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If I have to mention an Italian… international artist, the first name that comes to mind is that of Clare Civello. And the confirmation comes from his latest album, Chansonsand from the fresh tour I am as I am which is a reference to title of his latest single, released by Four Flies Records, a song that is an anthem
to the freedom to be and to love. A new show for the Italian singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist, after having reaped great success in her last tour in Brazil between January and February, in which Chiara Civello continues to propagate one of the topos of her career, the freedom to be what you it is without necessarily having to belong to a genre or a style. Her is a repertoire of songs that dot her artistic and life path: from her beginnings in New York, to Brazilian collaborations, to reinterpretations of world songs and all the roots of support that led her to be that which is today.
Chiara let’s start from the story of I am as I am: how was it born? How did you approach this piece by Sandra de Sàsu which in Brazil is a hymn to freedom?
The original version you hear it in every way and is from 1982 and has become a great anthem against racism. It was written by Macao, a composer who lives in a community, as today they call what were once the favelas, after being released from prison, where he ended up unjust; he wrote it in front of the sea. Listening to that incredible groove we convinced ourselves to give our version. We have opened up to topics such as bullying, homotransphobia, body shaming and sexual abuse. With Pippo Kaballà we wanted to send a message of hope and not of condemnation, the celebration of hybridization and mixtures that shouldn’t divide but unite.
I won’t ask you why you published it in this period because the theme it deals with doesn’t have a period: does it make you sad that it is always current?
On the one hand, yes, but it also ignites the resistance. The message should be remembered for the reiteration of the concept and not with condemnation.
Close your eyes and build a wall: the real problem is that when you reopen them you really find a wall…do you think about it every now and then?
I know. I tried to make the song as figurative as possible. The interest of the individual prevails over the sense of community. It seems that war is the result of a madness, a single triggering a wide hunger for power. But it’s also nice to see sensitive cultural realities that walls don’t stop it and the individual, in fact, has the freedom to build a life for himself. Then I wanted there to be a tour where I feel free and can transcend, made up of an unrepeatable repertoire with lots of improvisation. In the concert there are also things related to the single evening and therefore I retrace the many stages of my life. I’m interested in singing what I feel like and when I want to.
What do you tell your Brazilian friends when they ask you what is happening in Italy?
Unfortunately we don’t turn the page, we are governed by fanatics and dialogue does not seem possible. I’m interested in dialogue and sometimes in Italy you don’t hear that much. However, I see an opening in the younger generations.
And what do they tell you now that with Lula they can return to hope?
He returned to the presidency with a declaration of personal growth. He made mistakes and admitted it but, for example, the interest in respect for that lung of the world called Amazonia and for the extinct, or nearly extinct, indigenous populations, for the profit of the garimpeiros, has returned. There is a Bahian singer in the Ministry of Culture where Gilberto Gil used to be. This all sounds great to me.
What role can music play in changing society today? And do you think that whoever promised in the Sixties to change the world with music and today has left us this situation has sold us an illusion?
The world is an organism with many organs that must harmonize with each other. Every organ must row in the same direction, I’ll give you a human example: if the liver stops, everything weakens. Culture is the lung, it is a vital organ. Selling dreams is an important dynamic for the functioning of the individual, reality is not only what we see but also what we feel. The dream can evoke a desire to improve.
Your knowledge of languages allows you to deal with any musical world: is there one that intrigues you but you haven’t challenged it yet? Because all your work is not a project but a challenge. In short, you are thinking of the son of Chansons?
There are worlds that interest me and I think of punk. Everything can be incorporated: the center of gravity and the poetic point moves forward to reach the state of perfect alertness as Proust defined it. I do this, I move my comfort zone by preserving something from the past. I portray myself in a precise moment, that is my identity.
Today whoever makes music is a slave to algorithms and numbers, they have lost the beauty of spontaneous listening. Like walking, you always look at your cell phone and never at the sky: you who live in a happy oasis, how do you defend yourself from attempts at homologation?
I withdraw my authenticity and defend myself like this, but I listen and if it corresponds to where I am at heart, I accept the challenge. But there are no mysteries, a piece excites me or not from the first listen.
In these first dates, what public did you find? Hungry for music, curious, involved or is it an audience that is present but is still marked by what has happened in recent years?
A wild audience, a surprising participation. A little more decomposed and a little less “unmasked”.
What will happen in the coming weeks? Are you traveling again or will you be announcing new tour dates?
The tour has had very good reviews and has sparked a summer demand, so I will resume in the summer and tour Italy. There will be a local guest every evening. Also, as you know, I work on several fronts: now I’m going to London and then I’ll go back to Brazil.