Blind Boy De Vita — Cumpà
It’s magic, really, when you experience something as being real all the while knowing that it isn’t. And it takes a master magician to walk you through the trick, show you its mechanics and then have you fall under its spell again when he actually performs it. Cumpà, the debut LP from Blind Boy De Vita, is very much about creating all types of illusions – stylistic, emotional, thematic – exposing them and then having you fall for them time and again. In a sense, listening to this record is like reading a postmodern novel, where you are inside and outside of the narrative, simultaneously. Where styles change constantly, fluidly and along with them the context and the affect.
Blind Boy refers to his music as a psychedelic, shamanistic seance. How else would you describe this seemingly inexhaustible polyphony of voices that he invokes? Or the way that he switches from English to a southern Italian dialect and then into some alien tongue that you’ve never heard before – going from pathos to comedy, channel surfing through emotions like a maniac. But, of course, this only works because you’re dealing with a master musician. His guitar work is impeccable, and these compositions are arranged for acoustic guitar and voice only, both wildly expressive and full of stylistic citations. The playing connects the dots between prog-rock, mandinca, mascandi, North African trance music, flamenco, americana and even hints at metal at times. His singing is equally eclectic, beautiful and equally unhinged.
As far as biographical details are concerned, the man is almost two meters tall, he was shot in his right eye as a child, hence the moniker. His first instrument was the saxophone, which he picked up at the age of 10. He spends most of his time traveling between Italy, Switzerland, Senegal and Madagascar, places that have moulded him spiritually and musically, and where a big portion of this material was written. He recorded Cumpà alone, learning the studio craft by doing. Last, but not least, he will release the record as a delicious bar of fairtrade chocolate.
|Mouthwatering Records, Nadine Schärer
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