Interview with Paolo Angeli (September 2017)
Dear Paolo … you did it: the Carnegie Hall is waiting for you! What are your feelings about this concert?
I’m surprised and at the same time flattered. It crowns a twenty-year long counter-current search path and it hears a poetry not attributable to a specific musical genre. The fact that we have reached it with a SOLO project is an added value: this strange guitar comes in the American music temple, packed with its mechanical tools. I think it’is one of the most important confirmations of my artistic path.
But is it true that you will have to present yourself in a classic gala dress, with the necktie and no striped shirt? I ask you because it seems that Metheny was wearing a gala dress for the celebration of Steve Reich some years ago …
I confirm that I will be barefoot with a horizontal striped shirt (Russian or Breton), white and blue, with a boat neck. In this regard I wanted to ask you for information: there is a film by Alberto Sordi in which he used a beautiful red and white gondolier jersey, with a boat neck (different from the polo shirt the gondoliers are currently using). I love the Venetian line in the red variant (which I do not like in the types of mesh with narrow lines). I would like to know if there is a vintage shop where you can find that variant. At the same time, I would not mind playing with a complete similar to that used by jazzists in the ’40s! Regarding Pat, I remember that during the Grammy he went to the get his prize wearing an improbable pair of short trousers!
I promise to look for these kind of shirts asking to some gondoliers and in the specialist shops in Venice! What other places will you touch in the new tour? Will you return to Japan?
The tour begins in NY, continues between the United States and Canada and then departs to Asia (including Japan), South America, Africa and Australia. It will be a timetable that will extend between 2018 and 2019, with about 40 intercontinental concerts and the remaining 50 in Europe. TI will not miss appointments in small clubs in Italy. For me the small cultural associations operating on the peninsula represent a great wealth. I believe that for a musician the contact with the audience is very important and it is crucial to alternate large stages and theaters in places where one can find a familiarity and face concepts that need more development. For example, the sound of CSI’s Schio since 1993 (we introduced with Jon Rose, Otomo Yoshide and Stefano Zorzanello in the Budget Shopping tour). The cultural militancy of a place as such is a precious resource. In these areas, like yesterday at Scauri’s Sassolini Beach for Jazz Flirt and Jazz on Rock, there are two-hour river concerts where music breathes informally. I am looking for dialogue with the public and these environments give special emotions.
Your last tour produced Talea, how much time and effort required the production of this double cd? How did you select the material recorded during the last tour?
Selecting material for Talea was not a simple job. I started listening to about 60 concerts, then narrowing the field to compatible recordings as sound and executive intent. My way of playing is very free. Improvisation absorbs 60% of my concerts, both as a prelude material and a jumper, as well as a source of variation within compositions. If you are concerned about the length of the tracks, compared to the studio versions, it is dilated, it breathes with organicity, it allows development. I started for the World Tour with over 4 hours of composite material (taking the songs from my discography – even though S’Û and Sale Quante Basta are the work frame) and the choice about what to play was on stage. I found myself having to handle a selection that would fill a triple album and I had to trash very beautiful materials, related to the interpretation of some tessuti’s songs and compositions already created with Drake and Fukushima. I did the editing in person, with a one-day job for a month and I’m very pleased with the result. What strikes me is the immediacy that arises from the L / R recording (4 channels, resumed by the mixer and hall’s microphones).
It is a very human and direct album, perhaps the best way to get closer to the creative stage that documents the last 5 years.
Talea is not, in fact, your first solo live album. Tibi had been for me a point of arrival and turn, you had reached the maximum in what you played in that time, after that record you changed, you found more inspiration and follow other paths by creating records like Sale Quanta and S’U and collaborations like those with Hamid Drake and Fukushima … what can we expect from you after Talea?
Talea continues Tibi’s speech and looks back on a live like BUCATO. In that case the recordings (recorded in 2000) documented the embryonic phase of the creation of the first prototype. The concerts were taken from the European tours where I played with old guitar ‘Gaetano Miroglio’ guitar and with a hammerless return system (I cleary remember that at the end of the concert I had cramps). Tibi I mean is a live in half: the absence of SIAE permissions had made us record live without audience. An experiment also succeeded because the score of Nanni Angeli translated the discourse into the soundtracks and gave wonderful three-dimensional visual moments. Mixing in 5.1 represented a further front of the search (which I will resume in the future and dream of offering live).
