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That hommage to Jannacci on Italy-Kenya line

Even Freddie in the last Stefano Barotti masterpiece

10-10-2020 by Freddie del Curatolo

Today we are talking about beautiful things and a song born on the Italy-Kenya axis, from a friendship that has become an artistic association (and vice versa) and from a common passion for a great Italian music.
In Italy, as for many sectors and aspects concerning art and culture, there is no longer so much attention for singer-songwriters.
They do not have to be linked to the commonplace of the poet with the guitar model Bob Dylan de borgata or to the cursed and refined De Andrè style.
Songwriter is any artist who composes, writes and plays what interpeta in song form.
He is a swing lawyer from Asti, a surreal surgeon from Milan. He was pop singer-songwriter and easygoing Rino Gaetano, rock and sophisticated Ivan Graziani, virtuoso and refined Lucio Dalla.
Today one of the most gifted and exciting singer-songwriters in Italy is called Stefano Barotti and for us at malindikenya.net it is nothing new that his fourth album is a small masterpiece.
Stefano lives near the Apuan Alps, in Massa.
He used to paint houses by trade for many years, until the vertebrae started creaking. Twenty years ago, when I was still a music critic in Italy, I reviewed his debut album, "Uomini in costruzione", an extraordinary first work that lacked only a bit of originality. You felt too much De Gregori, too Fossati and a bit too much folk America.
We have known each other and we have been dating ever since and, song after song, he has reached a compositional and interpretative maturity that makes him a true emblem of the misunderstood.
We continued to feel each other even when I moved to Kenya in 2005 and we hung out when I came back to Italy on holiday.
A few years ago we decided to write a record together: he with particular attention to music, I was more concerned with the lyrics. He was born "Esilio Volontario", which we talked about here at the time (CLICK HERE TO READ THE REVIEW).
Now, with a release on digital platforms (frankly, it's a bit sad to have to say this for a record, like a crappy app) on 10 October, comes "Il grande temporale", a beautiful album that to define as songwriting is improper. It's the portrait of an all-round artist, in which different genres, eras and suggestions are mixed and stories blend with music as they did in the past when the drawing pin descended on those unforgettable vinyls that transported you into a world of your own.
Today many people don't know or don't remember that the world evoked by good music is much better than the real one and that it could help to regain sensitivity, joy and lost passions.
As it happened for "Esilio Volontario" (where a song by Barotti appeared for the first time also in the new album, "Mi ha telefononato mi telefononato Tom Waits", which he sang with a brilliant arrangement is something else entirely), in "Il grande temporale" there is a song that was born on the Massa-Malindi axis and it is a tribute to the great Enzo Jannacci, tutelary deity that both of us, Stefano and I, love and whose sun of irony in today's thunderstorms is terribly lacking.
It was fun and poetic to re-establish this direct poetic and musical thread between Kenya and Italy, evoking his songs, the "indefinite notes", the surreal and dreamlike finds, or even a simple "iattattira" like the one I invoke as a battle cry at the beginning of the song that is simply called "Enzo".
But the record is obviously not all here.
"To go to Kenya, you have to know where it is...to understand Kenya you have to be gifted with a certain intelligence" said Jannacci forty years ago.
To write an "intelligent song" 7000 kilometres away, you have to be friends and still love life and music. 

TAGS: stefano barottimusica kenyaitalia kenya

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