With politics dividing, faith ripping apart, art heals injuries andawakens the freedom dreams of children and young people.
Biserta e altre storie (“Biserta and other stories”) containsDuo Bottasso’s latestmusical experiences and encounters with the sound artistSimone Sims Longo.The common thread of this album is thesoundtrack of the documentary,“Biserta. Storia a spirale” (“Biserta: Spiral Stories” ,Cosenude Media Projects,2018), the music for which was composed and performed byDuo Bottasso. Thealbum has a strongnarrativeline and mixesvocals, acoustic and electricinstruments, andfield recordings, into the music. Listeners can imagine their ownjourneys, focusing on whatever musical elements they choose.
The unanswered questions of the children’s choir in “Fragen” (“I ask, you ask, Iask you, I ask myself, you ask yourself”) suddenly turn into the voices of theprotagonists of the documentary:Samara, who dreams of escaping Tunisia andbecoming a successful boxer;Salafists calling for hate and violence against theirfellow humans; andMohamed, who remembers the consequences of war inBiserta on his family.
The diatonic accordion, violin and trumpet of Duo Bottasso, with thetar of RezaMirjalali (composer of the piece “Autumn”) embody the stories of Samara,Mohamed,Dhia andKhaled. The Mediterranean sea, the nights and the fury ofthe Arab spring are suggested by the sound-design and live electronics ofSimone Sims Longo.The wish of the three artists toescapetheircomfortzonesand share techniques they have achieved in previous work leads to an organicmix of vocal samples, improvisation, exploration of timbres of acousticinstruments, climaxes in the song “Spirali” (“Spirals”).The contradictions and themysterious allure of Bizerte echo in“Majestic” and “Attente,” which are not heardin the documentary but came to life after the composers saw the suggestiveimages ofMichele Coppari andFrancesca Zannoni.The final reprise of the leitmotiv,“Maitia Nun Zira”, is sung by the forty young singers ofKinder-undJugendchor der Theater Chemnitz (Children’s and Youth Choir of TheaterChemnitz) conducted byPietro Numico: their voices amplify thedesiresforfreedomandlove of the four characters and give finally some relief.
Despite this, the cold contrast between those who incite hatred against their ownpeople and against the writer Mohamed, who lost his own brother brutally duringthe revolution, permeates this album and opens up a reflection uponbrotherhood: no longer the personal reflection ofDuo Bottasso, whichcharacterized their preceding work “Crescendo”, but the brotherhood that, notonly in Tunisia, seems to be a distant memory today.