April 27, 2022 – 06:54
The singer-songwriter tells his story by presenting the new album: “Young people are as curious as Ulysses”
from Caterina Ruggi D’Aragona
“And if you can’t run / and even walk / I’ll teach you to fly.” It is a hymn to life, always and in any case, even in the face of adversity, the song that Roberto Vecchioni and Francesco Guccini dedicate to Alex Zanardi, with a quote from Kavafis: “If you leave for Ithaca, a long journey awaits you …”. In fact, Odysseus’s journey is the supreme literary reference of “Infinito”, the latest album by Roberto Vecchioni, to which his tour “The Infinite, words and music” is dedicated, which on Thursday (9.15 pm) stops at the Politeama Prato.
Are you happy to return to Prato?
“Much! The memory of one of the most beautiful symposiums of my life binds me to Prato: a colossal revelry! I was between 30 and 40 years old: after the concert in a sports field, I stopped with the workers of a woolen factory in a bad place (perhaps a cellar) all night to sing, chat, joke … jokes, nonsense and things in life. I was struck by the great wit of the Tuscans, the ability to ridicule tragic things, to rage in an ironic, sometimes dirty way, always with great intelligence “.
In Florence, however, he has a bitter memory, told in the song “Two Florentine Days” …
“Actually I was in the hills around Scandicci with my first wife when I discovered her betrayal. And the marriage is over. The too beautiful background clashed with my pain, so I ran away. But Florence has no faults; it is a symbol of humanity, because Italy begins from there, and it inspires me only positive thoughts ».
And it is halfway between his Milan and Naples, his parents’ hometown …
“They are three cities so different they could belong to three countries. Today Milan is the only European city in Italy: everything happens there and everything can happen. Florence is a jewel of antiquity that arrives in the present with art and culture. Naples is dream, fantasy, hope, desire, a mass of all possible spiritualities. I could never leave Milan, which is my mother, my father, my son and my dog ».
Let’s go back to the last album: what is infinity for you?
«A great circle, as all great thinkers say so well. The association between infinity and the curves of a woman is recurrent. On the other hand, even atoms are circular; we humans have built the only flat things in the universe. To imagine the infinite we must instead think of Ulysses, and the nostalgia of the return ».
His tour is a sort of return, a look at the past, from which a new idea of his love for life emerges …
“With age you become aware of the details. While up to 60 years old, you have big thoughts – world peace, freedom for all, the existence of God… -, at my age you think about yourself. Paraphrasing Descartes, I think, therefore I exist. I don’t exist because I think; but alive, whatever the world is. And then I enjoy the little things, like the love for grandchildren, the poems I can write, the smiles I can give to the people I meet. Small things, but very important ».
How have you lived the last two years?
«With a great magone. People cannot imagine what lack of a stage is for an artist. He is not like a worker without a workshop or a lawyer without a study. Because only when he goes on stage is the artist fully himself ».
How did he survive the lockdowns?
“With a wonderful wife, you keep messages from friends and colleagues, my four grandchildren, when I could start seeing them again. I published the novel for Einaudi Flight and landing lessons, went great. And now I’m writing another about a universal woman, a sum of all the women I’ve known and all the greats in history, from Marie Curie to Emily Dickinson, from Sappho to Vittoria Colonna ».
The joke is that for the song “I want a woman” he was accused of anti-feminism …
«My provocation was not understood. I said “I want a woman with a skirt” to celebrate her woman in her femininity, inviting her not to give up on her difference with the male. I would never talk about gender equality, but about gender equality ».
How did you experience the homosexuality of your first child?
«Francesca was 15 when she came to me frightened whispering“ Dad, I have to tell you something ”. I asked her: “What is it? Are you addicted? Did you fall in love with a killer? No? So vaf …, you made me take a hit ”. I’ve always known that, and I’ve never paid any attention to it. Thirty years ago, I was a forerunner. I believe that love is universal and everyone can make their own choices. I accompanied Francesca three times to Amsterdam for assisted fertilization; in the end two twins arrived who are now 9 years old. I know she did it for me, because she wanted me to be a grandfather. Then Carolina also had two daughters. For all four of them, I am a grandfather who plays a lot ».
Has Francesca been discriminated against?
“Surely; but it’s a bulldozer. In addition to dealing with pr and writing essays, he founded and chairs the Diversity association, which will bring together thinkers, intellectuals and actors in the May event. At 18 he chose to come and live in Milan for the university; we have always been “pappa e ciccia”. Even Edoardo (the last child, had after Carolina and Arrigo by his current wife, Daria Colombo, while Francesca was born from her first marriage) looks a lot like me. The only little drama of my children is the imitative sense of the father. They feel they are artists, a little out of this world, with literary ambitions. Maybe it’s my fault: I made them dream too much, I gave little reality. But it is a reality that there is a need to deal with life, with people, with work ».
How would you explain to young people the war being fought on the borders of Europe?
“Young people are very different. When I was teaching in high school I adapted to their differences. With everyone, you need to talk a lot, also because they tend to be idealistic and categorical. It’s okay to be a pacifist, but even if Jesus had had a series of punches instead of a single slap, he probably wouldn’t have turned the other cheek… In short, Ukraine couldn’t avoid war; but something has gone wrong in the past few years. The world balances were disconnected. If we studied ancient history more we would live more peacefully. At the IULM, in the course “Contemporaneity of the Ancient”, I teach precisely the answers that the past can give us. Instead, we all live on the fifth floor of a building that has nothing underneath. Then it is clear that it starts to creak ».
In the song “I will teach you to fly” he reiterates that it does not matter to arrive first, but to be stronger than destiny …
«Kids should be like Ulysses again, with his curiosity for the world. Unfortunately today Ulysses would not make his journey to discover the world, but to find wealth and power ».
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April 27, 2022 | 06:54
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