Lastanzadigreta: re-imagining music

 

Talking about the reuse in the art and culture fields, we cannot miss to mention the reuse of objects, but we found a peculiar way of doing it – even better – lastanzadigreta did it!
A band able to generate music starting from whichever instrument.

 

They will launch the first album “Creature Selavagge“, on 3 December with the help of the famous recording label Sciopero Records. The collaborators for this wonderful album, that I had the lucky to listen in preview, are a lot. We can notice: Cinzia Ghigliano (the illustrator), Self (for digital distribution), Paolo Archetti Maestri (Yo Yo Mundi, give they a gift: Amore e Psiche song), Erri de Luca (writer that give the agreement to use a piece of his book).

 

Let’s know a little bit more on them!

 

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J: Who are the musicians part of lastanzadigreta? Can I ask you to tell me a bit of your story? How did you know each other and what pushed you to form this music band?

 

What made us meet one another was a charity event, and since then we started working together as a band and as a association, as musicians and as “cultural operators” in a wider sense: some of us are conducting a didactic project  – altreArti JAM. We are 5 quite different heads by educations and tastes: Alan Brunetta, that mostly plays the marimba and percussion, is a Conservatory graduate and writes film music. Flavio Rubatto (who plays percussion, didjeridoo, piano, theremin) is a music-therapist and a professor, Umberto Poli is a guitar player with a blues-rock formation, and a music professor as well. Leonardo Laviano, the singer, deals with graphics and communication and has been a singer-songwriter for a couple of years. Jacopo Tomatis – who plays the mandolin and other stuff – is a music journalist and teaches at the University… yes, 5 really different heads!
J: Which are the instruments you use at your concert? And why did you choose them? Do you build yourself some?

 

Since the beginning we started hoarding strange instruments, music toys and objects that could play, without even knowing if we would ever use them: often bought at drift markets, or rustling them up from the lofts.

At the concerts and in our record we use both “real” instruments and recycled objects or toy instruments. For example, our percussion set includes a “normal” drum, a trash can, a set of coffee cans, a broken typewriter, a metronome… One must learn them, as real instruments, to use them for the better: for example, each coffee brand has a different sound, and on the record one could hear at least 2 o 3 different…
We also created new things, or adapted instruments to our needs. Our banjolino (a banjo intoned as a mandolin) is an instruments from the 1930’s rustled up broken at a stall and put back together. Often the didjeridoos are tailored plastic tubes. We also created a bouzouki with a tennis racket once (we called it “Bouzoucket”) or connected a camping pomp to a melodic (renamed “Campharmonium”)… These are unique instruments, that could be listen only on a Lastanzadigreta record!
These are strange songs which refuse the certainties of the formulas” says the description that accompanies you to an our concert. This sentence fits perfectly with the desire of rethinking and re-imagining the artistic disciplines.

 

 

J: I’d like to know the why of this choice and the points of strengths and weakness of this kind of approach to music.

 

In each artistic discipline, the instruments you choose (not only the musical instruments) shape your final result. In the popular music sector, for example, the formula guitar-bass guitar-drums has been exploited in each and every way,  and today is very difficult to succeed in saying something original by keeping that way. Imposing yourself to change the game, without trusting in that “certainties”, is a conscious artistic choice, a mental discipline to force ourselves growing both as a band and single musicians, getting out from our instrument’s comfort zone to face a new reality.
The critical issue is that… the final result is difficultly classifiable, and has less commercial channels: the music circuit reasons very frequently by watertight compartments (“this is pop”, “this is rock”, “this is folk”), and doesn’t guarantee lots of spaces to the most eccentric things.

 

 

J: From a previous interview I can read that you like to be defined as “popular” . Can you explain me what does it mean to you being pop and popular?

 

The defiance of wanting to be pop is exactly bounded to the break of the standard formulas. Making “different” music does not mean making difficult, obscure, niche music liked only from the small group of nerds. We don’t identify us as indie – label that frequently is required as a alibi to not be popular and having the excuse of making boring music – neither with the tradition of the singer-songwriters, in which writing difficult songs is considered as a plus valor. Often is thought that being “pop”, easy and enjoyable, means being stupid or shallow. But it doesn’t: we make the music we like, which sometimes is more difficult, sometimes is immediate and simple, but wants to talk to all. Adults and kids, nerds and not.

 

 

J: Last question! Can you tell me something on your music school AltreArti Jam?

 

The idea that underlies in AltreArti JAM is exactly the one that lies in our music: the idea that everything could play, and in particular that everyone could play.Our didactic approach is upside down towards the most common one: making music together ain’t the arriving point after a long study of the instrument, but the starting point of a journey. Making music together is something that goes beyond the final result: it is a process from which you learn how to stay together, how to listen to the others and yourself. Ant to express yourself you can use both a guitar or a coffee can!

 

 


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Jessica Stella