World’s top songwriters come together to fulfil late Dunstable dad’s dying wish

The song hit number 3 within 24 hours of release

By Bev Creagh
Friday, 17th June 2022, 2:22 pm
Updated Friday, 17th June 2022, 3:28 pm
Riccardo with wife Zdena and their daughter Valentina
Riccardo with wife Zdena and their daughter Valentina

Grieving widow Zdena is hoping that The Sea Carries Away My Tears will hit the Number One spot in the UKiTunes chart.

The song was one of the last written by Dunstable singer/songwriter Riccardo Criscenti before he died of a heart attack in January, after contracting Covid.

The demo disc he made has been lovingly rebuilt and re-recorded by his friends at the world famous The Songwriting Academy so that his lifelong dream of reaching out to the world through his music could be fulfilled.

Slovakian-born architect Zdena is struggling with mixed emotions as she listens to the song with their six-year-old daughter Valentina.

"I feel excited and sad at the same time,” she explains. “I’m so happy that it reached Number Three within 24 hours of being released. He was an absolute perfectionist and this was his dream.

"But I’m so sad that he isn’t here to share this achievement.

"I’m still very raw. He was always there when I needed him, he was very much a family man.

"He was so full of life, so charming, so funny. He cheered people up and brought them together. He’d help anyone – they didn’t even have to ask. He had a big heart and a massive smile.”

The couple met online 12 years ago and married three years ago. He died on their wedding anniversary.

"Valentina has been through a lot in her short life,” Zdena says. “One minute she’s playing with a friend, and the next she’s really upset.

"It's been a difficult time for both of us. Rick’s birthday was earlier this month and there’s also Father’s Day.”

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But she’s putting on a brave face and doing all she can to promote The Sea Carries Away my Tears.

"We've been blessed with all the lovely people at The Songwriting Academy,” she says. “They worked with Rick on his music and as he always said: ‘I need just one song.’

“And it’s happened, thanks to Martin Sutton and his team.”

Martin – the Academy’s founder and director – describes Rick as “a total character. A lively, positive and very funny man who was passionate about his music and an absolute joy to spend time with.

"He was loved by the students and the mentors at the Academy and deserved a real shot at his lifelong dream – to reach out to the world with his songs.

"Music is about community, people and love so this was the most fitting tribute we could possibly do for him and his family.”

All proceeds from the single’s sales will go directly to his young family.

Rick, who was of mixed Sicillian and English descent, was born in Watford. He and Zdena lived in Hemel Hempstead before moving to Dunstable in 2018.

Four years earlier, he’d given up his job selling golf attire to concentrate on a career in music.

He started entertaining old folk in care homes and the work poured in. He also sang for youngsters with learning difficulties and played in an eight-piece band.

> You can buy The Sea Carries Away my Tears on iTunes or Amazon.