Next 21th of August, the Meltdown Festival will welcome, on its stage at the Southbank Centre of London, Carmen Consoli, a twenty years career artist from Italy, who has just come back in the picture after five years’ absence with an album titled L’abitudine di tornare.
The festival, conceived by David Byrne, its artistic director, will be a dense experience: a lot of artists from all over the world will exhibit and, not least, Carmen will be the only Italian singer on stage.
Carmen, how it changed the relation with your music after the birth of your son?
I look at the world through a magnificent lens, my son. Day after day, the magic repeats itself. I look at life with wonder.
The only Italian artist on the stage of the Meltdown Festival. Which band will play with you? Which songs will you sing?
I’ll have a particular line-up. Representing Italian Woman, actually, I’ll play with three women. As regards the songs, we always make possible to change things: you know, six persons must settle. The playlist will be various: clearly, we have choosen the toughest rock songs.
In 1974 David Byrne founded the Talking Heads. And 1974 is the year of yor birth, too. Does it complete the circle?
I hope that circle is open. I don’t know David Byrne personally, but – of course – I am a fan of him. I can’t wait to throw myself at his feet, if I ever get the possibility to meet him. You can imagine my state of mind!
Carmen, will it be your first time playing in London?
No, it’s not the first time. I’ve done six concerts in the City.
In your album, we can find a song linked to the tragedy of immigration, La notte più lunga. Do your worries derive from your Sicilian roots? How do you live this drama as citizen of an island not immune from this plague?
Actually, I’m living it just like other people from my city and – I hope – like all the Italians. The arrival of this families, of our ‘cousins from Africa’, has been surprising. This is not a happy period for humanity. These people escape from war searching for job. And in Italy nobody cares about it. These people are asking for us to help them.
In 1994 you wrote –Confusa e Felice-? How do you feel today, more confused or happier?
This is my state of mind. Confusion does not derive only from sadness. Happyness could be so great to surprise and confuse you.
New York Times has written that you have a considerable combination of rock and intellectualness, that you sing with passion and with a voice that talks about pain.
I want to thank you the journalist who wrote this article, because he really surprised me. When I read it, I felt confused.
During you absence, how did you look at the world of music? Did you miss it?
I looked at it curiously, appreciating good things and distancing myself from the bad ones. I didn’t miss that world. I just missed the relation with the public, and my concerts. I missed the human part of the mechanism. I didn’t miss at all what was strictly linked to marketing, selling etc. I love to say that singing is not my only job. I like to sing and I do it only if I have something to say.
In the videoclip titled L’abitudine di tornare, you’re gliding around a setting that draws the one of The wizard of Oz. Where does your yellow brick road lead you?
I’m saying something prosaic, but I trust it: I think that the last goal of everyone, actually, is happyness. You live, you celebrate life to be happy, and all the roads you walk should lead you to that.Otherwise, everything is vain. My wizard of Oz is a constant state of happyness that makes me enjoy what I have, and not desire what I have not.
Has this awareness always been part of you?
Actually, for ten years I’ve been Buddhist. It helped me a lot and it helps me today
La signora del quinto piano, is one trace about stalking. What’s your opinion about this?
We should fight against the subculture, according to which the stronger defeats the weaker. Today, Italy is sadly famous for this. It’s all about culture. We don’t need steps backwards. We have few time to build and develop relationships. We need time.
LISTEN THE SHOW ON LondonONEradio here