Canale Milva

La pantera, l’aquila e la tigre: Dive #2

Con la partecipazione di: Marara Kelly Stefania Carlotti Xinyi HU Youmna Saba rita elhajj
Curata da: Giada Olivotto & Camilla Paolino
In onda da: autunno 2023


Opening song: ⋆。°✩ Milva, “Lady Luna,” 1961 ✩°。

Dear listeners, welcome back to CANALE MILVA: the web radio platform that has been exploring the format of the sound exhibition since the summer 2020. The starting point of our sound exhibitions is always some classic of the Italian song, selected for you by Giada Olivotto and Camilla Paolino and re-interpreted by the visual artists invited for each occasion. Today, we record for you from Lugano the second episode of our column “La Pantera, L’Aquila e La Tigre” (the panther, the eagle, and the tigress).

As our most affectionate listeners may know, this column is built around three legendary figures, namely the Panther of Goro, the Eagle of Ligonchio and the Tigress of Cremona. These were the epithets attributed to three divas of Italian song, respectively: Milva (so-called panther, whose song “Lady Luna” we heard in the beginning of the episode), Iva Zanicchi, and Mina. In short, three extraordinary women who ended up taking on zoomorphic and fantastical traits in the eyes of their fans, because of their roaring, ringing or biting voices, but also because of their posture and stage presence, and the ability they had to make space for themselves and defy costumes.

We are happy to announce that the second sound exhibition of the column “La Pantera, L’Aquila e La Tigre” includes pieces by rita elhajj, who worked in collaboration with Youmna Saba, Stefania Carlotti, Marara Kelly, and Xinyi HU, whom we take the opportunity to greet and thank from the bottom of our hearts. We hence present today four heterogeneous sound pieces, through which we’ll get to know the new divas of this increasingly crowded pantheon. Let us listen together to their sound, singing, and spoken compositions, inspired by the mythical figures of the Tigress of Cremona, the Eagle of Ligonchio, and the Panther of Goro. Dear listeners, enjoy!

We begin our listening with the sound piece composed for us by Lebanese artist rita elhajj, in collaboration with Youmna Saba. The piece is titled “Amid a swarm of stars,” which, playing on ordinary polysemy, we could translate as “nel mezzo di uno sciame di stelle,” but also as “nel mezzo di uno sciame di dive.” Between metaphors and analogies, the piece reviews and alters a number of epithets traditionally employed to refer to famous Lebanese singers, drawing from the vocabulary of the cosmos. Listening to it, one feels as if floating between the embodied epistemologies of the night, the stars, the sun, and the galaxies, where the boundary between corporeal and metaphysical blurs. Sunk in an atmosphere of electro rhythms, rita elhajj’s voice recites a composition inspired by Lebanese poet and artist Etel Adnan’s conception of the night, as expressed in her book “Night.” The piece also hints at some of the reflections encompassed in rita elhajj’s recent publication, evocatively titled “Under water and up in the air.” And now, without further ado, here is to you “Amid a swarm of stars.”

⋆。°✩ rita elhajj, in collaboration with Youmna Saba, “Amid a swarm of stars,” 5m8s ✩°。⋆

Many thanks to rita elhajj and Youmna Saba for sharing their narrative and poetic talents with us. And now we move on to the next diva in our column: Xinyi HU, a visual artist, born in Kaiping, China, and passionate about the diverse and endless perspectives through which to observe the human body. Xinyi HU, for this occasion has decided to share with us and with you memories collected throughout her life. For a long time, indeed, the artist has been making recordings during daily commutes, travels, or moments of inspiration, thus leaving fragments of melody on the recorder, with which to later interact by means of electronic keyboard or household objects, such as chairs and cups. Over time, this collection of melodic fragments has composed the artist’s sound diary. The analogy inscribing this sound piece within our quest relates to the underlying exploration of the myths and songs of pop culture, which the artist reads as the fruits of an encounter between reality, memories, and fantasy. These fruits, to be devoured, remain in the memory like grains of sand deposited by the torrent of information flowing through it. Let us thus drop into Xinyi HU’s pockets and follow her on this walk, while listening to the sound piece “Walking on the Sands of Memory.”

⋆。°✩ Xinyi HU, “Walking on the Sands of Memory,” 16m52s ✩°。⋆

We have just listened to “Walking on the Sands of Memory” by artist Xinyi HU, whom we thank again. And now, we continue our listening with “mARARA story,” a proposal by Marara Kelly.

As Camilla said, the episode continues with a sound contribution by Marara Kelly, a DJ and artist who bases her musical research on the Amazonian sounds of northern Brazil, crossing them with the baile funk of Rio de Janeiro. With the sound piece “mARARA story,” the artist opens for us a portal to her country but also, and above all, to the personal universe of Marara Kelly, her alter ego. An enchanted creature and, at the same time, a Pop star, this alter ego has been evolving since six years ago. The sound piece we are about to listen to is an immersion in the very concept of diva: a swim in a rhythmic and sensual river, surrounded by Arara parrots repeating the artist’s name. It is in fact a journey into the myth of the diva and the issues haunting her, related to the cult to celebrity and the stereotypes that plague her. As the Panther of Goro would say: “They say of me, that I am insolent.” Let us be carried by the melodies of this charismatic journey, entitled “mARARA story.” Dear listeners, here is to you: Marara Kelly!

⋆。°✩ Marara Kelly, “mARARA story,” 9m48s ✩°。⋆

We have just listened to “mARARA story” by artist Marara Kelly, whom we thank once again. And now, we end our listening with “Absolute Beginning,” by Italian artist Stefania Carlotti.

We conclude indeed with a conceptual piece by Italian artist Stefania Carlotti, entitled “Absolute Beginning,” which may sound like nonsense, but, as we shall see, it is not. “Absolute Beginning” is the title of a made-up LP, consisting of two singles that are meant to start but stop almost immediately, getting bogged down in a repetition that leaves no way out. These are “Alexanderplatz” by the Panther of Goro, and “Brava” by the Tigress of Cremona, whose opening notes are extrapolated and then repeated for the actual duration of the original song, as if something had jammed during the song’s playing. Like the tune of a song that gets into your head and haunts you all day long (and here we turn our thoughts to the famous “zumzumzumzum” sung about by the tigress, to be exact), these haunting sonic spirals bring to mind the effects of the promotional strategies applied to spread certain songs, which are incessantly passed around on the radio and TV until they become veritable hits. A mechanism that can apply to a song, as we said, but also to the respective singer, making her, in the long run, a celebrity. That is, a diva. The piece closes with Mina’s voice alluding to the circularity of time and of the record, laughing and wondering whether to do “it all over again.” And here it is: “Absolute Beginning”!

⋆。°✩ Stefania Carlotti, “Absolute Beginning,” 6m ✩°。⋆

Thank you very much Stefania Carlotti for this piece of fanfiction on which this second episode of “La pantera, l’aquila, la tigre” column closes. Now what? We start all over again! LOL

As always, we would like to thank the artists and all those who collaborated in the realization of this new sound exhibition. We also take the opportunity to warmly thank our new home, Laptop Radio, for the hospitality and support, as well as Pro Helvetia, Oertli Stiftung, and the association Magica Opalini for generously supporting our sound project. Thank you very much, our faithful listeners, for following us since the summer of 2020! We’ll talk to you again, with the next episode of CANALE MILVA!

Closing song: ⋆。°✩ Milva, “Lady Luna,” 1961 ✩°。⋆
Other references: ⋆。°✩ Mina, “Zum zum zum,” 1968 ✩°。⋆