melodies are lost", said the old Sicilian music trander in
Palermo with a wistful smile.
Again and again our travels have lead us into the Mediterranean
world, to Italy with we crossed innumerable times: from the North,
the elegant places around Venice and the Toscana, deep dodwn to
the bright South, the Mezzogiorno, where the sparkling blue waters
of the Mediterranean are telling of the enchantment of the archaic
times and where grand-sounding names of the towns praise the myths
of the ancient world: AGRIGENTO, PALINURO, NAPOLI, POSTANO, SIRACUSA.
Summer after summer we are playing our music in their streets
and on places which emanate even late at night the ardent heat
of the day. Our travels equal more of a wandering through the
past than a wandering through landscapes, always in search of
melodies of an almost lost Italy. Out of the ancient tradition
of the canzone italiana, the cansone napoletana only few singers
brought teh canto melodico sentimentale up to the middle of the
20th century: enchanting singers long forgotten such as CARLO
BUTI, OSCAR CARBONI, NARCISO PARIGI, NILLA PIZZI or the early
CLAUDIO VILIA. Their lyric songs evoke the dream visions of the
South with at all times have given wings to the longing melancholic
fantasy of the people in Northern and Central Europe.
Much late, far away from Palermo, in the Tuscan town of Montescudaio,
we once played a ballad named "Firenze sogna", the great
success of the Florentine singer Carlo Buti in 1939. A small old
man got out of his house. His name was Renzo Modesti, he was 84
years old and had worked throughout his life as a stone-mason,
as he told us later. All excited he called his wife out of the
house and exclaimed with bright shinning eyws: "Eccola, la
melodia." - "Here it is, the melody"