Battiato’s stele


A year after the Italian musician’s death, two books published in Spain recall the eclectic figure who was also a philosopher and painter

One year ago today Franco Battiato died at his home in Milo, Sicily. Singer, musician, painter, philosopher and eclectic figure where they exist, the idiosyncratic singer-songwriter from Catania, with a big nose and lanky silhouette, has been away from the music scene since 2017 due to illness. His death shocked Italy, of course, but also Spain. It was his facet as a musician that catapulted him to success in our country, perhaps because he interpreted much of his material in Spanish. Albums like ‘Ecos de danzas sufi’ were translated verse by verse and songs like ‘Center of permanent gravity’ or ‘I want to see you dance’ were sung by the thousands of fans who had them. in our country.

The most curious thing, however, is that very little bibliography was published in Spain until the day of his death: only a biography as such entitled ‘Franco Battiato’, which Eduardo Margaretto published via Cátedra in 1990. Now two books have been published. In our country they remember this Italian who explored new musical paths through electronics and synthesizers. “I was very surprised by the lack of texts about him in Spanish,” says Eduardo Laporte, who started writing his special biography about ‘il Nostro’, as he affectionately calls it that same May 18 a year ago. . This is how ‘In the Presence of Battiato’ (Silex) was born, a biographical approach written in record time and which has been in Spanish-language bookstores since November last year.

Journalist and writer Laporte feared that there wouldn’t be much life behind Battiato’s work. “I’ve been listening to his songs since I was little,” he explains. «Thanks to him I discovered music, with the last violins of ‘I want to see you dance’». It was the late 1980s when programs like ‘Tocata’ revealed this hieratic and different musician, civilized but also commercial, to the general public.

“I knew his music quite well but not so much his life and I doubted it was worth telling. Fortunately, I found not only the conflict, but the path of one who makes himself and achieves double success: the interior and the exterior,” says the author of “In the presence of Battiato”, with a prologue by the Florentine writer Alessandro Gianetti .

Battiato could have been a mainstream hit singer, in the style of Tony Dallara or Al Bano, but he chose to go his own way. It is what Laporte calls “the Battiato Way”, and it has to do with his teacher Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way and the introduction of mysticism into his daily life. It is the most spiritual angle with which Laporte has approached this biography, which is about to enter its third edition.

In addition to this book, in 2022 there have been more approaches to the figure of the Sicilian musician, such as that of Chema Domínguez in ‘Diagonal Battiato’, published in Muzikalia, the publishing label of the musical news website, which has already edited conversation books with Fernando Alfaro and Antonio Luque . A work that analyzes the songs of the Italian, with testimonies of key players in the music scene, musicians as well as journalists and critics, and statements by Battiato himself.

Source: La Verdad


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