Pianissimo

image: Salvatore D’Agostino

‘Pianissimo – libri sulla strada’ was the name of a travelling library I toured with in Sicily 2012. I met Filippo Nicosia, the creator while I was working on an organic farm near Catania. He was just beginning his first trip. This old Fiat van in the photo above (alongside Filippo, his three brothers and myself playing Cuatro) was full of independent books. He had organised a tour covering many small villages across Sicily which don’t have libraries or book shops. This came from his concern of the rising illiteracy rate and scarcity of libraries in Sicily. When ‘pianissimo’ arrived in a village – which had prior agreed to host them -they would set up their stand of books. He created a temporary dynamic public space from where they read passages from books and invited members of the public to do so too. The audience were able to buy the books which helped cover the costs of the journey. I fell in love with the idea and we travelled together across Sicily and its surrounding remote islands over the next month in his van. We performed music together on many occasions to accompany the readings. 2013-09-15 09.54.41The journeys were one of a kind. We covered so much of Sicily in this small, sometimes unreliable but cosy van which seemed to have a personality of its own. His name in fact, is Leggiu. You could really feel a difference compared to a modern vehicle especially when driving down old country lanes. What was different was that you could feel all the bumps in the road which gave you a more direct connection to the road. We also couldn’t travel very fast and so it gave us time to take in the view, warm air and countryside smells. Every now and then Leggiu would overheat and we would have to stop and pour water over the engine to cool him down. This journey and encounter with Filippo was a welcomed surprise. It was so unexpected and after having worked on organic farms for the last two months across Italy I deeply enjoyed the spontaneity and freedom of our days. I don’t know if I had imagined that such a lifestyle could exist or that I could be a part of it. Pianissimo has been an inspiration for me. This time I’d like to invest in my own camper van. It provided me with some experience of how a project like this works from ideas and dreams to finding sponsors and experiencing the real thing. It’s amazing, all of the interesting places and people you meet along the way. I see mobile spaces like this ideal to fuel my creativity. Furthermore they provided opportunities for me to perform my songs to a diversity of audiences of which showed me lots of recognition. Reference to my songs features in La Republica Italia and Isola Degli Asini.

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