16th June 2009
I'm back again after several months of never finding the time or the inspiration to write my blog. I hope that I will have more of both from now on to make more regular posts!
I love music, and I’m always on the look-out for new cds, new bands, new music to listen to. Every year I adopt a ‘cd for the summer’ which is often something that I discover during my usual fortnight in England in July and import to Livorno to play over and over again for the remaining sunny weeks. However, this year I think I am going to be exporting a cd from Livorno and taking it with me to the UK.
It's Bobo Rondelli’s latest album - Per Amor del Cielo - which I bought this morning and have been playing over and over all day, in my car, and later at home. I love the new direction Bobo has taken, so different to his upbeat, quasi-punk music of twenty years ago. His irony is still there, but he has mellowed, creating an album that is immediately likeable.
If you are new to Livorno, you probably won’t have heard of Rondelli. Despite his many talents, over the years he has remained very much a local musician, and this is mostly due to his own choices. Although he has had opportunities to branch out and take his music to a wider audience, Bobo has always preferred to stay on home ground. He has been likened in style to Tom Waites. He looks like a more chiselled version of Clark Gable, and he definitely doesn’t give a damn about worldwide fame.
Bella Livorno, Mi Fermo Qui ('Beautiful Livorno, I’m staying here’) goes the refrain of the 5th track, Madame Sitrì. The lyrics refer to soldiers and sailors preferring to stay in Livorno than head for more uninviting destinations, but the track also seems to point to Bobo’s own reticence to leave his much loved home town. At the same time the nostalgic tones of the song hide hints of a harsher side to the city, with its reference to infamous local prostitute Madame Sitrì and the haven of a brothel.
The album has made such a difference to my day that I just had to write about it, though I cannot hide the fact that I have been a fan of Rondelli's for a long time. Perhaps I am betraying him by taking him (in his music) away from his beloved Livorno to far off England, and I hope he will forgive me.
Who knows what the British public will make of him. What really matters though is that the cd will keep me company, keep me smiling, and keep me singing out that already familiar refrain - Bella Livorno - until I come home again.