MUSIC, POETRY, SET DESIGN AND COSTUMES FOR BENEDETTA CAPPELLAZZO, SINGER-SONGWRITER WHO BELIEVES IN THE MULTIDISCIPLINARY UNION OF THE ARTS
BENEDETTA CAPPELLAZZO FIORA ALSO KNOWN AS MESOGLEA, YOU’RE A 25-YEAR-OLD SINGER-SONGWRITER FROM MONZA, GRADUATED IN SCENOGRAPHY AT THE ACCADEMIA DI BRERA IN MILAN AND THEN A STUDENT AT THE TEATRO REGIO DI PARMA AS A COSTUME DESIGNER; YOUR CAREER IS LINEAR AND COHERENT WITH YOUR NEED FOR EXPRESSION, CULTIVATED THANKS TO FAMILY FIGURES, THE MOTHER DANCER AND THE ART-LOVING FATHE
No one at home played an instrument or ever suggested to me to take a singing course or to study music. However, an uncle of mine pushed me to open a window to this world, telling me stories and anecdotes about musicians and various musical genres. His house full of vinyl, CDs and a beautiful record player made my forays into the territory of these 'objects' for listening to music, collected with care and passion, fascinating. A passion that, almost without realizing it, was gradually, naturally and joyfully passed on to me.
YOU ALWAYS SPEAK OF SPONTANEITY AND TRANSPARENCY IN YOUR APPROACH TO THE 'THINGS' OF ART AND IN PARTICULAR TO MUSIC: YOUTH CERTAINLY HELPS IN THIS ATTITUDE, AS THE RANDOMNESS OF PROPITIOUS EVENTS SEEMS TO SET EVERYTHING UP FOR THE BEST...
I have a memory of me, I don't know exactly how old I was but still a little girl, printing out the lyrics of the songs I liked, so that I would be more comfortable singing them once I put the chosen CD in my stereo (the one I remember singing the most is Elisa's 'Lotus') or played a song on YouTube. I had lyrics scattered everywhere and sang without realizing how easy or difficult it was, thinking I was on a stage in front of a microphone and an audience.
But I would only do it if no one was home or, if not, I would close the door and sing softly so as not to be heard. But one day, when I was singing in the living room in front of the TV while my parents were preparing dinner in the kitchen, my father, strangled, said to me: "But is there someone else singing?" and I said: "No, it's me!" and he replied amazed: "Me?" I was dubbing the singer, harmonizing his voice with a countermelody. I realized that I was totally immersed in what I was doing, I was in the music, spontaneously and deeply and the game was up.
YOUR FIRST REAL PUBLIC PERFORMANCE WAS AT THE AGE OF 12, ACCOMPANIED ON THE PIANO BY A FRIEND, SINGING "HOMETOWN GLORY" BY ADELE; THEN YOU ENROLLED IN ART HIGH SCHOOL, CHOOSING SCENOGRAPHY, A NEW PASSION THAT LED YOU TO ATTEND THE ACCADEMIA DI BRERA, GRADUATING IN THIS DISCIPLINE. THE THEATRE AND ITS POWERFUL APPEAL SEEMED TO TAKE OVER FROM THE SPONTANEITY OF YOUR CHILDHOOD APPROACH TO MUSIC...
Nothing happens by chance, the visual arts are part of my experience and memories that shaped my adolescence: my dad always wanted to be an interior architect and he always took me to see exhibitions, often pointing out their spatial display, how they were set. My mum, who is a teacher and headmistress of a dance school, introduced me to the world in front of and behind the theatrical scenes. At the end of all the performances she put on - rigorously in the theatre - I would go up on stage to join her in the dressing room and then help pick up the costumes, props or simply clean the stage.
Frequenting this mysterious place, both as a spectator and as an 'insider' (between set designer and dancer), I realized that, for me, the Theatre is a magic box in which worlds, where you can immerse and lose yourself and then find yourself again, in a continuous play of roles and meanings, are created.
