Mondadori 2015

Second round of conversations with Alberto Riva, this time focusing on a group of fabulous musicians.

From Gorni Kramer to Henry Purcell, from Erik Satie to Frank Zappa, a gallery of archetypes of the music world where Louis Armstrong is the rascal and Bill Evans the alchemist; a tale in which Joao Gilberto has the right to be a guru and rally the child Nino Rota and the predestined Belinda Fate to play and build sand castles, which the sea will ask them to rebuild the next day. Together, they make up a kaleidoscope of human kinds seeking freedom of expression.

First of all, freedom of speech. Does it exist? We are very good at noticing censorship in places that are far away from us in time and space. Yet we struggle to admit that here and now we are not free either. And silence on this subject is the price we pay to be accepted in the society we live in. We also operate a self-censure in art, in music. It often seems it is the audience – that entity hard to imagine and delineate – that decides how long the leash around your neck should be. But audiences delude themselves: in reality it is always the artist to decide how long the leash should be. Artists manage their own freedom. And it is a matter of talent. The talent to escape from the labyrinth in order to find yourself. As Frank Zappa did.


Formulas, even musical formulas, call spirits. I am convinced that we live among spirits even if, on a conscious level, we no longer notice it. Ancient peoples were certainly more aware of this, before their decline. Spirits are in everything that surrounds us; they are powerful catalysts and channelers of energy, and sometimes it is music that makes them suddenly perceptible.

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