As far as you know, in the past there were other musicians in love with the sea like you?
The Sea has always inspired artists of every age. However, as far as I know, there are no others who have chosen to live on a boat, and especially with a cello. But it would be nice if others had this dream and formed a small fleet of “musicsailors”, or an aquatic condominium of musicians. Among other things, I discovered another advantage of living in a boat: you can play at any time of day or night. The hulls are very well insulated and the water itself acts as an insulator, so that nothing can be heard of what happens in the boat alongside. A not inconsiderable advantage for a musician, who is often harassed by neighbors. And the neighbors are often very right.
What are your solitary routes? Which ports do you like to come back to?
For the past seven years I have sailed alone for 23,000 miles (about 45,000 km) far and wide for the Mediterranean. I dreamed of going around the world, but I realized that there is so much to see in Mare Nostrum that life is not enough. Mile after mile my soul is filled with beauties, friendships, stories, culture and history, that of our origins. Everything was born here: democracy, medicine, philosophy, theater and music. This sea is the cradle of modern civilization. And Greece is the place where the sense of harmony, beauty and philosophy has been better preserved. Its ports are those where I always come back willingly. The gods still live there.
Defining the experience of music is certainly a complex thing … the same for surfing. In fact, many authors and writers have dedicated themselves to one or other of these two themes. In your opinion, however, is there a relationship between these two worlds? Can you tell us about it?
I often like a bow in a while, with the feet hanging from the boat and my mind running in infinity. I would never get tired of looking at the sea, always the same, always different. And it reminds me of the writing by Johann Sebastian Bach, where the apparently equal thematic cells always self-regenerate. Looking at the waves, I often hear the Prelude of the Suite n. 1 for solo cello: a wave that sells like a musical phrase, then fringes and gives way to another, which seems the same but it is not. Coming out of the abdomen of the previous one, he carries the germ with him, varying it and taking it to the next wave. The same thing happens in Bach’s music Do sailors and musicians have similar personalities?The conductor, having to do with a hundred musicians, including orchestras, singers and choir. So he must have perfect self-control to perceive everything. It is as if the brain worked on two tracks. One that records what he feels by catching the errors or sounds to correct, even instantly. The other hand is moved forward, because it must anticipate the sound of the orchestra with the movements of the hands and arms to guide it. The seafarer must do the same thing: record the sounds of water and sails, and at the same time predict how the boat will behave with respect to the waves and the wind. From symphony orchestras, in concert halls, I moved to direct the tides in the infinity.
The musical language is very rich and can express the depth of an individual more than others. The charm of the sea is in its extension, but its enigma is in the depths? Can music be a sonar that explores the abysses of our soul?More than the abysses, what I find stimulating is the horizon, which moves ever further into the sea. The view of an infinite horizon is the ideal condition in which the subconscious can be freed. Thus thoughts run faster and farther. While the sea water cleans the soul from encrustations, from the bad habits that stick to the skin on the mainland. Sailing is necessary to strip off the artificial habits, prejudices, imperfections of the civilized world that poison the soul, and find in the solitude and grandeur of nature a more correct harmony. On the sea it is easier to continue the battle to wipe out and then kill that fake part, that part of Mr. Hyde that is in each of us. Every route by sea is also and above all a spiritual pilgrimage.
The sea of Joseph Conrad is the place of the soul, the sea of Melville is titanic and biblical, the sea of Stevenson climatic station of noble legends: how is your sea?
The sea is all these things together and none of them at the same time. The sea empties and then fills, like the tides. But the sea for me represents love, quoting Denecia, autobiography of a boat: “Above all, I will not tire of telling love, which is in itself the thing for which you humans would be worth living. Now I know. It is the thing that honors you most, that redeems you from all the horrors and the havoc of which you are capable, of which you have been stained by that memory. At the end of each route what really matters is having loved. So do not miss the chance to do it every day of your life. It is in this feeling that immortality resides. Only in this. Because love is like the sea, always comes back under different forms. It never ends”.
Music is a universal language that respects and values all cultures. In your opinion, this also applies to the sea? A middle world that unites all the lands?
Continuing to mention Denecia: “Moreover for those who live in the sea even the continents are large islands. Because it is the water that is king on earth, buy seven tenths of the globe. From the perspective of humans it might seem that the sea divides the lands, but we know that yachts are not like that. The sea is like a liquid glue, which keeps the people of all the continents united. The sea unites“. For all the sailors of the world there is a universal language, that of solidarity, respect, curiosity. Among them there is an osmosis that reminds me of what, until recently, was also among the musicians.
A CD by Giovanni Sollima is titled “We were trees”. But what if, first, we had been fish?
That of evoking nature is a fashion that risks sometimes to encroach on speculation. A risk that I too, like everyone else. I can not say that we were originally fish, but we still have a very strong connection with water and the sea. Living in a boat is like finding the mother’s womb, floating isolated, protected from the outside world. It is like finding the kennel that you are looking for as children by building small shelters or choosing the inside of the closets as a place to play, isolate themselves, feel protected. In short, a boat is a house-kennel-floating womb. And playing in the middle of the sea, where the vibrations spread in nature can make us return to being part of the whole. Once, while I was playing The Swan of Saint-Saëns, when the sun was plunging into the sea, I saw a bunch of dolphins coming towards me. Then they began to jump. They made very high jumps, very close to where I was playing. So close that I could hardly believe what I saw. And I like to think that they were attracted to music, as in Greek mythology. Here, return to be part of nature, the universe, of everything.
Thank you so much for your kind availability. See you soon and good sailing