Giovanna Marini is one of the most important voices in the world of popular music of our country. Since the early sixties was devoted to the study, the collection and revival of music by oral tradition, working with many researchers and scholars. Her path is tied hand in glove with the expressions of oral tradition – which investigated through many repertoires of many Italian areas – and the composition. Among his most important experiences we remember the vocal quartet, founded in 1976, which have been part Patrizia Nasini, Patrizia Bovi and Francesca Breschi. During her long career she has produced numerous albums and has recently come out for editions Finisterre “Italy far and wide”, the title of a show of the same name that Giovanna and Francesca Breschi represent this evening at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome. The show and the album release was the reason why we contacted and asked to speak to her current projects. From the conversation that follows shows the profile of an artist in full swing, the activity of which, as always, contains different interests and achievements. As you will read in these lines, Giovanna manages to blend with balance its many inspirations and above the many elements that affect: Pasolini from the traditional song, the Passions to writing music, the teaching – that sees engaged in two schools – concert activity.
Giovanna, we take advantage of your concert scheduled for tonight at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome to discuss the projects you’re working on at this time.
This to me is a very lively year. At one point I said to myself, “I am old, I do not do anything, it ends up that I do nothing. But I get bored …” So I invented a job. I teach at two schools, Monteporzio and Testaccio, so in fact I would not have time to get bored, on the contrary I’m also tired. But I enjoy teaching, I like it. These trips I do with my students are hilarious. It’s all life and I’m happy. But you know I like to write music, and then I invented to do something. Since with Giuseppe Bertolucci often talked of the Dialogues of the Carmelites, who has something very interesting to me. And I did not understand what it was. I knew writing this thing. And Giovanni had thought to see him again, because he had already made one box of the Carmelites. And Giovanni died, and there I thought more. Later I spoke with those of Angelica Bologna (international exhibition of contemporary music and record label, Ed) and I suggested: “Look, without paying me, because then I know that money is not any, to I must write this, you interested? “, and “Yes, we are interested very much”. Then I started to write this score. I had never been to invent a job! Soon after came a real job. So I had to do some things at the same time. I finished this work on Carmelite – that I actually ended recently, because then with time it grew and became a cantata on martyrdom, a cantata on big, important themes – and now they are trying to Bologna, where sometimes I go to follow them. Meanwhile I called Antonio Calbi, the director of the Theatre of Rome, and says “Look, why do not you make a beautiful sung, or something of Pasolini…” So, I figured, I left in the fourth with that! So I have a little ‘fished out the things I had already written, but I’ve come up with an idea. I had also set to music the Ashes of Gramsci and I remembered that in the fourth canto Pasolini says one thing that really struck me: the scandal – he calls it the scandal – to find myself often with me and against me. That is, he points out this contradiction in itself, and it’s nice that his way of speaking, to use, as usual, words that strike. Then I thought of staging this thing and I thought to stage a cantata well done: a high stage of a reader reads one of the Lutheran letters, one that speaks unhappy of young people. And, on the other hand, a choral group that converses with the reader and stops constantly with chants of Pasolini, who are beautiful. So against this letter, explained by a very critical analysis, very averse to young people, this chorus constantly interrupts with the songs of Pasolini, who are not analytical songs, are full of joy, love, memories, melancholy , country, mom, of all things that he does not say in the Lutheran letters. And then there is the contrast between the text of these poems of the best youth, who are among the most beautiful things I wrote in Friulian – then there is also a contrast of language, a contrast of way to be, because in these he is young, sweet and carefree – and the letters, in which he is a young bitter. And this contrast arrives to the end, that is, up to the extreme. Eventually I close everything with a song of a Friulian, which has the youthful age of Pasolini, has many more years, and has written now. And I think, perhaps, Pasolini would have agreed. The title of the song in Italian means “it’s all in vain”: you are born, you die, you work, you cut the trees, pull up children, bring them to school, you buy a car, buy another to pay the other, it sells another … so you work to eat … and always the chorus repeats “it’s useless, it’s all in vain,” except – he says at the end of the poem – a knowledge of things, how to know know, know to teach, that is have the joy of teaching. Knowledge in the sense of appreciating: know the trees, know the machines … then somehow re-evaluating the role of conscience of man, that seems lost. So that I loved it and I put it at the end of all this cantata which will be called “I’m Pasolini”. And now that I am May 18 at the Teatro Argenitina out the “Te Deum for a friend”, that is to the Carmelites. Childbirth Carmelites and then start to talk about the world of immigrants, intellectuals Turin and Naples who have sided at the end of 1700, against the power, because they had heard that there was a revolution in France and wanted to do it in Italy. And were wrong, so much so that all were guillotined. So it’s a whole host of martyrs, one after another, and you get to the workers, the weavers, the weeders. All victims. There are cases of various types, but always accompanied by a score. They enter these songs and below is the song of the Carmelites, which also have their own decided to die. In the midst of all these songs of claim and therefore also of hope. So I find myself with this coming out May 18 Argentina, then in June we make a closing concert of the season of Argentina with my course of the School of Testaccio, which now consists of people that follow me for twenty years, then in October we again “I’m Pasolini” at the Teatro India in Rome for a week. So are taken from all these things and, on the one hand, I feel like it’s swan song, because soon I make eighty years, and on the other hand keep me alive.
