The solitude of the country that sleeps abandoned, the echo of a werewolf, a nature that is not only reassuring. Here it is the poem by Othello Profaziowho with «The night is beautiful in three strophes says all things. Isn’t all of Calabria there? His is the last human voice of a folk season that sang the last ones. We had also invited him to the Sponz Fest in 2014, when the edition was dedicated to the dream of the train, he had this extraordinary song, “Mannaja all’ingegneri”, because if the railway hadn’t been invented, perhaps we would never have left» . Therefore at Armonie d’Arte festival, this evening, at the concert in the Archaeological Park of Sibari, there will be a tribute to the master. There it will be inevitable, «among stones and allegories, the repertoire will dialogue with the place of the concert and memory».
Vinicio Capossela is like a long locomotive huffing in the night, like a galleon that has found the treasure while it doesn’t stop looking for it. He is conjunctures without alignment, polar and burning, a man mixed with past and future and earth, capable every time of rising up to dig the abyss.
Do you feel related to the Calabrians?
«Myths, the Mediterranean, Great Greece have always fascinated me. When I read the Odyssey as a child I seemed to hear my grandmothers, my aunts talking near the hearth, that tone, that somewhat epic sense of things, even tragic».
“Very, shamanic and double. Between the rational and the irrational. In our South there is an ancient, millenary yet ultra-localistic commonality».
What is left of that Great Greece, of that great myth?
«Beautiful stories, finished with the iPhone. There is still a mythical substratum, but now history, beliefs make other things, the sources have changed. It easily degenerates into bodybuilding, chauvinism. There is no longer the atavistic purity of the past, but there is still a story of the world that can make the world itself wider, provided you believe it, listen to it. The most profound change is in the availability of time».
The disposition to faith has also changed, what else is belief?
“That’s why we do concerts! Which should be that time when you are still willing to become gullible, a suspension of disbelief. To transport oneself, to alter oneself in one’s own perception».
The “Thirteen urgent songs”, Capossela’s latest album, released in April (and winner of the Targa Tenco 2023 for best album ever), are a single heterogeneous brood. In which time reveals all its access keys. Time at the service of the story to be told, with music that becomes onomatopoeic, which even in oppositions supports the meaning of the word.
You composed the album more than a year ago. Do you still hear those stories with the same urgency? You seem to get used to everything.
«It seems to me that they are becoming more urgent every day, there is nothing outdated, on the contrary. It got even worse. A certain voracity, the bulimia of consumption, a lack of civil participation and if it exists it is illusory, Western laxity, the habit of war».
And the reaction thresholds have lowered even further…
«When I started writing these pieces, this government didn’t yet exist, therefore a whole series of messages that always tend to lower the threshold of what is allowed even more, morally as well. Yes, the war had just begun, but there was still hope. What is he telling us this summer? The water is at the throat, the waterfalls dry up, the earth cracks, there is no air. Others can be added, but none of them has lost strength.
So the West goes to death?
«The West, in Greek, is precisely the place where the sun goes to die. There is that beautiful passage of the Odyssey where they go to the Cimmerian lands, lands where there is never any light and it is from there that Ulysses sets off. To access the realm of the dead and thus restore their memory and speech, he must bring two goats, one white and one black, and slaughter them: those nerveless shadows approach the blood, drink and almost regain their voice. Almost as if voice and word are blood, the most vital substance. I don’t know if the West goes to die, certainly in the myth the West is the direction in which things go to die».
Have you ever feared losing inspiration or, on the other hand, have you ever wished for it?
«Writing new songs is just a task that, if one can, better save it. But what is rarer is finding people willing to listen. Even if it were only one’s own audience which, if it exists, prefers the pieces it already knows while the rest, beautiful as it is, is just boring. So inspiration is a misfortune, it is desirable that it abandon us. But sometimes it happens, as has happened, that there are things that impose themselves on one’s will and that in any case always have something miraculous about them. Whether a song exists or doesn’t exist is never the same thing. To withdraw from writing is to lose an opportunity to go beyond daily death».
Is thirteen a random number or…?
«They risked being 14. But when I realized it, I said… “better stop here”. 13 follows 12, which is extreme cyclicality and order. Instead, with just one more unit, it rushes into chaos, uncertainty and everything becomes urgent. Jokes like “we didn’t want to make a cheap record”, or “one of them will betray me” come easily. The truth is that he was not wanted, he became one ».
We greet each other with his motto. “All’s well that never ends!”.