Cummei is the third album by Randomborn Alessandra Zuccaro, and it is not just a declaration of love passionate about soul, jazz, afro and hip-hop music, but aims to demonstrate how the interpenetration of genres, sonic experimentation and linguistic and cultural contamination know no limits. Of the eight tracks that make up the album, most are written in Italian or in the Brindisi dialect. It is no coincidence, therefore, that the subtitle is MediterraNeoSoula play on words that wants to celebrate the union between the culture of Southern Italy, like all the South of the world, and soul music and other musical influences.
Alessandra let’s start from the story of Cummeifrom this inner journey which, song after song, has found a harmonious path, both musically and in terms of message.
The album was born during the pandemic with the old lineup. Then it stopped and I wrote new songs. We finished working on it with Giuseppe Pignatelli and Aris Volpe and then I collaborated with Marco Falcon and Pasquale Strizzi. It’s a record that has matured over time, I got over the downturn of closing with the old group, then thanks to Nuova Imaie we started again and the record wrote itself like the story of an emigration. Making music is my way of doing social activism, of being in the world. In a small way it is my move from the South to the North and of personal growth, but I would like people to also think about more difficult migrations in this Mediterranean.
Sublimation is the starting point: I ask you in the dark nights when you feel lost and have to wait for dawn, what is the energetic sense of Halley’s comet which will pass next time in 2061?
The first part is hope and energy, I say that we will come back even stronger than before like Halley’s Comet, but in the last part the negative me comes out: energy as much as I want but realism shows me the other point of view, that of dark nights. It’s an endless cycle.
In These Waves talk about Renovationa word that in the sense with which you understand it seems very distant from reality: today we are looking for the comfort zone and not “dig beyond the limits of the mind”. Are you the alien?
Sometimes yes but I don’t want to be presumptuous. It is the chapter that pushes us to follow the wave and renewal, the waves that lead towards the shore, break and then return inviting us to move forward. I know that in the contemporary world we face difficult and demotivating times.
Talking to yourself in the mirror is a journey in itself. I think of Ingmar Bergman who used it both The Strawberry Place that in Whispers and Shouts oh Deep red by Dario Argento. However, there is always the tragedy of reality: in I can see your soul how much is comparison with oneself and when to face the double?
I’d say halfway. When I listen to it again like an idiot it makes me want to cry. I got totally naked in that song. But perhaps it’s a little more the former, it’s like I’ve psychoanalyzed myself. I told my other self that you are not alone in your difficulties. The double plays tricks because your other self fools you.
Whatever It Takes you mention the albatross which, as Baudelaire already wrote, is a loner of the sea: instead yours is a cry for help, a prayer. Why this contrast? Why the desire for love on a journey of no return?
There is no certainty that it will be a journey of no return. It’s the song about the push of the journey but you still look at the roots: I need love to move forward, it’s the little voice of loneliness that speaks to you and I say I’ll try to go but you support me.
When is the last time you held out your hands towards something that eludes you?
How do you feel Mediterranean? It is the cradle of civilization but remains a closed sea like the image of the tiger born in a zoo that wants to escape. It’s you?
A shaman once told me this when he looked at the colors of my aura. It is the tiger that must express itself but feels limited a little by its own land but above all by itself. With travel you demonstrate what you can achieve. I feel one hundred percent Mediterranean and this trip has everything.
“Spend your hours in freedom and fantasy”: Is this your utopian side speaking? Or did you flee from the wolves?
I ran away. The song is divided into two. The first part welcomes the frenzy of new life, of the alienation resulting from the pandemic: we were locked in the house but everyone expected the best from you. Life demands that we always be at the top and we must demonstrate that we have something more to stay afloat, but this leads to depression due to the high demand for the level of work. I recommend being crazy.
In your authorial work are you afraid of doing harm with words? And how can you tell “now you know who I am” whether the multi-part album refutes self-knowledge?
Sometimes we don’t know who we are. I’m not good at writing love songs. But here I’m talking about a love in crisis, which can also be a friendship: it can’t go well if we don’t feel good about ourselves.
In addition to your name, when it is important to remember “from the accumellated angels”? And in Do You Remember My Name does the journey end in port and you find yourself and your loved ones or does the Mediterranean not free you?
The sense of the Mediterranean is not what closes me off the most. Here is an understanding, at the end of the journey, that you are free from self-imposed chains and the Mediterranean becomes a resource, the extra something. There is also the return to music after the 2018 album. I am happy for Mama Marjas’ collaboration, I am happy that she accepted because she too had moved away from the scene a bit. Without knowing each other we felt very close.
Albatros, Tigre, Lupi… your songs seem like a mythological world 2.0. Is Nature mother or stepmother to you?
Mother absolutely even if sometimes she is a little severe and transmits teachings that once understood you manage in your fantasy world in a lighter way.
What will happen in the next few weeks?
We are rehearsing the show, we want it to be rich and lively, I want to bring the audience to my side. Not only cummei but come with me into my parallel world thanks also to the sounds. I hope in spring and then summer.