A new home for Genoese cantautori

The Abbazia of San Giuliano

Liguria is a land of intense atmospheres, colours, scents, lights and echoes… When imagination meets reality, there music flows - and Genoa, the epicentre of the region, provides clear evidence. The names of several artists – be they Ligurian or not – are in fact forever bound to the Superba – think of Asti-born Paolo Conte’s flagship song, “Genova per noi”.
However, Genoa is mainly associated to the ‘60s cantautori (literally: singer songwriters) season. Though critics tend to group them under the collective definition of “Genoese school cantautori”, this was – and is - a multifaceted universe of distinct personalities - De André, Paoli, Tenco, Bindi, Lauzi, to cite a few.
What these amazing voices share - besides common geographical roots - is their painstaking attention to lyrics and nonconformist contents, a reflection of the social consciousness and lust for freedom that characterized the ‘60s.
Genoa acts as their ideal backdrop: fascinating in its alternation of silence and bustle, it offers a variety of settings, from animated carruggi (Fabrizio De André’s Via del Campo is the most effective of portraits) to the seafaring grace of Boccadasse, evocative of Gino Paoli’s La gatta (i.e. the she-cat), dozing on a fishing boat.
Luigi Tenco, one of the most intense interpreters of the Genoese scene, embodied the uneasiness of his young contemporaries – his “Ciao amore, ciao” is a lacerating testament.
Umberto Bindi’s melodies and orchestrations, Bruno Lauzi’s ironic lyrics represent other facets of the multifold Genoese spirit. “Arrivederci”, “Il nostro concerto”, “Ritornerai”…, are corner stones of Italian song writing, cross-generational evergreen hits.
These were the forefathers of Ivano Fossati’s rarefied grace (a follower of the intimist tradition, listen to his “La costruzione di un amore”) and Francesco Baccini’s rebellious spirit (his songs – e.g. “Ho voglia di innamorarmi” mix impassioned and playful notes).
The “Casa dei Cantautori” project represents the best way to tribute the lesson of all these masters: the Genoese historical complex of the abbey of San Giuliano  is in fact to become the seat of expositions, events and seminars fit to turn yesterday’s legacy into tomorrow’s art. The project is the output of the agreement signed by the Ministero dei Beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo, Regione Liguria and the Municipality of Genoa.

Luisa Puppo


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