The Invisible World of Music
by Silvia Colombini
Angela Baraldi's voice is like a new way of looking
at the world.
She has the gracefulness of a
butterfly fluttering about you, smiling with the beauty of a young girl, rare in
a woman like her who has explored many emotions and experiences. Forever a
musician, and an actrice in recent years, Angela Baraldi has kept an unaltered
amazement and enthusiasm that only people with heart can have.
"Not being able to see... The first time I thought about how it would be not to
see, I was little, listening to one of the best LPs by Stevie Wonder,
The Secret Life of Plant. There was a song in particular, Joy
Inside My Tears, it was so beautiful that I could not listen to it without
being moved. In that song and others by Stevie Wonder, there was a sense of
trust, a distinct light, it was incredible music. Listening to it, I was
conforted by the idea that the person who had written the song was blind and
that he had succeeded in transforming what everyone believes is negative into
something positive." With a career that began as a chorist for Ron and Lucio
Dalla, she went on to be a successful singer, Angela is an artist capable of
communicating with the world in an immediate and remarkable manner. You
understand this from the heedful silence with which she listens to you, and the
warmth of her responses. "Music belongs to the world of the invisible, you don't
see it, you don't touch it, but its power
is such that it influences your heart and soul.
Some music has a little something more and in the case of Stevie Wonder, like other blind musicians, I think that this little something more is something that we believe is lacking. Maybe I am too optimistic, but sometimes I think that those who don't see have an additional sense, not one less."
Angela, protagonist in Gabriele Salvatores' last film, the successful movie entitled Quo vadis, baby?, has recently won the prize for best actress at the Montreal Film Festival. She is pleased to talk about the satisfactions her work provides her, as an actress as well as a musician, and even if she does find a huge difference between movies and music, she admits that she feels more intensely what she calls "the consistency of music. It has a stronger presence. And in the case of someone that you used to consider less fortunate, it's reassuring, it provides a sense of trust. I have been working for many years with an excellent pianist who is blind. Jazz player, womanizer, drinker, he doesn't spare himself at all. He faces life with such enthusiasm that he leaves his home without his cane, moving about with the same vitality with which he plays music. Except that he always has a lot of scars on his forehead because he keeps bumping into obstacles. Things have always been direct with him, immediate, he has a brazen and ironic way about him which makes it easy to feel comfortable with him." A person exposed to emotions, Angel is so receptive to what is happening around her. In today's world, blindness becomes a manner of communicating which goes against the mainstream. "Clothing, beauty, appearances. We live in a society that is so superficial, where what you look like surpasses all, that sometimes I think that people who are blind are somehow protected by this. They are out of this circus and develop ways of getting close to the world that are different from looking at it, probably reaching more truth and freedom." It's probably even one of the many ways of seeing things differently. "To see things differently is for me a passion, a desire. It is realizing something creative, it is the capacity to have a vision and believe in it until the end. It means looking beyond things, which is essential in a world where we are bombarded, like a television throwing blank images at you. Not seeing these images makes you see things differently, walk into a better path, more authentic, and which resembles you more." Angela is right, and sometimes to really express yourself, whether it is through music or cinema, it is necessary to learn to use alternative tools which can lead to a more open-minded vision of the world. That vision, which this brilliant woman has delighted us with in an afternoon of conversation.