(Corriere, 3 April 1991)
The musician from Brescia from rock to language studies in the new LP "Passa la bellezza”
Pagani: I “play" my dialect
For some time I have been looking for that popular Italian that made my elementary school teacher so angry - I like to write pieces that seem to people already familiar
MILAN - Behind the success of the latest album by Fabrizio De Andrè, “Nuvole”, and the triumph of the tour that ends these days, there is the work of one of the most greatest ever professionals of Italian pop music, Mauro Pagani, former violinist and leader of the Premiata Forneria Marconi.
During the concert Pagani presented some pieces from “Passa la bellezza”, an album that is a valuable example of research on ethnic music and in which you can see all the artistic journey made by this extraordinary musician.
"The philosophy of my work,” explains Pagani, “can be summarized as follows: the pleasure of writing a piece with only three chords, a voice, a guitar, a piece that stands on its own and is so catchy that it gives the listener the impression of having heard it before.”
Mauro Pagani was born in Chiari, in the province of Brescia, 45 years ago. He attended the classical high school in Milan and in Desenzano, and at the same time he takes the exams in the Conservatory.
His instrument is the violin. For seven years he devoted himself to blues and in 1970, with Franz Di Cioccio, Franco Mussida, Flavio Premoli and Giorgio Piazza, he founded the Premiata Forneria Marconi.
But yet while he plays in the most appreciated Italian rock formation in the world, he discovers a deep passion for ethnic music. And it is one of the reasons that led him to abandon the line-up in 1977.
He thus continued his studies on medieval, Mediterranean and North African music culture. He makes contact with instruments such as the bouzouki, the oud, the saz, the viella. He founded the "Carnascialia" group and collaborated with the "Canzoniere del Lazio". In 1981 he composed the music for the soundtrack of the comedy and of the subsequent film by Gabriele Salvatores “A Midsummer Night's Dream”.
In 1982 he took part in the Fabrizio De Andrè tour. Thus ‘Creuza de ma’ was born from the agreement between the two, published in 1984, in which the Genoese singer-songwriter discovers his vocation for ethnic music and the dialect song that he will never abandon. And always together with Pagani he also composes the recent album “Nuvole”.
“My ‘Passa la bellezza’”, Pagani explains, “starts from an assumption: there are no more noble compositional schemes than others.”
A song makes sense if it excites you. And the study of popular music teaches you to put few instruments and a lot of work into songs."
And the themes touched by the songs, what are they? “The most varied. In ‘Neve di Natale' I talk about the illusions of children and as in a dance I see pass by all those who in my life have deluded themselves with me. The popular song lives of deep roots, of ancestral images that enter childhood: the photo of the mother at 16 and that of the father with a mustache stiff in his uniform. And as a language I use here and there a sort of Italianized dialect, the one that made my elementary teacher so angry he called it “Italiacano".
In a work of difficult definition, but which sounds fresh and immediate, the songs that stand out are “Davvero davvero”, a song performed by Pagani in a duet with De André, and the curious "'N De”, which concentrates on all the ways to be stupid in the Brescia dialect: macanèl, saù, macù, saiòt, papao, piturina, somiet, recet, tetu, lomagòt (lumacone), sapatù (ciabattone).
Mario Luzzatto Fegiz