I met Paolo di Falco during an international congress held at the Toronto University, Canada, in April 2016.
The theme of the congress was “Italy and China, Europe and East Asia: Centuries of Dialogue” and prominent in it were the works by Giuseppe Castiglione, the XVIII century Milanese Jesuit painter working in Beijing at the court of emperor Qianlong.
Paolo was presenting a documentary film entitled “Leonardo” based on certain aspects of a immigrant Chinese community in Apulia, while I was presenting my non-fiction book on Leonardo Da Vinci, an investigation into the possibility that Caterina, his mother, may have been a Chinese slave taken into Italy by Venetian merchants.
Our friendship was cemented by that serendipity.
My hypothesis drew ironic smiles from some academics present there but I did repay them saying that if Leonardo Da Vinci had been an academic, we would be not talking about him today.
Paolo and I, for several hours, strolled aimlessly around Toronto’s busy and cold streets, while he was filming the city and the people. We then discussed at length about our hopes and our aims. There I learned that my fellow traveler has an impeccable career record in Theatre, having worked and studied with the likes of L. de Berardinis, P. Stein, C. Bene, C. Quartucci, P. Brook, J. Grotowsky, T. Kantor. Then, after Theatre, he had crossed into the magic world of cinema, collaborating with A. Grimaldi, P. Squitieri, C. Quartucci, P. Avati. B. Corbucci. R. Mazzotta, A.P. Bacalov, Scavetta. Indeed, all big names in their own fields. Then he switched from actor to film director.
In Albania, he had realized “Il Ponte” from a story written by Kafka, then “Stella Loca” in Argentina. Between 2006 e il 2011 he had shot several documentary films in Argentina, Chile e Brazil, some dedicated to Italian emigration. Then “Leonardo”; The Rooster always crow; “Anatomy Lessons”; “Oedipus and Teseus” “Casello 83” the “Appian Way” plus several others.
However, I remember that during our peripatetic tour of Toronto he kept on going back to music, not filming. He said that he had been the band leader of the “Fools” and that, furthermore, he had played with great musicians. Yes, I remember clearly that back then he was very much taken by his upcoming CD, which he told me he had already set in his mind and as soon as back in Italy he would concentrate on finishing and perfecting all his songs and lyrics. He then added that he was going to use English as a mean of expression, the universal language, as Latin had been until the XVII century all over the world.
“Like water in the bucket” is the wonderful result of his inspiration, a title that reminds me the famous verses dedicated to soldiers: “We are, like leaves on the trees, in Autumn” by the poet Giuseppe Ungaretti.
All the musicians playing with him in this CD are well known but, perhaps the saxophonist, Michele Polga, stands out, deserving a special mention, because of the quality of his performance. Listening, as I did several times, to the “Like Water in the Bucket” I had at first the impression that the mainstream flow of his music was to be found in Jazz, but it was just a superficial impression – several hidden streams run below it – and in fact there are also rock and blues intimations but above else there is a classic flavor, perhaps unconscious, which reminds me of Vincenzo Bellini, the Catanese genius…
I can see readers jump in the chair…but I confess that, I myself, found my impression quite puzzling but then, going back to check Paolo’s biography, I found, lo and behold! that Paolo had studied classic music in his youth.
His CD is a great work of art and I do hope that his music will be performed also on National TV, because Paolo deserves more success and more attention. Finally, let me conclude with a slightly hermetic definition. Which kind of emotions and sensations are we getting, while listening to Paolo’s music? You will feel like moving on a long road towards the end of the night.
The CD is available here: