Shaking up Charlotte Folk Music: Lando Pieroni

I first met sixteen-year-old Lando Pieroni at the Caribou Coffee on East Blvd. He was tall with thick brown hair and a striking smile. His fingernails were long on his left hand, short on his right so he could play his instrument: the classical guitar. His slim, kind mother had driven him there — her son didn’t have his license yet — and she sat on the other side of the coffee shop while I interviewed Pieroni about his extraordinary musical talent.

Pieroni is shaking up the mostly folk and bluegrass scene in Charlotte. While classical music is prevalent in his home country of Italy, it’s not as well known to listeners in the Queen City.

The Charlotte Folk Society has embraced his talent since he moved to Charlotte in 2011. He perfLando Pieroniormed at The Great Aunt Stella Center with the group last year and this past January. Pieroni has embraced the Society right back: he is learning how to play the banjo.

Listening to Pieroni’s musical journey made me remember when my sister Eva and I were still living at our parents’ house. She’s been a classical guitarist since age 9. I used to listen to her play gigs at Jackson’s Java while I ate free Oreo cake. I was not allowed to bring cake into her recitals where she ripped into Bach. The organizers frowned upon people eating openly in the sanctuary of churches.

Listening to her play after 11 p.m. was the best. That’s when she got into some serious flamenco guitar. The passionate chords wafted from behind her closed bedroom door, through our hallway, and into my room. I would gaze out my window as if I was a sensual flamenco dancer standing on a balcony in Spain. I would have a Maravilla rose in my hair. Not the fuzzy pink headband I was actually wearing.

In my latest article for The Charlotte Observer, you get to meet Pieroni and his inspirations. Maybe it will remind you of someone in your life who’s working on a creative dream. Or it will inspire you to dust off your old guitar. Or you’ll just go to Spain and eat Oreo cake on a balcony.

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