Cranberries Italia: If dreams would come true

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Loredana Cramarossa and Paolo Catena of Cranberries Italia with The Cranberries on tour in Bologna in 2002

The Limerick Post chatted with Paolo Catena and Loredana Cramarossa from Cranberries Italia who visited Limerick and raised funds for Limerick Learning Hub with a tribute show in Rome.

THE passing of Dolores O’Riordan in January sent shockwaves throughout the world, leaving music fans across the globe devastated by the loss. The Italian based Cranberries fan group Cranberries Italia held a tribute concert in Rome on St. Patrick’s Day. More than that, the group wanted to make a special connection with Limerick and used the concert to raise funds for a Limerick Learning Hub Songwriting Workshop in memory of Dolores.

The concert and fundraising drive by the volunteer led Cranberries Italia raised €2,000 for the project and Paolo and Loredana from Cranberries Italia visited Limerick for the recent I Heart The Cranberries show in Dolan’s in July.

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The fan site Cranberriesitalia was founded in 2001. It was the first Italian website officially recognised by The Cranberries and their record company. Since then the website, which is a not-for-profit fan club, and their social media presence are points of reference for all the Italian fans of The Cranberries, The Facebook Page has 1300 fans that passionately and continuously support and promote the band, committing themselves in updating news and organising new initiatives.

Cranberries Italia organised two meet and greets for fans in 2001 at concerts in Bologna and Milan. Other opportunities to connect with the band came from TV shows like Top Of The Pops, the Christmas Concert in Vatican, London Live, Sanremo festival and MTV Supersonic.

A successful collaboration between the group and the record companies Universal Music Italia, MCA Records, Edel Italia and BMG, allowed to the team to grow up and be a meeting point – not only virtual – for the fans, explains Paolo Catena founder of Cranberries Italia.

These collaborations extended to screenings of the film ‘Evilenko’ which featured O’Riordan on the soundtrack, and a photo exhibition called ‘Taken by Storm’ in collaboration with Media Contemporary Arts of London. This was dedicated to the artworks of Storm Thorgerson (who designed album covers Bury The Hatchet and Wake Up and Smell The Coffee as well as LPs for Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin).

Cranberries Italia managed five Fan Meetings across Italy, bringing fans together and promoting the Irish band.

The most recent project undertaken by Cranberries Italia led to The Limerick Music Hub benefitting from the music fans generosity.

“This year, due to the tragic passing away of Dolores in January, we decided to realise a project for funding some music workshops at the Learning Hub Limerick, an educational hub which is very important for the town that gave birth to The Cranberries.
“The project called #italialoveslimerick was dedicated to the memory of Dolores O’Riordan, We strongly wanted to do it for the great connection between Italia and Limerick, the hometown of the band.”

Limerick Post: Why did you want to travel to Limerick?
Paolo Catena: “For every Cranberries fan, Limerick means Cranberries. This is why every fan wants to visit it, to understand what this city has of so special for making it possible to create a unique band like The Cranberries. And then you also want to visit other places. Just to name a few – Ballybricken, Kilmallock, Dunquin, Dublin – or the sites related to the videos of the band’s songs. This allows you also to visit Ireland, a truly unique land full of history and beautiful landscapes. And then how extraordinary are the people we have been lucky enough to know!”

Cranberries Italia visit Limerick Learning Hub in July 2018

LP: What was the highlights of your journey to Limerick?
Paolo Catena: “We went to Limerick as guests to the #italialoveslimerick project of the Learning Hub and it was a really exciting experience. We met Jennifer Moroney-Ward and James Blake in person, after months spent exchanging emails and video calls.
“We understood how important the work they do in this centre that is really a fundamental meeting point for the youth of the city.
“Also on this occasion we had the chance to meet Niall Quinn who together with Noel, Mike and Fergal, formed the band The Cranberry Saw Us, which later became The Cranberries with Dolores taking his place. Niall took us around Limerick, letting us know the places where the Cranberries grew up and developed their sound, and this was certainly a really unexpected surprise that made this trip truly unique.
“Then the ‘I Heart The Cranberries’ gig in Dolan’s was the other highlight that we will never forget. A wonderful evening where we could meet a lot of Cranberries fans from all over Europe which brought us closer to Dolores’ soul, including the marvellous artists that played on the stage and organised everything.”

LP: When did you FIRST hear of The Cranberries?

Paolo Catena:: “Personally I heard the first time of the Cranberries listening to a tape, in 1993, where songs like Pretty and Sunday, from the first album, were recorded. Since that moment I began to listen to their music without stopping never.

Loredana Cramarossa: in the early 1994 I was amazed by the video “Dreams” which was broadcasted on an Italian TV channel called Video Music. I suddenly fell in love with Ireland and the incredible sound of the Cranberries along with the wonderful voice of Dolores.
“Then I desperately looked for each information about the band and found an advertising in a free press indie magazine at the college I attended. It was about the first gigs dates in Italy which unfortunately I was not able to participate.
“So I asked to my little sister, visiting Ireland as student that year, to buy all the CDs she could find there. And she came back with the first two albums and some CDs and vinyl singles…”

LP: What do you like about The Cranberries: the music, the lyrics, the voice?
Paolo Catena: “We think it’s really hard for fans to distinguish the three things. As regards the band that you have been following with passion for over 25 years, everything plays a fundamental role. It is the same alchemy created by the band that makes it particularly unique to the eyes and ears of the fans. A sound that is immediately recognisable, combined with never banal but intense lyrics with peaks of great emotion and intensity, to be then completed by a voice that can only fascinate and enchant. The loss of Dolores was a great tragedy especially for the world of music that has lost a truly unique interpreter.”

LP: What Cranberries collector’s items does your group have?
Paolo Catena: “Following The Cranberries for over 25 years has allowed us to create a very rich and important collection: several hundred CDs, many dozens of vinyls, dozens of posters, many Italian and foreign magazines, with interviews with the bands and album reviews, a wide collection of audio/ video material with recordings of the band’s participation in radio and television broadcasts, and lots of gadgets. A vast collection of clippings from newspaper articles, magazines and any kind of paper edition with material regarding the band or every single member.

“An important collection of photographs with material collected mainly thanks to the fans, but also thanks to professional photographers from Italy and abroad. The material is so much that, at the gatherings we organise, it is always difficult to choose something to be exposed.

LP: What are your dreams for Cranberries Italia in the future?
Paolo Catena: “Clearly the future of this team is linked to the future of the band, to what Noel, Mike and Fergal will decide to do after all that has happened. We know that the release of a new album is scheduled at the beginning of 2019 with the latest songs recorded by Dolores, so we will be committed as usual, promoting the album and concerts if there will be any.

“Then we will try to make stronger the connection we have just created with Limerick. As early as next Autumn there will be a new collaboration with the Learning Hub to fund the second part of the music workshops, started this summer.
“In addition we are trying to create here in Italy an exhibition dedicated to the band, using our private collection and trying to involve also Maurizio Di Bona, aka TheHand, an Italian illustrator who collaborated with the Cranberries for the designs of some official merchandisings.
“Over the years he drew many artworks on Dolores and The Cranberries and he is organising a solo exhibition in Limerick, at which we will take part as collaborators.
“And then, the last journey, running ‘The Cranberries’ places’ in Limerick, gave us the idea to create in collaboration with the citizens of Limerick a sort of guided tour of the city that can lead the band’s fans to visit the places related to The Cranberries, like the one made in Liverpool for the Beatles.

“Who knows if dreams would come true…”