Koliko košta talianski giezz?
[...meaning "How much does Italian jazz cost?" in bogus Serbo-Croatian]
Who are these Switters that dare describe as a “disaster” the state of music in Italy, and especially the state of jazz and the likes? Jazz – or, as Italians pronounce it, jetz – has taken over, jetz is everywhere, they teach it in music schools, there are jetz festivals in all towns from January to December, and the Beautiful Country is churning out young sophisticated talents that are very successful in clubs and theaters all over the world. What “disaster” are these guys talking about? I answer on my own behalf, as I’ve renounced the mandate to speak on behalf of the band. They answer by playing their music, and I play my instrument too, and my instrument is language. “Disaster” because it couldn’t be otherwise, because the whole country is a disaster and there can be no “happy island”, not in the middle of an oily sea with a plundered sea-floor, where you can see filthy mutant mussel-beds and rotting seagulls floating by. Art reflects and re-elaborates and re-vomits the world around it, and if it doesn’t, then it’s just a fraud, it’s “phishing” for gullible folks, a rip-off like those Argentine bonds were. Riots flare up everywhere, the stench of shit has reached the exosphere, and yet today’s successful jetz acts sound like commercials for holiday villages. Jetz is light and smooth, it’s soft and low-salt, an enervating, new-agey, consoling, lullaby-like plink-plunk-plink for weaklings, a gym session for politicians with the hobby of writing books, a launching ramp for carreers in bogus political parties. (more…)
[This piece by Wu Ming 1 was published on Musica Jazz magazine, no.6, year 64, June 2008]
Jazz has long cultivated a relationship with Eastern religions and philosophies, be they post-modern or traditional, ascetic or business-oriented, extremely serious or charlatanesque: Hinduism, Buddhism, Ba’hai, Osho, Transcendental Meditation ®, and any sort of odd syncretism. In Euro-American popular culture (music, cinema, fashion, graphic design etc.) the transition from the 1960s to the 1970s is marked by the typical enthusiasm of the converted, and it’s a mass enthusiasm. Often phony, but sometimes genuine. Often short-lived, but sometimes enduring. Jazz records are chock-full of intriguing Eastern polysyllables from India, Tibet, Japan and so on: Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda suggests travels to Satchidananda and trips to the lake Paramahansa, chanting “Om Sri Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Rama” while the Mahavishnu Orchestra is flying on the wings of Karma. (more…)
In Florence it is a a square, in Pontassieve a street. Largo Bruno Fanciullacci and Via Bruno Fanciullacci. The two plaques were unveiled a few years ago (respectively in 2002 and 2003) among political squabbles and reciprocal lawsuits. Fanciullacci was a partisan belonging to the GAP [Groups of Patriotic Action, antifascist urban guerrillas]. He was awarded a Gold Medal of the Resistance. Some just consider him a killer (the murderer of Giovanni Gentile), others – including us – consider him a hero. So far, no-one has described him as a philosopher. It’s time to pay homage to him in this respect.
Yes, a philosopher. A label to be redeemed after years of outré uses – eg «the philosopher Rocco Buttiglione» ) – , academic numbness and conferences where one hair could be split in sixteen parts. Philosophy – the practice of philosophy – must return to the streets, the streets where Socrates spent his days, the streets where Diogenes «the Dog» lived as a homeless man. No need to imitate the latter and sleep in a barrel: it is enough to smash down the barriers between what is said and what is done. It is enough to live ethically. (more…)
October 13, 2010
“Growing Knowledge: Wu Ming Present Manituana”
6.30pm – 8.00pm
British Library Conference Centre , 96 Euston Road
London, NW1 2DB
Price: £7.50 / £5 concessions
You can buy your ticket here.
Details for the other two London events (Café Oto, 11 October; Pages of Hackney, 12 October) are here.
[In 2008 Wu Ming 1 wrote a series of articles on some strange, "exotic", ancient-sounding titles famous jazz musicians gave to their compositions. The articles were published on Musica Jazz, the oldest and most important jazz magazine in Italy. Little by little they've been translated into English, so you too have the chance to read them. Starting today, we'll publish them on this blog by the end of Autumn. The first installment is dedicated to Ogunde, an ancient Yoruba chant John Coltrane reinterpreted soon before his death.
Wu Ming 1 is the author of New Thing (2004), an "unidentified narrative object" (ie a weird novel) on the NYC free jazz scene around 1967. In recent years he's been writing extensively on Black music, his major effort being a long essay titled Black Noise Supremacy: Notes and Digressions on the Alleged "Whiteness" of Punk and the African Origins of Rock'n'Roll Corporeity (2006, so far available only in Italian and Spanish)].
Recently on this magazine, Luca Conti noticed how certain titles of jazz and, more generally, Afro-American music compositions recall “a mysterious, unfathomable, even macabre Africa, a place the white man is not allowed to access. Listening to those songs makes you feel like you’re hearing a message that, unfortunately, is not addressed to you and does nothing to include you in the conversation.” (more…)