«Assabenerica», the new single by Patrizia Laquidara: telling the Vara of Messina with world music


By John

One of Messina's most heartfelt traditions becomes a story in an engaging and refined pop musical manifesto, «Assabenerica», new single by singer-songwriter Patrizia Laquidara – Catanese by birth and Venetian by adoption – who, one year after the acclaimed autobiographical novel “Ti ho visto yesterday” (Neri Pozza), returns to tell fragments of her childhood in Messina, her father's city of origin.
Available on radio and digital via Ponderosa Music Records, written with the world champion of poetry slam Lorenzo Marangoni and the musician and composer from Messina Tony Canto, the song is a musical exorcismbetween contemporary sounds and post-modern spoken word, which portrays the traditional Vara procession, forming the first chapter of the artist's next album, inspired by stories and characters from the novel.
«The Vara is a procession to which I am very attached – says Laquidara –. I went to see it as a child and was always struck by this union of the sacred and the profane, the pagan and the Marian. For me it is the symbol of all Italian processions, of the many traditional cultures that are being lost; and it is also a great collective rite, necessary today like all rites, with the power to bring together an entire city under the votive chariot. When men and women shout “Viva Maria” it is a moment of catharsis in which a community sees itself as stronger, capable of pushing away fears while remaining united. The title of the piece is in fact a sort of magic formula.”
Musically it differs from your previous productions, characterized by folk, jazz and bossa nova. And what was Tony Canto's contribution?
«It is a piece that features electronic sounds fused with acoustic instruments and spoken word, in a style that I would define as world music, embraced by prestigious artists such as David Byrne. A year ago Tony sent me a melody which I then took and elaborated by writing the lyrics and having the arrangement taken care of by the producer Gabriel Faria, with whom we recorded the song in Lisbon. His contribution was therefore fundamental.”
The video by Marco Dodisi from Messina is also consistent with the musical story, with images of Vara and original scenes shot in symbolic places of the city…
«Those beautiful shots of the Vara conveyed to me the awareness of the place on the part of this young videomaker, who I contacted to ask him for permission to use them. He generously gave them to me for free, and I asked him if he was available to make the video. It was important for me to start from my grandparents' abandoned house in Fondo Galletta, which in the book is “The shack with the eel”, to arrive at the Passeggiata al Mare with its monumental centuries-old trees, symbol of the city and its roots, up to the last scenes on the Ganzirri beach to immortalize the beauty and poetry of the Strait, a unique landscape, both mythological and mythical, of which Pascoli wrote, after the 1908 earthquake: “Here where history is almost destroyed, poetry remains”» .
And are long-established events like the Vara and our landscape heritage valued as they deserve?
«Maybe not enough, but while shooting the video I was favorably impressed by the young people who worked with me: 25-30 year olds who made themselves available to represent this great beauty. I saw a great awareness of the ecological problem and this gave me confidence in the possibility of these young people reclaiming a city that has been suffering for too long.”
«Assabenerica» will be performed live for the first time on July 27th, at the Verucchio Festival, in the town of the same name in Rimini, where the artist will open Carmen Consoli's concert.