YOUR DEGREE THESIS IN SCENOGRAPHY WAS ENTITLED: "JAZZ - HISTORY OF FREE MUSIC, FROM THE ORIGINS TO CONTEMPORANEITY. PROJECT: OUR ROOTS BEGAN IN AFRICA'. YOU TOLD ME IT WAS A TURNING POINT...WHAT IMPACT DID IT HAVE ON YOUR ARTISTIC EDUCATION?
I focused my thesis on the combination of music and costume, linking the origins of jazz to African culture, from which that music draws many of its characteristics: dance rhythms, singing and rituality, also expressed in the colours and shapes of the typical clothes of most African populations handed down to this day. This study led me to study theatre costume at the Teatro Regio in Parma.
It fascinates me to consider the costume as an inner mirror of a character, as an expression of his/her psychology, giving back fundamental details to the completeness of the scene and the direction. I think that today theatre and fashion are very closely linked and that, in general, with a dress, you communicate your personality, your way of being and thinking, in a similar way to what happens on stage: theatre and life use similar visual codes with costumes and clothes, they reflect the feeling of an era and the culture of those who live in it. Handling textiles, processing them, dyeing them, sewing them up, gives me great emotion. I hope to soon realize the exhibition 'Our roots began in Africa', I don't want it to remain just on paper. I think it is a stimulus, an important challenge to realize different aspects of my artistic vision, a 360° vision of Benedetta-Mesoglea.
YOUR STAGE NAME AS A MUSICAL PERFORMER, MESOGLEA, REFERS TO AN ANATOMICAL PART OF THE JELLYFISH, WHICH IS A SEA CREATURE THAT STRIKES US WITH ITS TRANSPARENCY AND ITS INCORPOREAL FLUIDITY THAT MAKES IT METAMORPHIC. IT MOVES SINUOUSLY, FASCINATINGLY, AND MYSTERIOUSLY; IT ENCHANTS US AND AT THE SAME TIME FRIGHTENS US. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS NAME, WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU? TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT HOW YOUR ADVENTURE BEGAN AS A SONGWRITER.
The idea of extreme transparency, the relationship with water, and its mysterious and vital continuous movement seemed to me to reflect well my soul and my thoughts on the world. I feel in myself the enigma, but also the sincerity of discovering myself to others through the sound of my voice and the lyrics of the songs I perform. Medusa, a mythological figure, was too much though; I preferred a more cryptic name, an anatomical detail of her, but one that expressed well these two tensions, enigma and solution, transparency and mystery.
When in 2009 I met the guitarist and producer Claudio Cupelli, I began to share the desire to make music. I wrote some lyrics while listening to his songs and played them to him, and in 2016 the real Mesoglea and the first EP, "Love Again" with my first real song "Again" (written in 2012), were born. It's five tracks that mix acoustic and electronic sounds, a short journey into my inner world, without precise reference canons. I then started performing alone or with a guitar and a drum-pad with my friends Federico Girgenti and Matteo Consonni accompanying me, and released new tracks until 'Vivisection Of A Heart', the penultimate single, which reminds me a lot of that first EP. These are productions that arouse the same emotions in me, beyond the limit and temporal distance, a sign that the road travelled has a truth and sincerity that will not change over time
LISTENING TO THIS TRACK ON YOUTUBE, 'VIVISECTION OF A HEART', I CAN PERCEIVE IN YOUR VOICE A TIMBRAL SEARCH IN THE HIGH REGISTER THAT MAKES YOUR SOUND UNSTABLE AND CHANGEABLE, TRANSPARENT, DIAPHANOUS, BUT ALSO EERIE, MYSTERIOUS; ALL REINFORCED BY THE DARK UNDERLYING LAYER, DARK, EARTHY ELECTRONIC SOUNDS WITH JUST A HUMAN HINT OF THE PIANO. IN SHORT, A JELLYFISH FEARLESSLY SWIMMING OVER A DARK SEABED. IN "AGAIN", THERE IS INDEED SOMETHING SIMILAR MUSICALLY, YOUR VOICE DANCING HYPNOTICALLY OVER AN EQUALLY HYPNOTIC BACKDROP, ALL HUMAN, MARINE AND OTHERWORLDLY AT THE SAME TIME. TELL US ABOUT YOUR STRONGEST INFLUENCES, THE MUSIC AND GENRES THAT MOST APPEAL TO YOU, AND YOUR CHOICE TO SING IN ENGLISH. ARTISTS LIKE BJÖRK FOR EXAMPLE...
