Francesco Bianconi and Malika Ayane make you feel bad, they make you feel good

If the city of Francesco Bianconi And Malika Ayane so be it because there has been a war or a pandemic, whether there is a spell behind it or just a whim, I ignore it. I know it would take Calvin to describe it as it is so thin as to be empty. I’ll try like this: two lovers wander the street in search of the little life she has left. He contemplates the things that disappear in “hallucinated streets of the city”, the concerts no longer exist and even Jesus has fled from the churches. She inspires and tells about the restaurants that are open, but only at Christmas, about the melancholy that rains every single day, about the tranquilizers, about something that has taken away meetings in clubs, discos, everything. This is a city of death, everything that makes existence meaningful, every mood, every thrill has been canceled. Yet, because of the natural grace of the song, of the elegance, of the way in which the words settle on the music, beauty can be glimpsed in this desolation.

The song is titled Lost with you, produced by Amedeo Pace of Blonde Redhead, is the first duet between Francesco Bianconi and Malika Ayane. “She is very romantic and cruel,” she says. Bianconi wrote it a year ago starting from the idea of ​​publishing two love pieces distant from the chamber song of Forever (the other, with the French Clio, will be released in May). She knew it would become a duet, she was looking for a female voice, she sent the audition to Malika Ayane because “her voice carries a wind of joy even when she sings of the blackest darkness and the deepest despair”.

The two had been chasing each other for a long time, since before Ayane published hers Malifesto and went to Sanremo 2021. You, very cool motomami but self-styled shy, even after 15 years of music she feels the latest arrival and she is not someone who comes forward, who socializes and says “hi Francesco, let’s make a song together”. She has always liked Bianconi’s music, and how. She envies him “the rare ability to bring melancholy without being heavy,” a talent she inexplicably doesn’t see in herself. “I have this thing: whatever I sing becomes sad, I hear in my voice a melancholy that embraces you and never lets you go and ends up crushing you, like a boa”. He adds that over time he has sent her various songs, but that in the end “things come true when you meet in person” and not through the publishers who suggest you write a song for this or that singer.

In the end they recorded the song and quickly too. “She called me on Monday and on Thursday she had my vocal tracks done in a couple of takes before going to Beijing” for the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics. «Singing it I felt myself even though I hadn’t written a single word. It seems the synthesis of my life in Milan during and after the pandemic. I suffered a lot this great loss of life, this privation, but it also tells the desire to be there, to exist. And then, as the parent of a fourteen-year-old who was in high school in front of a computer, I couldn’t afford to get ugly or try to escape, I had to keep myself together ».

The two, therefore, sing of a void to fill. There is in fact the void in the text of the stanzas, filled by the “lost with you” intoned in unison, when the voices and the protagonists finally meet and support each other. There is also the void musically in the light and poignant passage of the stanzas that is swept away by the rhythmic and shamelessly major refrain. It is a song that says that we are saved together. «And it is not clear whether we love each other as lost or if we are less lost because we love each other», Malika says, «in short, it is not clear whether being together is a consequence or a cause. That’s why I say she is beautiful and cruel ».

Bianconi said that Lost with you it’s “just another love song” and it’s certainly true. But it’s a love song for desperate times. The first time I listened to it, I thought for a moment that it was describing a post-war, post-atomic, perhaps post-human future. It is clear from certain references in the text that it also speaks of our present and the last two years we have lived. Not everything is revealed, indeed there remains a margin of uncertainty in the interpretation and it is a deliberate thing. Indeed, it is one of the things that make this song special which is both chronicle and universal, which makes you feel bad and makes you feel good.

«It does not speak of the pandemic», Bianconi explains, «but of the loss of meaning and value, it speaks of a world that has lost its connotations. There are so many things that make the city of the two lovers desolate. Writing it I imagined an Adam and an Eve starting anew in an empty, destroyed, abandoned city. They may be the last two humans on earth to be given the task of starting over. I was interested in conveying the hope of rebirth. And to think about it, it is appropriate that it comes out immediately after Easter ». In a certain sense, it is a resurrection song for a West that must re-establish itself, for us who “feel suspended in the void”.

Without making it too heavy, without putting too much rhetoric into it, Bianconi says that “these terrible times are a testing ground for music, even the so-called light one, to return to its primary function: to comfort and that is to make the weight of the music a little more bearable. world. Lost with you it was written to give comfort, even to myself. I hope it will make those who listen to it feel good ». It is one of those songs that convey an idea of ​​grief and relief at the same time, two feelings that Ayane in particular manages to represent in the same verse, in the same verse, in the same words. But I wonder what effect it would have had a few months ago, when the specter of the lockdown was still scary. “Better go out today,” Ayane says, “because that’s the way it is with scares: better talk about them when you have overcome them.”

Who knows what life this song will have, of which there is also an instrumental and “nocturnal” version, who knows what will happen to it in the next few days, in the next few weeks when it will mix with the other 60 thousand that will come out today. Bianconi will take her to theaters in May where she will play with the Amazing Band which includes Angelo Trabace on piano, Zevi Bordovach on harmonium, Minimoog and Mellotron, Alessandro Trabace on violin, Sebastiano de Gennaro on percussion and vibraphone, Stefano Pilia on guitar, Enrico Gabrielli to saxophones, clarinet, flute and synthesizers. “The first part will be more of a chamber as in the concerts we have already done, the second more rock ». According to the singer, it is «the most photonic band in Italy» and one can agree with him. “I also started writing songs with Rachele for the Baustelle again, I’m well taken, the phase of writing and creating a project is always beautiful”.

Ayane is focused on the levity she thinks she has lacked so far and is happy to have gotten to the point of having nothing more to prove. She didn’t have a chance to bring Malifesto on tour, so he’ll be back to do concerts in the summer, “if I remember how it’s done.” The calendar is being defined. «I feel like playing music, there will be a trombone. Not brass, just a trombone that has some crazy colors. I want a trombone who sings and then Andrea Andreoli who plays it with me is a beast ». She is also writing, “but without programs, I write with Pacifico and other author friends.” He adds of her laughing that “at this point Francesco will be kidnapped” and forced to compose something for her. When I finally ask her about the value she glimpses in Lost with you he says something perhaps naïve and out of time, but basically true: «There are the hits and then there are the songs. This is a song ».

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