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Capossela: “Italy and me, and that inner world beyond the Adriatic”. Concert in Peja on Nov 8th

A show that delves into the past, sifts through present and looks to the future. In Peja, in the western region of Kosovo, on Tuesday 8 November Vinicio Capossela, the multi-instrumentalist songwriter (and novelist) performs on the closing day of the ‘Peja Jazz Festival’. The concert, realized with the support of the Italian Embassy in Pristina and the Italian Cultural Institute in Tirana as part of the integrated promotion plan “Vivere all’Italiana” (Living the Italian way), is scheduled at 8 pm at the “Jusuf Gërvalla” Cinema (Hasan Prishtina 73, Peja). Before the Kosovo stop, Capossela is on stage, also with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Belgrade (2 November), Shkodra (4 November), and Tirana (6 November); while immediately afterwards he performs in Skopje (9 November), as part of what he has named ‘Balkangiro’.

“It is an autumn journey that has been loved and desired for years, 26 to be exact. So many have passed since I made my first travel to what was once called Yugoslavia. It was like a world conversing with my childhood, a mirror world across the Adriatic. A quarter of a century later, it is as if across the sea that separates Italy from the Balkans, the undomesticated part of my heart continues to beat”, says Capossela. “Playing in Kosovo, then, has a special meaning. There are the wounds of History that have marked and continue to mark this country, which, however, looks ahead and dreams of Europe, where it deserves to be with the richness of its culture that is a crossroads of multiple traditions. My music is also a bit like that: there are echoes of Italian opera, swing, mythological rock, rural traditions, the spurious Dionysian Mediterranean, but also a bit of Balkan turbofolk”, he adds.

Accompanying the Italian artist on this journey are Victor Herrero (guitars), Andrea Lamacchia (double bass), Giovannangelo De Gennaro (viella and aulophones) and Vincenzo Vasi (theremin, drums).

“We are particularly happy to have Vinicio Capossela in Kosovo and in Peja in particular, for at least two reasons. Firstly, because through his production, he has always shown his closeness to the Balkans: his style and folk sounds recall many elements of the musical traditions of this region. Secondly, because Kosovo and in a special way the city of Peja have always been linked to Italy, which has played an active role in the peacekeeping mission since the end of the war, leading the Regional Command KFOR. In the people of Kosovo Capossela will find the Italy he pays homage to in his songs: that of the humble, of who knows how to be ingenious and how to be generous”, say the Italian Ambassador to Kosovo, Antonello De Riu, and the Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Tirana, Alessandro Ruggera.

In the days preceding Capossela’s concert, the Swiss-Albanian-British duo of Elina Duni and Rob Luft (5 November), Cuban Ana Carla Maza (6 November), and the Quartet led by Albanian Rona Nishliu (7 November) will perform at “Peja Jazz”. For Dardan Selimaj, Artistic Director of the Festival, “we are happy that we have curated a line-up of artists whom through their music will bring to the audience their valuable research into musical heritage in various regions around the world – turned into unique concert experience. The geniality of Vinicio Capossela will sign a peak mark on this beautiful music journey. We are extremely honored to welcome a great artist like him”.

Tickets for the individual concerts of ‘Peja Jazz’, at the symbolic price of 5 euros, can be purchased in the main cities in Kosovo. In Peja, they are on sale at the box office of “Jusuf Gervalla” Cinema, and are also available at the “Dio café”, “Exit bar” and “Fox bar”. In Pristina they are on sale at the “Dit’ e Nat” coffee shop and the “Bubble Pub”; in Prizren at the “Destil bar”; in Gjakova at the “Etno Bar”; in Mitrovica at the “7 Arte cultural centre” and the “Museum pub”.

Vinicio Capossela was born in Germany in 1965 to parents originally from a rural area near Naples, called Irpinia. He grew up artistically in the underground circuits of Emilia Romagna, until he was noticed and launched by songwriter Francesco Guccini. Debtor to much of 20th century literature, Capossela also wrote two books, Non si muore tutte le mattine (‘You don’t die every morning’, 2004) and Eclissica (2021). His first album All’una e trentacinque circa (‘At around 1.35 p.m.’) is from 1990; his musical turning point is represented by Il ballo di San Vito (‘The dance of San Vito’, 1996), defined by the artist himself not as an album, but as a plot. His latest work is the EP Bestiario d’amore (‘Bestiary of Love’), released on 14 February 2020, Valentine’s Day, produced by “La Cùpa” and distributed by “Warner Music Italy”. This work is based on the Bestiaire d’amour by Richard de Fournival, written in the mid-13th century.

The “Peja Jazz Festival” has been held in the homonymous Kosovar city since 2020. “When everything went dark due to the pandemic, the Festival came as a light of hope for the people of Peja and the jazz community”: this is what the organizers like to remind us. The aim of the Festival is to promote jazz music and artists, particularly from the Albanian scene. It serves as a unique platform to promote not just the importance of jazz and its history but also to bring communities together and learn from each other through concerts and workshops.