Let me first say that 'Vivisection of a heart' is in and of itself a song about fragility, an open-hearted confession of how much it hurts to lay bare one's deepest emotions. And I think when you listen to it, you can feel all that... 'It's hard to open up my heart, so difficult and painful', which is the first verse. My personal experiences inspire the melodies and lyrics I write as much as, of course, the music I listen to. Björk, and in particular her song 'Venus As A Boy, is definitely a good reference, but I have also been influenced by Massive Attack, Portishead, Morcheeba but also by very different voices, such as Aretha Franklin or Robert Plant. The melodies, timbres and colours that I have listened to and I still listen to influence my inspiration and musical thinking more or less directly. For now, my lyrics are written in English, because in this way I can be spontaneous, but I would, of course, like to write and sing also in Italian. I have a few new songs in the pipeline but I'm waiting to handle them with more... 'care'!
IN THE EP 'LOVE AGAIN' THERE ARE ACOUSTIC TRACKS, ALSO HYPNOTIC, YOUR VOICE FLOATS UNDULATING OVER SIMPLE GROUND BASSES OF THE ACOUSTIC GUITAR, AND YOUR VOCAL TIMBRE SHIFTS INTO HIGH NOTES, REMINDING ME AT TIMES OF EARLY KATE BUSH. BEAUTIFUL AND EQUALLY FASCINATING ARE THE ELECTRONIC-ACOUSTIC MELODIES, WHERE THIS TRANSPARENT TIMBRE OF YOURS ALWAYS SEEMS TO BE SEARCHING FOR A HOME, A PLACE TO LAND ON YOUR SONIC JOURNEY.
IN THE NEW EP 'AURORA', BUT ALSO IN THE PREVIOUS 'POISON' OR IN 'LOFI', THERE ARE INSTEAD NOVELTIES AND DIFFERENT SOUNDS, ELECTRONIC DRUMS FOR EXAMPLE; THE TRACKS ARE MORE 'SONGS' IN STRUCTURE AND MORE EXPLICIT IN MELODIC WRITING, WITH CLEAR REFERENCES TO EDM AND TO DANCE MUSIC, BUT ALWAYS SUBJECT TO YOUR NATURAL EXPRESSIVE TENDENCY THAT MIXES A DARK SIDE WITH A SONG SUSPENDED IN YOUR FLOATING SKY-SEA. CAN YOU TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT THESE TWO DIFFERENT INFLUENCES, IN WHICH DIRECTION IS THE NEW MESOGLEA HEADING?
During 2022 I decided to expand the band that accompanies me live with a second guitarist, Lorenzo Villa, and a bass and synth player, Daniele Zini. As a result, a new work is coming out in 2023. Written and produced entirely by us, with the help of Luca Corno as a sound engineer, it is an interweaving of worlds and colours on a continuous journey between intimate and reflective scenarios and a more groovy and sunny mood, combining the first electronic sounds with a more acoustic but new dimension, which takes its cue from different musical cultures. The entire work will be announced by a poem, written and recited by Daniele Rossi, and edited into an animated video made by Giulia Dall'ara, illustrator and painter, who will also be responsible for the artwork. I like to think of Mesoglea as the union of several arts: music, painting and visual art, and poetry. It is all part of a new sensibility that I want to interpret through this project. Over time I realized the need to make music through a mix of languages that all belong to me. I just had to follow the current that pushed me here, like a mesoglea in its natural liquid.
YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbBPURf7sqb4efzmPqxr2hQ INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/mesoglea__/
for Dare Clan