Roberto Luti was born in Livorno, Italy, in 1977. He grew up hearing and listening to the blues and rock & roll records his father, a big time music lover, played in the house. Luti picked up the guitar around the age of eight, and his dad taught him the basics. He continued learning mostly on his own, loving playing the guitar and trying to match the lines and the tone of the guitar players in old blues records. As a teenager, Luti played in a few bands in the Livorno area, then at age 22, he embraced his old national steel guitar and went to the United States. He was searching for the blues and for adventure, and wanted to travel playing on the streets and living life. He went to New Orleans in September 1999 and left to Italy in 2008. He claims that New Orleans taught him a lot, about both music and life.
Luti met Playing For Change in 2002, while playing in the street of the old Big Easy. Mark wanted to come down to New Orleans to film street musicians, and needed advice about the scene in the City, so he got a number from a friend (Keb’ Mo’) of a New Orleans musician (Anders Osborne) and called it. Luti happened to be sleeping in the house and answered the phone. When Mark told him what he was up to, Luti explained that he played on the street every day. So Mark went down to the City, the two met and got along, so they kept in touch and became friends. Luti feels proud and honored to be able to help the Playing For Change cause with his music. As he explains, playing music is my life, it is how I meet friends, how I have good time, how I overcome difficulties, and how I travel and buy my bread.
These days, Luti plays both on the street, and tours with the PFC Band, a rock/blues trio called TRES, and some of his good friends from New Orleans and around the world: Niki laRosa, Luke Winslow King, Lynn Drury, Washboard Chaz. Luti also loves to be involved in other socially active musical projects such as the Caciuk Orchestra and One Eat One Band, both located in Livorno, Italy.
How we met:
8 years ago, Playing for Change started to reach out to musicians across America trying to get them involved in the project. One of the first musicians we met was Roberto Luti, who was playing on the streets of New Orleans at the time. He has been at the heart and soul of our music ever since. He performs on three of PFC’s songs around the world, including “One Love” in which his vintage National steel guitar embraces the blues gospel feel of post Katrina New Orleans.