FRANCESCO “BLU BIRD” FILIZZOLA
SINGER, AUTHOR, and TRUMPETER.
What is the relationship between your artistic and music research and the rural world of your Lucanian childhood?
My music education has been greatly influenced by the family environment where I grew up. My paternal grandfather was classical music composer, while the maternal grandfather was a farmer – and a deep admirer of folk music. This dualism proved crucial for me. Since I was a child, I experienced a mixture of different genres and apparently distant worlds that actually often meet. Thanks to my maternal grandfather, I had the opportunity to get close to the folk traditional music in the place where it was created, i.e. on the fields. where people strummed the organ, the accordion, etc. The fact I lived and heard this, it affected me and still influences my lyrics and the music -- I have been branded by my origins.
Talking about the traditions of my land is something I want to carry on. I believe that we have the right to benefit from the traditional and rural culture of our villages, but also that we have a duty to pass it on to future generations.
Do you use the regional dialect when you write your lyrics?
The dialect is essential for me; it allows me to express what I feel in the best way. The dialect has an expressive force that the Italian language does not have. In London, my songs in dialect are much appreciated because they can rouse strong emotions in the audience. Expressing myself and bringing my true origins to light allowed me to experiment something original and this is very much appreciated in London clubs.
How is it possible to speak of innovation for the rural world?
The rural world keeps its charm because it has not been completely contaminated by innovation. If it had been excessively permeated by technology, it would not have the peculiarities, poetry, or magic that distinguishes it and make it - precisely - rural.
Innovation is a double-edged weapon that should be used sparingly to prevent changing the social, cultural and environmental features of the territory. Innovation must simply contribute by providing new ways, such as the internet and social media, to inform people about them and to spread knowledge in greater contexts. This is what happened for example in the case of the Melanzana Rossa (red eggplant) and the Fagiolo Poverello bean from the province of Rotonda.
What recipe, place, or object takes you back to your Lucanian Childhood?
An object that for me symbolises the rural world where I come from is the wood-fired oven. Making bread means not just kneading; it is about sowing, cultivating , harvesting and grinding wheat and then making bread. For me bread is a real creation, and the synthesis of the rural world. I am particularly fond of my grandmother’s ragu sauce. Its scent filled the house every Sunday morning. She started cooking at 7am and, around 11am, I used to sneak into the kitchen to try the sauce on a slice of bread. This memory evokes me my sense of family. When I am in London and I prepare ragu sauce, it always reminds me of my childhood and the people who have been part of it.
After some years of classical trumpet studies, Francesco decided to study a different instrument -- his voice. In a few years, thanks to the fusion of various vocal techniques, his voice gained a unique expressive personality. In the meantime he moved to London, where he experimented and studied Mongolian throat singing. This, combined with his background, gave his voice a very original timbre.
His main project is the Colomboloco band, which was started in 2010. He sings, plays the trumpet and writes most of the music and lyrics. Last March, the band performed their first album, Luz, in London, Covent Garden. Luz embraces different styles of music such as Latin & gipsy jazz, tango, ska, reggae, pizzica, opera. Francesco sings and plays also for the Solus3 band.
All his musical compositions show intense colours and vibrations which come from his Mediterranean roots.