And as for the concert “Italy far and wide”, scheduled tonight Saturday, March 7 at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome?
You also know this concert is an addition. I met, and I was pleased to know, Vinicio Capossela, who invited me and Francesca Breschi to sing in Calitri, on the occasion of the festival he organizes in Irpinia. We went and we did the concert that we represent the Auditorium. As loved and liked even Vinicio – because then no one really listens to these things – we decided to propose it again. And you know why no one listens to these things? Why are partly cantatas that I wrote from ’67 to the early eighties. Are long ballads, which, apart from The Ballad of America, tell many things in Italy. So we decided to sing them. They are pieces that are basically unknown. No one knows, except for some rare connoisseur of my things.
This show has the same title as the album published by Finisterre?
Yes it’s Italy in length and breadth.
Regarding the show, we could talk about how it performs or how it is organized. You spoke of the contents, can we talk about the way in which will be proposed?
At the show I invited women of Giulianello, I’ve known for years, ever since I heard them sing the Passion, which is a beautiful thing, in ’68. I have always remained attached to them because they make me feel and understand many things. Cleofe, who is no more, he told me at one point: “You know why we do not sing more the Passion? Because there is more. We entered a new city, we all scattered, before we were in the country, joined together, we worked together in the fields. Now here the fields are gone. The Passion Week we bore plugs to the Baroness, where the plugs are now?” And so it goes. So she said, “Now you have to sing it in the theater”. And I asked her, “but why in the theater?”. And she told me, “Why Jesus Christ be represented”. And this sentence impressed me a lot. Indeed their Passion ends with “And Jesus Christ is represented”. It is very beautiful this thing. She had missed the fact that the tradition could pass without too many shocks in theater. That is, bring the tradition in theater, because it becomes a spectacular fact. In fact unites the ritual function, because the theater is a spectacle and the show is the reality. Teaches the reality and can teach even the imagined reality, the imagination of a mind, which is always to be a reality, it is reality. So you are correct when you say that the tradition now no longer has a role here, but it must be represented in the theater, because then takes on another function: to make known things to people. And she was right. I really liked this speech. Now there is her sister, Lalla, who ninety-three years but continues to sing with a formidable voice. And I’ll bring with me, because I love them and bring us luck. Will be attending the show Auditorium and sing, at first, some of their songs. Then Francesca and I continue with these pieces on Italy in length and breadth. Then there is a beautiful song that brought Francesca, an improvisation between Tuscan aristocrat and a commoner, who had collected Caterina Bueno.
In eighth rhyme?
Yes. These are the things that we sing and make up the show. Then the story for the first time that pieces like “The trains to Reggio Calabria” had to be “The Ballad of the process”. The process had to be called to the Palace, because I was doing at the time occasionally met Pasolini. We were together with the demonstration of June 15, 1975. He was there to make his explanation of vote, because they were his friends in Rome who had a little ‘won his friendship. And then Pasolini came with us to make the declaration of vote. I sang Reggio Calabria and when I finished he said, “I liked this right” and then Boria which was nearby began to say “by writing something for the Marini?” Then he said “I have to leave now, if you want to feel when I get there”. So not just said “I write something for you”, but said “two words can be found and put in music”. I was profuse in thanks, but then it did not happen because he died in November. So I then wrote Lament for the Death of Pasolini. And in those parts was Reggio Calabria, Have patience, Trumpets, Earthquake urban. It had to be a single sung you would call Process to the Palace. This title was what Pasolini often gave his articles in the Corriere della Sera, those Friday. So even for this cantata is directed to work with Pasolini. Work “with” Pasolini you absolutely can not say, do not emphasize because it was not so. He said two words and nothing else, but hit me. When he told me the two words I remember… I remember them yet!
You will turn with this show?
If they call us, gladly. Put half my age, which at this point becomes a bit ‘a nuisance. I get tired of the travel, not the concerto and even songs.
This article is available also in: Italian