Going from the parting of David Bowie to the violence in Cologne and then to the attacks in Paris. She puts her experience as a mother (now) and as a daughter (before) into her music and her eyes light up when she talks about the beauty of the place which has welcomed her these days, Foligno. Carmen Consoli has begun her new theatrical tour at the San Domenico Auditorium and it has sold out completely and it is a show of arrangements that, she considers important to note, they have been inspired by this deconsecrated church which has its own background note.
by Andra Luccioli
She explains just which note: It is an F sharp which vibrates everywhere and which is inspiring what we are writing here. Black shirt, scarf around her neck, jeans and an intense gaze just like her Sicily. Brands from the factory. Carmen Consoli begins to tell about herself starting with her music.
«I thought about three kinds of concerts. One for the big gymnasiums, contaminated by electronic sounds. The second of the group is with three women and with a hint of rock. In the end, the third, for theatres, in which we get back the arches and we add the suggestions of world music. In the end, the song remains the same forever, it is only the dress that changes».
Which one do you prefer?
«I don’t have the attitude ‘super pop’ preferring the intimacy of the theatre. And then I like discovering the places where I come to play. Like Foligno. A city which gave me the opportunity to see many beautiful things. Going back to theatres, instead, I can say that they give me the possibility to dialogue with people».
We’ve spoken about the people from Foligno. But your people: the Sicilians? The ones, I mean, for which a master like Vecchioni, recently, didn’t use sweet language.
«We are generous. In the case of immigrants, for example, no one ever tells about what the Sicilians do. It isn’t nice to see our beaches which are habitually given objects coming from the sea. Souvenirs with which we could do without. The Sicilians will get themselves into debt just to offer their hospitality. We are a people who know that humanly we can enrich ourselves thanks to the people who arrive, because diversity has value».
That one about immigrants is a touchy topic.
«For years we went abroad, think about Iraq or Afghanistan who waved the flag on democracy. These people are now asking for our help. They believed our words and now they have come to tell us: help us because we are dying».
Let’s go back to Sicily.
«It’s a land of contradictions, the land of the mafia, and which has at the same time has produced the greatest heroes from the struggle against the mafia. We have the fire from Etna and the sea. And in spite of everything, in spite of her misfortunes, Sicily lives because it is a generous land where there are many Peppino Impastatos (a giornalist of Sicily). A land which has not been given as much as it had been promised; I think of the unity of Italy. If we had had our richness and the opportunities that they had promised us, things would have been different».
What do you think of the matters of Cologne?
«There is a sub-culture that allows the stronger people to overpower the weaker. And we mothers have to educate our children to let them understand that this sub-culture is wrong. In the South, where I am from, it is the woman who commands. My father loved women. ‘You have a leg up on us men’ he would say, he was a feminist who always voted for women. He was the contrary of women who vote for men. Women don’t vote for women. So, I don’t know who it is that pushes this machismo sub-culture, but for sure, there are both men and women».
Davide Bowie has gone. Who was he for you?
«He was father to everyone, because when an artist personifies universality, it means that he is part of all of us. I am thankful for his music. He didn’t bend to the will of the public, he reconciled his creative needs with the world of pop. When I learned of his death, at the beginning I thought that it was a hoax. Then, when it was all confirmed, inside of me I had a small consolation: he is taking a beautiful journey. We are all a little bit of Ziggy Stardust and for that little that I feel, I feel that he went in peace».
You were in Paris during the attacks at the Bataclan, right?
«Yes, I was in Paris. I live just behind the Bataclan and that evening I had a fever. I went to bed and in my half-sleep I felt the machine guns. The next day I took the first flight and I came back, came back to my son. Everything frightened me. I thought: these people attacked normal people. No one is safe. So many thoughts crowded my mind. Because we citizens have to pay for the issues of those who command, who instead are sitting safely. Maybe there is something that doesn’t work in these balances. In one part of the world there is too much greediness and in the other part there is the one who straddles his dissatisfaction against the Occident, wearing the clothes of an Allah who doesn’t exist. We occidentals have to be less greedy and think that we can live in harmony».
Is your life in harmony?
«I am an equilibrist. And it is important, for me, to live in harmony. I have been able to reconcile music with the birth of my son who arrived when my father left. He knows that his mother is made of music too, he listens to my pieces and when he doesn’t like them, he tells me. I have been far from the world of music for five years. Then I began again to write, and a record has arrived. I said to myself: is there still space for me?».
We really think there is.