After Talea I feel the need to orchestrate ideas by taking “Nita l’Angelo sul Trapezio” or “Dove gli Autobus dormono”. I will try to work on a studio project with many musicians, giving more emphasis to composition and arrangement. This will alternate with the creation of new prototypes to add to the guitar, to enhance the timbre wealth of the instrument. I also need lightness and lately I enjoy playing Radioehad’s music. I do not hide that a month ago I was trying to record an album where I was playing with their music. I’ve arranged a dozen songs for the taste of interpreting them. For now, I’m only playing these versions in the concerts.
What other collaborations do you have in mind? I ask you because just one year has passed since the new cd with the Piccola Orchestra Gagarin, do you intend to continue with this project? And how?
The collaboration with Iva Bittova continues and with POG we find a very patient relationship mode. It is a trio in which the cello weaves with the guitar played with the arch, creating an atmospheres chamber music. This is an exemplary work by Oriol Roca, a drummer with whom he also plays in duo and has a rare ability to dialogue.
From 4 to 10 September 2017 in Palau, the Festival Isole che Parlano is about to begin, what edition did you arrive? And what do you have in store this year?
Twenty-one years have passed since 1996 in Speaking Islands in 1996 in Piazza Fresi. The Palau. When we started the festival, it was not customary to connect experimental music and avant-garde with tradition. Our idea was that we could create a bridge between everything emotionally able to be together in the same program, apart from styles, genres, and art forms. The emotional sphere embraced music, theater, photography, art making. There were no mp3 players and what is nowadays a widespread practice, the playlists drawn by the different music genres existed in audio cassette format. We continue to believe in multidisciplinarity with joy and determination. One of the features of the festival is the childhood / teenage relationship investigated in the section “Islands Talking … to Children”, a rich didactic section with laboratories prepared for the youngest; For reportage photography, in collaboration with the Cervantes Institute, we propose A Boca Abierta, by Cristina Garcia Rodero (Magnum agency). The music section of the XXI edition unfolds between the archaeological areas (Giants of the Giants), the countryside churches, the Punta Palau Lighthouse, the natural monuments, with events also on Spargi Island, and amongst the guests we have Fantafolk & Riccardo Pittau , The trio Chili Vanilla (Norway, Iva Bittova (Czech Republic), solo and in duo with Vladimir Václavek and the duo avant-folk Xylouris White. Do not miss the profane procession in memory of Pietro Sassu and Mario Cervo along the feel Which lead to the Bear Rock, sounded by Tenor Tilariga de Bultei and Tenor Sant’Antoni de Lodé.
Paolo … with your concert at Carnegie Hall … you’ve won everything and everyone, you left Sardinia, when … decades ago with your guitar and your ideas and against everything you’ve done it: you’ve developed your own style, you have renewed from within a tradition, you have exported Sardinia music all over the world, you have brought so many artists to Sardinia with the Festival Isole che Parlano, after so much work, after so much sweat … could you say that, in your country, you have this commitment and that this talent has been been recognized?
I would say that there is no proportional response to the kind of exposure I have in the international arena. I’ll try to explain myself better. In Italy there is the post-1990 circuit where, in underground contexts, I continue to perform with joy, a hard socket of fans who often self-organize my concerts. There are also many small festivals that have a contemporary attitude similar to that of other European countries, open to programs ranging between jazz, contemporary classics, rock and traditional music. I am extremely pleased with my artistic career in Italy. But if we talk about great festivals and the programming of theaters, there is a gap. And what about if I told you that one of the most important institutional realities in Italy has offered me to play in cash? Or we continue to narrow the proposal to niche areas, and because we continue to consider it difficult as it is not attributable to a specific genre. I believe that artistic directors sometimes have a disagreement with the reality of their audience, which in my opinion is ready and prepared to digest very diverse proposals.
It’s a phenomenon that should be studied to understand the immobility of our country (Italy). There is a flurry of enviable young musicians, of undisputed quality and creativity. But they find difficult to find a circuit in which to perform. Perhaps the answer should come with a network of creative music, a systematic approach that links the different realities of the peninsula and allows greater communication between North and South Italy. If then the institutions will want to pursue so much gained.
Last question: when will you come back to Venice?
I hope very soon!
I wait for you!