Instruments de la Paix
Francis of Assisi embodies the archetype of Universal Love, of brotherhood, simplicity, and sweetness. He belongs to all of humanity, beyond religions and dogmas, beyond all separations among beings, because each being is necessary and beautiful. Francis loved the infinitely small and the infinitely large. If his memory is so present among us today, it is precisely because of that, of that simple embrace, which encompasses the entire universe. Roberto Barbanti I met Francis of Assisi in the Prayer for Peace, which touched me by it's simplicity, it's obviousness.I didn't know much about him. He spoke to the birds and that was enough to make him my friend. One autumn night, something was triggered in me. A borrowed book, the company of glowing embers and a few words of Francis which sing and which laugh at space and time. Stunned, I discovered the canticle.The Call within. To create a sound universe, where the voice of these words can echo freely. To leave on a voyage with Francis as theme in quest of other words and their music... From the Middle Ages to the third millennium, I followed the thread of this theme, as in a game, with a child's lightness. From Rûmi to Dante, Angèle, Jacopone, Ryokan and Rilke, the thread became a ball, the ball a planet, but it was always the same truth. Beings who dare shed the material and plunge into the universal so as to root themselves in matter and take from it a fragment of freedom that opens their heart. The Love that leaps forth restores to life it's divine dimension. Moments of eternity. The voyage lasted five years. Heart pounding, I give you AMA. Valentina VITALE Author, composer, singer. Italian-Dutch, Valentina Vitale spent her childhood immersed in Italian popular music. She studied musicology at the Sorbonne, song writing at the CNR of Boulogne Billancourt, vocal jazz, composition and arrangement at the CIM and vocal improvisation at the Berklee University School of Music. She has created or is associated with a variety of different jazz ensembles, notably with the Valentina Vitale/Jacques Vigot Quartet and the Amarcorde Quintet, with which she has done numerous concerts (Elysée Montmartre, Latitudes, Beaubourg, Palais Garnier . . .), tours (France, Italy, Syria, Turkey), festivals, galas (EDHEC, ESSEC, ESCE . . .), cruises (on the Rhine, the Orient Express). She has dedicated the last ten years to writing and composition as well as to the teaching of her vocal experience. Instruments of Peace This disk proposes to discover through Francis of Assisi other men who, like him and almost simultaneously, created at different places on the planet, religious movements founded on asceticism, loss of ego, love of the other and especially the will toward peace with the self, with others, with life... Dôgen, Rûmî and others All contemporaries of Francis, founders like him of Orders which are still active and scattered to the four corners of the earth. After a very long history in which mutually ignorant religions fought with each other in the name of a universal truth possessed by each against the error of the other, recent research of historians is finding surprising similarities among the Franciscans and the Zen monks or Dervishes. Numerous points in common exist between the political, economic, social and religious situations in Europe and those of the Far East of the XIIth and XIIIth centuries; a parallel exists between the debasement of the Christian and Buddhist clergy, and the phenomenon of a belief in the end of the world is found among Christians in 1033 and Buddhists in 1052. Thus Dôgen (1200-1253), a pioneer of Mahayana Buddhism, inspired by a universal love, created a mendicant order based on poverty and love of one's neighbor. Since the XIIIth century the 'Brothers Minor' missionaries in China have been aware of a certain relation between their religious practices and those of the Buddhist monks encountered in their travels. The term 'Brothers Minor' derives from 'Brothers Major', a Sufi order founded by Najmuddin Kubra, whose miracles were famous in the East 60 years before the birth of Francis. His portraits show him surrounded by birds and he tamed a fierce dog simply by looking in it's eyes exactly as Francis did with the wolf of Gubbio des 'Fioretti'. Mawlana Rûmî (1207-1273), another contemporary of Francis, a poet like him, founder of the brotherhood of the Dervishes ('poor' in Persian) spoke with frogs and