donated a portion of sales during the event weekend. Two new NESA students. They were all accompanied by composer Anthony Bazzani on keyboard and Jean-Philippe Rominger on acoustical guitar.
The day also fell during the weekend of the Boerne High School Class of ’81 thirtieth class reunion, the same class in which Donald and his wife Julie graduated. The Barnes and Noble event was one of the scheduled activities for the weekend. Many Alumni were in attendance to hear their classmate and to catch up on old times afterward.
Braswell took the opportunity to announce his upcoming new album, Unchained. His concert was a compilation of songs from the new album and his previous album, We Fall and We Rise Again (an album of mostly original compositions). Unchained gives listeners cover-song gems of old standards and introduces them to other tunes they may not have known before. The album is the second produced by Braswell/Bazzani Music Group, the partnership of Braswell and composer/arranger Anthony Bazzani. Bazzani created all the musical arrangements. The selections show Braswell’s versatility and linguistic skills:
1. “Notte di luce” / “Nights in White Satin” Braswell sings an English/Italian version of the classic by Justin Hayward and Italian lyrics by Mario Frangoulis.
2. “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Jeff Silbar & Larry Henley, which was the theme to the Bette Midler movie Beaches.
3. “Cinema Paradiso (Se)” music from the film Cinema Paradiso composed by Ennio Morricone.
4. “Unchained Melody” by Alex North, lyrics by Hy Zaret, from the film Unchained. Braswell first performed this in the America’s Got Talent concert in Las Vegas and it has become a fan favorite.
5. “Sway” – (original compsition “¿Quién será?”) by Pablo Beltrán Ruiz, English lyrics by Norman Gimbel. This Dean Martin standard is another fan favorite that Braswell shows his dance moves in concert.
6. “Sogno” music by Giuseppe Vessicchio; lyrics by Giuseppe Francesco Servillo. A beautiful Italian crossover pop number.
7. “Caruso” the Italian song dedicated to the famous tenor by Lucio Dalla.
8. “You Raise Me Up” music Rolf Løvland and lyrics by Brendan Graham. This was Braswell’s audition song and finale song on America’s Got Talent in 2008 and, for many, is his signature song.
9. “Rosa”, a beautiful Spanish love song by Augustin Lara.
10. ”Here’s to the Heroes” music John Barry and lyrics Mario Frangoulis
11. ”Nature Boy” by Eden Ahbez. Braswell grew up loving the Nat King Cole version of this. Others will remember this from the movie Moulin Rouge.
12. Time to say Goodbye (Orig composition “Con te partirò”) music by Francesco Sartori and lyrics by Lucio Quantotto. Another popular Italian/English crossover pop song.
The new album has been recorded and will be available shortly. Watch Donald Braswell’s website for details.
To book Donald Braswell or Gli Unici contact [email protected] For details on upcoming Donald Braswell II and Gli Unici concerts, go to www.donaldbraswell.com. To keep up with his special activities, join the Donald Braswell Fan Club at www.donaldbraswellfanclub.org. They also have a Facebook presence: Donald Braswell Facebook Page; Donald Braswell Fan Club Facebook Page. Braswell is a 10-star listing on Classical-Crossover.co.uk artists and numerous videos can be seen on YouTube.