Big Big Train has recruited Alberto Bravin as lead vocalist following the tragic death of David Longdon in November 2021.
Based in Trieste in Italy, Bravin’s career includes performing around 200 shows with progressive rock legends PFM between 2015 and January 2022, both in Italy and internationally, singing lead and backing vocals and playing keyboards.
Alberto Bravin says: “I am extremely honored to have the opportunity to join Big Big Train. I was already a huge BBT fan and am looking forward to play my part in taking this great band forward while also honoring the memory of David Longdon.”
Big Big Train bassist and founder Gregory Spawton comments: “Before Covid-19 hit, Nick D’Virgilio and I had both seen Alberto perform with PFM. We were very impressed with his abilities as a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist and therefore approached him earlier this year.
“We know that David is irreplaceable and we miss him deeply both musically and personally,” Spawton continues. “We were very clear that we didn’t want to bring someone into the band who would seek to mimic David; that just felt fundamentally wrong. Instead, we wanted someone who could do justice with their own musical skills and personality to the songs that David sang for Big Big Train as well as being able to help to drive the band forwards. From his first audition singing some BBT classic songs and subsequently his work on some new material that we’re working on, we’re confident that we’ve found the right person in Alberto.”
“Aside from Alberto’s great voice and all-around musical skills, it was also vital for us to find the right personal fit, particularly after being struck with David’s sudden death,” drummer Nick D’Virgilio comments. “We flew Alberto to London several weeks ago so we could hang together for a few days and the chemistry immediately felt right.”
About Alberto Bravin
Alberto was born in Trieste, on Italy’s north-eastern border with Slovenia.
His involvement in music began at the age of three when he started taking piano lessons. Later on, he developed an interest in electronic keyboards and synthesizers and this paved the way for his love of progressive rock music.
At the age of 17, Alberto began studying opera singing at the Trieste Conservatory and after a couple of years, he moved to London where he graduated in modern singing. Alongside his singing and piano playing, Alberto is also a self-taught guitarist, bassist, and drummer.
After his studies in London, Alberto returned to Trieste where he opened his own recording studios (Echoes Recording Studios) and released two albums (Sinestesia and The Day After Flower) with his band Sinestesia (featuring Alberto, Roby De Micheli, Alessandro Sala, and Paolo Marchesich of Rhapsody Of Fire). Both albums were produced by Franz Di Cioccio of Italian progressive rock legends PFM – Premiata Forneria Marconi. Alberto also recorded and mixed Rhapsody Of Fire’s eleventh album, 2016’s Into The Legend.
In 2015 Alberto joined PFM (alongside Marco Sfogli) as a singer and additional guitarist and keyboard player. With PFM he played around 200 shows, both in Italy and worldwide, and released two albums (2017’s Emotional Tattoos and 2021’s I Dreamed Of Electric Sheep). Alberto is a Beatles fanatic and at the same time a progressive rock and metal aficionado.
Big Big Train is pleased to confirm that their two previously announced UK shows in September 2022 will take place. In addition, the band has scheduled six further shows for September in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and France.
Keyboardist/vocalist Carly Bryant is unable to tour with the band in September 2022 for family reasons. “After over two years of being part of Big Big Train and involved in two studio albums, I was extremely keen to go on the road with the band. However a recent change in my family situation means that sadly I cannot be away from home in the autumn,” Bryant explains. “I love being part of BBT and will be on stage with the band at the earliest opportunity when my family commitments permit.”
Alongside Bravin, D’Virgilio, Spawton, and longstanding guitarist Rikard Sjöblom, the Big Big Train line-up for the September 2022 shows will consist of guitarist Dave Foster, violinist/vocalist Clare Lindley, keyboardist Oskar Holldorff and the Big Big Train brass section led by Dave Desmond. Holldorff leads Norwegian band Dim Gray, whose debut album Flown was much acclaimed last year and who are preparing to release their second album later this year.
“Oskar came to our attention from his work with Dim Gray and is another tremendous talent to involve in Big Big Train,” Sjöblom says. “We’re very grateful to him for stepping in while Carly is unavailable. It’s also exciting that Big Big Train is becoming an increasingly international band – in September we will have an American, a Swede, an Italian, and a Norwegian on stage with the Brits.”
During the September tour, Big Big Train will be playing material from various stages of their career and also one new song.
“We were originally scheduled to play live shows in spring 2020 but then Covid-19 derailed our live plans repeatedly and since then we’ve prepared numerous different setlists,” Sjöblom continues. “We’ve released two full albums since we last played live and are spoilt for choice with the setlist for September.”
“In addition to our UK shows, I’m really looking forward to getting back into continental Europe,” D’Virgilio adds. “As well as visiting the prog strongholds of the Boerderij and Z7, we thought it would be cool to play some smaller venues in France and Germany as we re-establish BBT as a live band. We can’t wait to get out and play again and show what this band can do!”