with dogs. The day of his funeral, many people from different communities and nations were present, Jews, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, etc... What are we to think of the Franciscan frock with it's hood and it's great sleeves, which is exactly like that of the Dervishes? Or again of the little known meeting of Francis with the Sultan Malik al-Kamil at Damiette, in the middle of the crusade, after terrible battles, which reflects Francis' desire to join the other beyond hatred and war. What is surprising is that these mystics who raised the search for God to the highest level found each other beyond religious differences. Self-depravation, forgetfulness of self, love of the other, pursuit of peace. These are the most evident of the points in common among these religious communities, which were born in the Middle Ages at different points on the planet and which are still active throughout the world... Francis of Assisi Francis was born in approximately 1182, of a French mother, Dame Pica, and of Bernadone, a rich fabric merchant from Assisi, who often traveled across the France of the troubadours to attend the fairs of Troyes or of Provence. Born rich and privileged, he dreamed of becoming a knight and aided by his father, he joined the war against Perouse, the neighboring city. Taken prisoner, he fell ill and during this long year, there grew in him the sense that he was made for better things. Upon his return to Assisi, he was scarcely twenty, but had lost his taste for parties and wandered alone in and around the churches of the city. ' Francis, go and repair my house which, as you see, has fallen entirely into ruins ' the crucifix in the church of Saint Damien said to him. Taking these words literally, Francis sold some fabrics and a horse belonging to his father to repair the church. But arguments with his father, who reproached him with squandering the family's money to help the poor, became more and more frequent. One angry day, his father pursued him and denounced him to the elders of the city. In the Episcopal court of Assisi, Francis renounced his heritage, divested himself even of the clothes he was wearing so as to owe nothing more to his father and declared that he was making God his father. For two years, he nursed lepers, repaired churches and began to beg from door to door for his food. In 1208, listening to the Gospel, he understood that his way was to follow it literally, into poverty. He discovered his vocation, that of preaching barefoot and penniless. He abandoned his hermit's clothing, fashioned a robe of coarse cloth in the form of a cross, and tied it with a cord. Quickly, men came to join him, and Francis left for Rome with eleven of his brothers to ask the Pope's blessing for this new path for the Church. Some women, called the clarisses, adopted the same style of life, following the first among them, Claire of Assisi, who had accompanied Francis when only a few brothers were with him. Then lay people wanted to follow the evangelical life while remaining in their families and jobs. The three orders of the Franciscans were born: the Brothers, the Clarisses, and the Laics. The community of the Brothers minor has grown and is now almost five thousand in number. In 1211, Francis tried to leave on a mission to Syria, but contrary winds pushed him into Dalmatia. Two years later, he left for Morocco taking the route of Saint James of Compostelle, but illness prevented him from going further. In 1219, he entrusted his community to it's own care and left for Acre where he converted some of the crusaders. At Damiette, he was distressed by the horror of battle and tried, by entering unarmed into the enemy camp, to convert the sultan of Egypt, Malik al-Kamil. Impressed by Francis' faith, the latter invited him to stay with them three days and then had his guards escort him out safe and sound. The news of the martyrdom of five brothers at Morocco and then of troubles in his community brought him back to Italy. In 1221, after having resigned his post as Minister General, he wrote the First Rule. But it was considered insufficiently concise and too encumbered with Biblical citations. He withdrew into the valley of Reiti and dictated to Brother Leon the Second Rule, then he revised it without the Biblically inspired articles and the requirements which were too severe. The rule was approved by Pope Honorius III in November 1223. In the same year, Francis