Modern-day troubadour now performing in Athens

A troubadour tends to be regarded as a lonesome, wayward and romantic songwriter of the Middle Ages. They say that troubadours continue to exist today, among them Vinicio Capossela. He has been described by some as «Italy’s Tom Waits.» Despite all the comparisons, Capossela possesses a style of his own. The Italian musician, who was born in Hanover and raised in Tuscany, is currently performing a one-week series of shows to Greek audiences at the capital’s Half Note Jazz Club until Thursday. He spoke to Kathimerini on the occasion of this visit. «I want my music to be presented in a special kind of way at concerts, because it carries an entire world of references and, moreover, because I believe in theater, or the element of entertainment,» said Capossela, who is renowned for staging highly theatrical shows. «My objective is to see audiences abolish logic and feel like they’re part of the show. I may, for example, do that by using shadow-theater elements and a wooden mask from Sardinia,» he continued. Capossela’s work echoes a combination of various styles, including tango, bolero and pre-Renaissance arias. Offering his view on music in general, Capsella said he felt drawn to authenticity. «I believe, for example, [Goran] Bregovic took his country’s music to a wider audience and this music carried a truth inside it. The same goes for Tom Waits, who offers music that stems from archetypal blues. What really makes an artist authentic is the world he or she creates and the way this is manifested,» commented Capossela. «Music exists as large archetypes, big pieces of truth that emerge from a deeper root hidden in past centuries.» As for his opinion of what a troubadour is, Capossela noted: «Troubadours narrate stories through singing, and they attracted the public’s attention long before the novel or cinema did. This was mobile theater; their stories stemmed from myths but they often made up the stories themselves. They would mesmerize you with a tragic love story in which love’s cycle would be completed by death, or how withered flowers offered their place to new beauty. That’s the kind of troubadour I want to be. To make my music travel more than me.» Lately, Capossela says he has been listening to a lot of Bach. «There’s a different type of music for every moment,» he said. Now that he is in Greece, the Italian continued, he is listening exclusively to rebetika. «I adore the tradition of rebetika – the old recordings… I discovered rebetika in Thessaloniki in 1998 inside a 1967 Mercedes and I wrote a song called ‘You Can’t Die Every Morning.’ I like the fact that young people are still listening to rebetika. It’s not folklore, but something deeper, ritualistic,» said Capossela. For his Half Note performances, Capossela is presenting material from his latest album. He has been joined by local musicians, including the gifted bouzouki player Manolis Pappos, for these Athens shows. Until Thursday. Half Note Jazz Club, 17 Trivonianou, Mets. Top performer on world music charts A singer, songwriter and performer of highly theatrical shows, Vinicio Capossela’s work elegantly melds his influences. His work, described by some critics as avant-pop, has sold solidly to send Capossela high on the world music charts. His latest album, «Ovunque Proteggi» – which features an impressive cast of guest musicians, such as the guitarist Marc Ribot, best known for his work with Tom Waits – went platinum within two months of its release date. Capossela chose to present his new album, which is heavily immersed in older times and loaded with ancient myths, at ancient theaters in Italy before taking it to other venues abroad. For his Half Note Jazz Club shows, Capossela has culled songs based on themes such as absence and ports. He is backed by a five-member band for his ongoing shows in Athens with respected locals Manolis Pappos (bouzouki) and Vassilis Massalas (baglamas) on board.

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