Each year, when Persephone returns to her beloved Sicily, Spring bursts forth as the earth and our hearts feel the movement and warmth of renewal. Spring coaxes more than the rebirth of nature; much to my delight, this Spring gave birth to a new musical collaboration. I recently had the pleasure of working with two artists on an exploration and celebration of the richness, intensity and passion of Sicily. Musician and sound-artist Michael Delia with multi-instrumentalist and composer Fabio Turchetti joined me on a concert tour of NY in early April. Together we combined ancient and new Sicilian songs with world traditions in creating an experience of voice and sounds to transport audiences to an encounter outside of place and time.
For some, this music evokes strong memories and for others, it is an introduction and welcome to an as yet unexplored culture. What connected the music to the audiences was the inherent desire expressed in each song. How much we all share the same emotions, especially the emotion of desire! How easy to understand each other when we share an emotional experience and desire is the most natural and basic of emotions. It is often considered the ‘first cause’ as it is the will which moves us and desire is said to flow inherently from the collective universe. Even the word desire originates with this definition: to wait for what the stars will bring. It is this movement of the universe about us which ignites our desires. Whether it be a yearning for freedom, for love or for joy, our playlist reflected that strongest of human emotions.
Director Mark Spano was in town with his film crew during the midst of our tour and as part of his research for his film, “Reimagining Sicily” Spano made the observation that when I sing this Sicilian music, the sound is not simply coming from one place. He said it appears, “ ..as if it is coming from your entire being.” I explained that when I sing about such strong emotions, the passion takes over and every fibre of my being must sing out.
To commemorate the launch of our work together Fabio Turchetti wrote a beautiful song called Navigando Col Vento del Sud. (Navigating by the South Wind) Each night, we dedicated it to our audience and especially to those who have chosen to travel down a different path in their lives. The song counsels those who embark on such a journey to not worry about achieving riches and success, but instead it is a wish that they may have a long journey, blessed with many mornings, touching down in many ports and visiting many places. It is a wish for their happiness and the happiness of those nearest to them. Singer songwriter Moffo Schimmenti in Polizzi Generosa translated Fabio’s Italian text into Sicilian. At the beginning of the tour, I sang the song half in Italian, half in Sicilian, but by the end of the tour I was singing it in Sicilian only. It just felt as if the song wanted to ‘go there’ perhaps guided by this ‘Vento del Sud’…
I wondered, too, if it was this ‘Vento del Sud’ that brought the three of us Fabio, Michael and myself together as we all met by chance encounters. During each performance this South Wind was cause for reflection while I sang some songs written by dear friends who themselves live navigating by the South Wind. For me , to sing a song written by a friend is a way of keeping them close to my heart, even when we are separated by a great distance. Through song, I can share the love of those friendships with the audience. I marveled at how we all meet by chance and how these encounters ennoble us and change our lives …when we travel by that South Wind…
It was such a joy to give these songs to audiences in NY in venues like Sunny’s in Brooklyn and at one of my favorite kinds of performances: an intimate house concert for Down The Street Productions, also in Brooklyn. From the world music club, Silvana’s in NYC, to the studios of MondoItaliano TV and finishing off with a grand opening party at Bella Gioia’s in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Turchetti, Delia and I shared a wild ride of music navigating by that South Wind. I hope you’ll join us on the next part of the journey when we do it again in October..
Looking forward to seeing where you will be performing in October! I’m in NYC.
Hi there! Are you still coming to NYC in October? If so, where will you be performing? I am on the Speak Sicilian site on Facebook and I would like to organize a gathering. There are probably a few of us who would like to attend. Not sure how many but I can inquire once I have more details. Grazii.
yes! We are on schedule for October-
October 10th at the College of Staten Island
October 11th at Silvana’s world music club in NYC
October 12th at The Jalopy Theatre in Brooklyn, NYC
October 18th ( afternoon) in Long Island City
We are adding more dates in Brooklyn and NYC so please visit my website http://www.michelamusolino.com to see the updates and do check back here at the Times of Sicily.
Looking forward to singing for you & your friends!
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