Blind Boy De Vita — Zattera
“If you know where you come from, you know where you’re going” – that’s the message at the core of Blind Boy De Vita’s four new songs, in which the Italo-Swiss musician focuses even more on his southern Italian origins and tells stories gleaned from all generations of his family. Combined with the four tracks from the EP “Ship Docking”, released in spring 2022, the result is a new album: “Zattera”.
For the lyrics, I dug deep into my family history. They speak of separation, bravery, longing and perseverance, wrapped in dreams and ambitions.
Blind Boy De Vita
Blind Boy De Vita sings about his own father, who has achieved great things as a self-made man despite his humble origins (“Pampasciune”), and about his step-grandfather Luigi De Vita, who was taken off to America (“Nonni Bicci”). The latter is also the inspiration behind part of the artist’s pseudonym “Blind Boy De Vita”. Another topic is the grandparents’ migration history (“Versu Nord”). The eponymous title track, on the other hand, is over 13 years old:
“Zattera”, both as a song and album, is about home and family, which aren’t necessarily bound to a single place or person. I can and may feel comfortable anywhere and perceive friends as family.
Blind Boy De Vita
With few exceptions, Blind Boy De Vita sings all the lyrics on “Zattera” in his native Italian or salento dialect. Musically, the Lucerne musician remains true to his experimental style mix under the umbrella of psychedelic folk rock, and yet develops it further. Once again recorded by himself in his home studio and mixed by Richard Edwards (The Kinks, Brian May, Yes) at Studio RealB, there’s a new sound with the traditional Salentine percussion instrument, the “tamburello”, drums and throat singing, which is also practised in southern Italy. Almost signature sounds, on the other hand, are the throaty beats from the contact microphone, slide guitar drones, epic choir parts – and of course the virtuoso guitar playing and the bass-baritone voice of Blind Boy De Vita.
The Zurich-Lucerne design studio KUBA Creative Services was responsible for the visual presentation, from artwork to clothing to social media. “To know your future, you must know your past”, Blind Boy De Vita quotes philosopher George Santayana – adding to his own opening quote, the essence of his album dilogy “Zattera”.
|Mouthwatering Records, Nadine Schärer
|Black Paper Boat, Dino (CH)