• Wed. Oct 27th, 2021

Battiato: between avant-garde and successes, his music was a ‘cure’

Byeditorial

May 18, 2021

Definitely, a ‘special being’; his illness, unfortunately, did not find the ‘cure’ that could prevent him from leaving the world this morning at the age of 76. To say that the world of music and culture suffer a very strong loss with the death of Franco Battiato is not rhetorical: the Sicilian singer-songwriter, with the melodies and lyrics of his songs, has undoubtedly left an unbridgeable void, due to the uniqueness of his artistic share. He was born on 23 March 1945 in Jonia and already the place of his birth is symptomatically Pirandello, as it ‘exists’ as such only for six years, from 28 December 1939 to 25 October 1945, the very year of his birth. when Francesco (later artistically called Franco, on the suggestion of another great Francesco: Guccini …) was just seven months old: first it was the municipality of Giarre-Riposto, in the province of Catania, established during Fascism with the reunification of two distinct municipalities of Giarre and Riposto, on the slopes of Etna, which in turn had divided in 1841. “The volcano gives and the volcano takes”, say the Sicilians: and so under the Battiato volcano it also died out, in his home in Milo. He had long since left the public scene, due to an illness, retiring to his ‘hermitage’ on the slopes of Etna. And perhaps his most beautiful verses, those contained in the song ‘La Cura’, immediately return to mind today: ‘You will recover from all diseases, because you are a special being and I will take care of you …’. But the successes signed by Franco Battiato, often based on texts by the philosopher Manlio Sgalambro and accompanied by the violin of Giusto Pio, interpreted by himself, some also in Sicilian dialect, or entrusted to ‘icon’ artists of his production, such as Giuni Russo or Alice , or to performers of the caliber of Carmen Consoli or Milva, who preceded him by a few days in his death, almost countless. ‘La voce del padrone’ climbs the charts and consecrates its popularity The album that moved its production from ‘avant-garde to pop author, but always with refined texts and rich in philosophical and esoteric quotes, was’ The era of the white boar’ of 1979 which also contains his most famous dialect song, ‘Stranizza d’amuri’, which ‘Patriots’ will follow. The work that consecrated him to success no longer as a ‘niche’ but with the general public was ‘The master’s voice’ in 1981, which climbs the record charts with songs such as ‘Permanent center of gravity’, ‘Bandiera Bianca’, ‘Cuccurucucù’ , ‘Summer on a solitary beach’. From that moment on, Battiato’s successes have continued regularly, such as ‘I want to see you dance’ – later reprized also in a disco version – in the album ‘Arca di Noé’; ‘The season of love’ in ‘Lost Horizons’; ‘The trains of Tozeur’ paired with Alice for the Eurovision in the album ‘Mondi faranissimi’ together with ‘No time no space’, ‘L’animale’ and the reprise of ‘The king of the world’; ‘And I come to look for you’ in ‘Physiognomy’. Many hits are then repeated in the first ‘live’ album entitled ‘Giubbe rossa’ which also contains ‘Alexander Platz’ composed for the voice of Milva. Another milestone of his artistic production, a ‘political’ text in the fullest sense of the word and of the denunciation, is ‘Povera Patria’ in the album ‘Like a camel in a gutter’; followed in ‘Caffé de la Paix’ songs such as ‘Praise to the inviolate’ or ‘Atlantide’ with the experimentation of new sounds. His collaboration with the Sicilian philosopher Manlio Sgalambro began in 1994 and the result of this artistic and literary understanding translates into jewels of refinement such as’ The umbrella and the sewing machine ‘and then in his masterpiece,’ La cura ‘in 1997.From’ Cura ‘to’ Fleurs’ for De André for whom he cried in the farewell concert After a period marked by the return to avant-garde music, his’ Fleurs’ see him engaged in a tribute to other top artists of the Italian songwriter, first of all Fabrizio De André with ‘The song of lost love’ and ‘Love that comes, love that you go’ – Battiato will pay homage to the figure of Faber also in the concert with other Italian artists, in which he will manage to hold back his emotion by singing his own song – and international as for ‘The song of old lovers’ by Jacques Brel; and with the single in duet with Carmen Consoli ‘All the universe obeys love’. At the end of 2019 the announcement of his retirement from the scene. We would have liked so much to ‘heal him from all diseases’ because he was truly ‘a special being’ and now it will not be easy to ‘relieve us of pain’ and ‘save us from all melancholy’ … For many, his music was truly a ‘cure’ . (by Enzo Bonaiuto)

One thought on “Battiato: between avant-garde and successes, his music was a ‘cure’”
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