Alessio Arena and Calmo, pop ballad for the two Neapolitan songwriters

twelve o’clock, June 17, 2021 – 09:49 am

The single «The powder» in an exclusive preview for Corriere del Mezzogiorno

of Giuliano Delli Paoli

“Yet, love, I think of you when they say on the news that there is no more hope to save the ice of Antarctica. Among the white teeth of the earth is plastic. […] I have my reasons for not believing it was meant to be away from the things I loved and they resemble this good humor of mine. If I regret that there is still a place where we are hand in hand, a house that we do not need to clean ourselves, from the dreams we did not share and from the dust. And it doesn’t land on that box that I close and open every single day ». In the verses of the single «The powder» by Alessio Arena and Calmo, an exclusive preview for the Corriere del Mezzogiorno, and from 18 June available on streaming platforms, matter divided into particles dear to giants like William Shakespeare, “Praise more the slightly golden dust than the dusty gilding”, or to contemporary authors like Stefano Benni, “Inside a ray of sun coming through the window, sometimes we see life in the air. And we call it dust “, becomes the key element of a metaphor that is repeated between one verse and another, for a romantic and sui generis pop ballad, in which there is no lack of ecological references so dear to the new generations, and unusual confessions of an often uncomfortable everyday life that is rarely told in music today: “Whoever sleeps next to you will have the eyes of anger when you snore.”

The first collaboration

A song about destiny and, indeed, about distance that ends up inexorably influencing a couple’s relationship, however young and purposeful: «The dust – explains Arena – is a constant presence in everyday life. It is nice to see children as they are surprised to discover the specks of dust against the light. And who sings imagine that this dust is also made of unspoken words, the ones that often lead to the end of a relationship. In the song one imagines a house that we do not have to clean by ourselves, by unshared dreams and dust ». For the two young Neapolitan songwriters it is the first collaboration. A duet born from an intuition of Arena, who composed the original version, and the result of a friendship that began during the last lockdown: «My father – Calmo says – was totally obsessed with Alessio’s music. He often played one of his video clips on TV and the whole family gathered to share it together. One of these times, I decided to capture the moment in a photo. I then sent it to Alessio and paid him my compliments. I didn’t know him personally. But through social media it is now easy to contact anyone. The problem, if anything, is just getting an answer. Fortunately, Alessio is a kind and humble person. So he thanked me and, indeed, became curious about my musical project to the point of sending me a guitar and voice demo of what would later become «The Dust», proposing to work on it together. My challenge was to contribute to the piece with a modern and electronic touch, without affecting the elegance and simplicity of the original version ». With four prizes won, three of which with the song “Los niños que vuelan” contained in his latest album “Atacama!” – best text, Critics award, Artists in competition award – and one for the best interpretation with the song by Andrea Parodi “Ninna noa”, at the last edition of the “Andrea Parodi Award”, the only European world music contest, Alessio Arena, Neapolitan singer-songwriter and writer based in Barcelona, ​​is confirmed as one of the most authentic and true talents of Neapolitan and Spanish song. A gentle minstrel, a lover both of pop and of folklore in its classical meaning: “I always promise myself that I will never again participate in an award where my music is judged, therefore also the most fragile and most intimate part of me, but in the end dynamics appear punctually that push me to give light to my project. In particular, it was also an opportunity to celebrate Andrea’s music and to pay him a tribute. I was very happy to receive the award for the best interpretation for his lullaby in Sardinian ».

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Songwriter and director

If Arena is a sailed chansonnier divided between Campania and Catalonia, Luigi Ferrara, aka Calmo, is an emerging singer-songwriter on the indie scene of the city. In 2018 he wrote two unreleased songs for Laszlo Barbo’s film “Niente di Serio”, performing continuously in all the provinces of Campania as one-man-band. Ferrara has in fact been a multi-instrumentalist since the age of ten who loves various themes and styles. One of his latest songs, «Vaccino», published in March 2020, also ended up in the episode «Vax populi» of Blob on Rai 3 in a live version: «Prince gave me the groove – Calmo reveals – but Radiohead me they gave the mood and the conception of art. Coldplay finally conveyed to me what it means to make quality pop. Pino Daniele undoubtedly stands out among the favorite musicians of my land: I can listen to his albums in loop every day and never get tired ». Videomaker by passion, Calmo is also the director of his video clips: «I can’t have memories – says the musician – in which I was not tied to the audio / video world. It has been my main passion since I was a child ». The passion parallel to Alessio Arena’s music is instead writing. The singer-songwriter of the Spanish quarters is in fact also an appreciated writer. Several novels written over the last ten years, including the lucky “The night does not want to come”, published in 2018 by Fandango Libri, in which he narrates the last journey of the unforgettable Gilda Mignonette to Naples, the city that sang for half a century and which made her the “queen of emigrants”. «At the beginning of September – reveals Arena – my new novel will be published, published once again for Fandango Libri, entitled Ninna nanna delle flies. It is a story that I collected in the north of Chile, where I discovered a community of Lucanian migrants who later led me to a small town in Basilicata, Oppido Lucano, which was called Palmira before the unification of Italy. There I discovered the love story of two farmers, who were cursed by the community and separated. One of them was sent to the sodium nitrate mines in Chile. I wanted to tell their story because for me it is a little tale of love and revolution. The novel will then be accompanied by a recital that I built around this relationship, therefore transformed into songs, some unpublished and others from the Southern and Chilean traditions. In addition, there will also be short films on stage by the Neapolitan anthropologist and director Luigi Di Gianni ».

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June 17, 2021 | 09:49



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