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Italian jazz duo commemorates Nice attack

Audrey Cahyadi
Audrey Cahyadi

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Fri, July 20, 2018 | 08:57 am
Italian jazz duo commemorates Nice attack

Final part: Alessandro Collina and Marco Vezzoso perform the last part of their three-part concert at the IFI Auditorium. (Dwi Setyowati/File)

Italian musicians Marco Vezzoso and Alesandro Collina filled the halls at the Institut Français Indonesia (IFI) with breathtaking jazz compositions and sounds from their piano and trumpet.

Their performance on July 11 was to commemorate the attack that took place in Nice, France, on July 14, 2016.

The IFI and the Cultural Institute of Italy (IIC) in Jakarta collaborated so that the musical duo could deliver a strong performance that received much praise from the attending audience.

While the musicians are native Italians, they have a strong bond with France and Nice in particular.

Vezzoso was born in Italy but he is currently living in Nice. He first started playing the trumpet at the age of ten and ended up studying trumpet at the Alba Music Institute with musician Marco Bellone. He took his high school diploma at the Guiseppe Verdi State Music Conservatory in Turin. His first album, Jazz à Porter, was later released in 2014 by record label MAP Milan.

Before his first album, Vezzoso had played in a number of bands such as the Hasta Jazz Orchestra, Mellowtone Torino Jazz Orchestra and the GP Orchestra. He has also toured with the Long Valley Blues Band in Europe and also with other artists such as Larry Ray and Dilu Miller.

Collina, meanwhile, first played the piano with his uncle, the maestro Ubaldo Giardini. When he decided to pursue the instrument more seriously, he studied under the musician Gianmaria Bonino and received his diploma in classical piano at the Giacomo Puccini Music Conservatory in La Spezia.

Message: Poem readers Amanda Ariawan and Meutia Delia (from left to right), pianist Alessandro Collina and trumpeter Marco Vezzoso perform Giannino Balbis' poem dedicated to the Nice attack. Message: Poem readers Amanda Ariawan and Meutia Delia (from left to right), pianist Alessandro Collina and trumpeter Marco Vezzoso perform Giannino Balbis' poem dedicated to the Nice attack. (Dwi Setyowati/File)

After several apprenticeships, Collina decided to focus on jazz piano and, like Vezzoso, he pursues this career in Nice.

Nice was also the place where Vezzoso and Collina crossed paths when they were both attending the Conservatory of Nice. The two musicians quickly became a duo — composing music and performing together.

“It’s a very important friendship and working relationship for me because many of our compositions 
were born together,” Vezzoso said.

For the performance at IFI, the duo divided their concert into three segments with four jazz compositions in the first segment, three poems for the second, and four more compositions for the last one.

“For us, it’s a huge pleasure to perform during this week. It’s a very important week not only for France 
but for Europe,” Collina said at the start of the performance.

Some of the compositions were slow and gentle, while some had a more upbeat and fast tempo to portray the different feelings that many of the Nice victims and witnesses experienced during the attack. Some 
of the compositions were dedicated to the musicians’ home country, Italy.

The compositions during the IFI show were mainly composed by Vezzoso.

“For me, this performance in Jakarta is very important because two years ago I was in Nice during the terrorist attack,” Vezzoso said.

“It is very impactful when you see the deaths with your own eyes. For me, [the music] is a way to send my message. The music and the art, I think, is the response to this barbarism and other [similar] acts.”

After unwillingly experiencing an attack with his own eyes, Vezzoso immediately went on to compose his pieces for the Nice attack and then Collina quickly came on board, choosing to follow his colleague’s vision and creation.

Italian poet Giannino Balbis then also came along to collaborate with the duo and wrote some poems dedicated to the Nice attack for them.

Balbis wrote three poems — “Promenade des Anglais” (Walk of the English), “Promenade de Sang” (Walk of Blood), and “Promenade des Sans-guerre” (Walk of the Sans-guerre) — which were read out by two young women, Meutia Delia and Amanda Ariawan, during the duo’s performance at IFI.

Each poem was written to represent the different phases of the attack. The first poem was about Nice in 
the beginning, the second is about Nice in the middle of the terrorist attack, and the final poem is about the aftermath — the “Sans-guerre” in the title are artists who abhor war.

Vezzoso and Collina are planning to go on a worldwide tour together this year and next. During the tour, called Watch the Moon Tour, they are planning to visit the United States in October 2018, Asia in 2019, and visit Africa for a project as well.

“I love to travel. I love to see different cultures. It’s a very big reach for my music,” Vezzoso said.

— The writer is an intern at The Jakarta Post

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