ROCCO DE ROSA
MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER
In my music, you can find a certain way of relating to life which I gained from the rural world. It corresponds to the essence; it does not use too many frills and gets to the substance. It is as essential, simple, and precise as the gestures of the peasants.
In your opinion, what is the relationship between creativity and the rural world?
The first thing that comes to my mind is the rhythms of life that are marked by those of nature, of the harvests and works in the fields.
In the everyday life I believe that having those apparently huge mental and time spaces is the ideal condition for a person who works in the artistic field and who needs to find the right concentration and inspiration. It is no coincidence that I wrote more 80 per cent of my music in Lucania.
What aspects of the rural Lucanian world have influenced your artistic creativity?
I lived for a long time in Basilicata. I lived the everyday life of the rural world and found that it was favourable for inspiration – something I could not find in a big city. I am referring to the level of quietness. Each place has its own silence — I have said that many times. There are places in Lucania where I recognise the silence of my childhood, like in Oppido Lucano. Despite the changes that are happening, I can still find that silence in Matera. When I come in autumn and walk through the city, I feel that silence too. I do not know if it is just suggestion, but I can clearly recognise the doors squeak and the quality of the silence that I need. In my music, you can find a certain way of relating to life which I gained from the rural world. It corresponds to the essence; it does not use too many frills and gets to the substance. It is as essential, simple, and precise as the gestures of the peasants. Right now, I am listening to my old records, where I can find this simplicity and essentiality. This is not banality, but rather the repetition of ancient gestures, made in that natural way of those who inherited secular traditions. What I cherish from the Lucanian world is the tempo of life, the time of living time, the rhythm that unites the cultures of South Italy and the Mediterranean. When in Basilicata you meet the elders sitting and contemplating the horizon, and you ask how they are doing they answer “I am.” This answer represents the attitude to contemplation; this does not mean a waste of time, but to stay connected to nature, the landscape and the light. In my music there is a great contemplation, there are pieces that have almost hypnotic structures which are designed to induce this state of meditation.
If you think about Lucanian food traditions, which one comes to your mind and why?
Every year, all my friends come to my Roman house at 11 o’clock on a Sunday in May to participate in the festival of Cavatello. I teach them how to make the typical pasta of Oppido Lucano and I cook ancient Lucanian dishes with crusco pepper as the main ingredient. Two dishes most represent my childhood. The first one is pork, which I don’t eat often, but when I do it reminds me of my childhood. The pork has to be prepared, seasoned and cured. I remember the days when the pig was butchered, during lunch we carved off bits of meat and fried it with fennel seeds and crusco pepper powder. It had an unforgettable taste. The other typical dish of Oppido, that I couldn’t find any more in any other Lucanian villages, is a “ciambotta” of large fried peppers with tomatoes, eggs and cheese, and this has also has an extraordinary taste.
With Sonoaria (2014) Rocco De Rosa created a language of synthesis where his innate ability to mix many different styles enabled him to create new ones, while the freshness of the themes evoked a personal path of sound investigation without sacrificing the pleasantness of listening.