created at Greccio the first Christmas crèche. He withdrew to Alverne and according to the story of three companions, in September 1224, a crucified seraphim descended from the sky and Francis received the stigmata of Christ. He continued to preach while sitting on a donkey. Exhausted, he retired to the environs of Saint Damien and composed the Canticle of Brother Sun. He died shortly afterward at the age of 45. He was canonized two years later. Avec Instruments de la Paix, Valentina Vitale et Michel MAGAT -auteur et co-auteur avec elle de l'ensemble des compositions ainsi que véritable alter-ego passionné de cet album- nous offrent un travail inspiré, nous faisant témoins de l'accomplissement d'un long parcours musical et poétique don't la richesse et la force étonnent par leur cohérence et simplicité. La source qui a éclairé ce parcours est François d'Assise, le prophète, le poète, personnage au carrefour des cultures, des spiritualités et des êtres qui peuplent notre Mère Terre, probablement le plus significatif de la chrétienté et sûrement un des plus émouvant et beau de l'humanité toute entière. François n'appartient à personne, mais chacun de nous peut s'identifier à lui et, au-delà de toute querelle d'église, de conviction, de foi ou autre, son expérience vécue peut offrir un abri existentiel et humain. Avec la vie de François, Valentina Vitale nous chante la vie toute entière. Elle a su rendre, avec légèreté et profondeur, la complexité et la multiplicité du message du 'Poverello', le 'Petit Pauvre' et reste fidèle à son idée d'authenticité, en réussissant ce pari difficile de fondre sa voix dans la totalité musicale, sans aucune volonté de domination, mais en la présentant tout simplement dans sa force nue. Chaque morceau est un univers à part entière. Un univers musical, linguistique, émotionnel et culturel différent, qui trouve cependant une continuité poétique et spirituelle limpide dans ce voyage métaphorique aux sources de la vie, depuis son éclosion jusqu'aurepliement en soi et le retour à la Terre. C'est ainsi qu'aux résonances des poèmes de François, de Dante et de Jacopone, qui fondent et donnent origine à la poésie italienne toute entière, font écho les vers en persan du grand poète de l'amour mystique, leur contemporain, Djalâl ud-Din Rûmi, la voix éclairée et humble du moine zen japonais Srâmana Ryokan et la sève profonde de la parole de Rainer-Maria Rilke. Tous ces mots, ces mots en italien, en français, en japonais, en anglais, en persan, en latin, en allemand, que Valentina Vitale a recueillis et chantés dans leurs sonorités originelles, trouvent une synthèse libre et juste dans cet idiome inclassable qu'est l'éolien, à découvrir dans l'un des morceau de l'album, 'langue du vent et de l'inénarrable' selon elle, langue du souffle, j'ajouterais, que seulement les oiseaux, les saints et les poètes parlent et comprennent. Une langue qui n'a pas d'autre sens que celui de l'amour, c'est-à-dire tous les sens. On retrouve dans ces compositions, dans la matière sonore de Michel Magat et dans la voix de Valentina Vitale une mosaïque d'univers musicaux et spirituels, de repères et de nuances, qui rendent cet album inclassable. Entre musiques nouvelles et musique savante, musique populaire et musique pop, musique jazz et religieuse, on ouvre ici une nouvelle voie avec des voix nouvelles. Cet album est une réussite qu'il faut saluer avec enthousiasme. Roberto Barbanti (5 Janvier 2003) Italo-hollandaise, Valentina Vitale a baigné toute son enfance dans le chant populaire italien. Elle a étudié la musicologie à la Sorbonne, l'art lyrique au CNR de Boulogne Billancourt, le chant jazz, la composition et l'arrangement au CIM et l'improvisation vocale à la Berklee University School of Music. Après ce sera plusieur années de scéne, de nombreux concerts ou tournées avec différentes formations de Jazz don't notamment le quartet Valentina Vitale/Jacques Vigot ou encore le quintet Amarcorde. Elle rencontre Michel Magat le russe breton autodidacte qui joue et compose seul avec ses 'machines' des musiques visuelles. Elle décide alors de prendre le temps de créer avec lui un univers musical qui lui permette d'exprimer ce qu'elle pressent de sa voix et du role de l'artiste. Instruments de la Paix est donc son premier album d'auteur compositeur interprète, impatiente de remonter sur scène, elle se prépare déja pour des concerts, tout en finnissant l'écriture d'un conte musical pour enfant ...