Silvano Togneri – outsider musician

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Flowers on the bridge in Barga this morning

From one year ago – 31st August 2006 – Silvano Togneri might have designed the last day he spent among us. At 4 pm, a gentle breeze ferried wisps of cloud through the late summer sky. The terraced hills that frame the small church at Fornacetta, where we saw him off, shimmered under the warm sun that followed Tuesday’s rain. It was Silvano‘s kind of weather, his gift, I’d like to think, to the enormous crowd gathered there.

His friends, silent, lost to reflection, filled the church to capacity and spilled down the Fornacetta road in their hundreds toward the Barga wall. They formed a second long line extending south toward his birthplace on the Togneri farm at Buvicchia, and a third that climbed east toward the high Apennine passes he knew so well.

What you heard, over and over, in the murmuring crowd, was this: “Silvano era amico a tutti,” he was everyone’s friend. That too, was his gift to us: His last day painted an exact, faithful portrait of Barga in all of its wonderful diversity. It was a gathering of cooks and baristi, retired executives and Scots-Barghigiani shopkeepers, the sindaco and the butcher from Giardino, lawyers and doctors, journalists and geometra, carabinieri and computer programmers, Silvano‘s fellow musicians and singers, his expatriate neighbors from England, Ireland, France and America. It was a gathering of the mountain clans that form Barga’s backbone and guard its ancient legacies, the sun-weathered country people who were his kith and kin.

This was the crowd that applauded, in the Garfagnana way, as Silvano Togneri was borne out of the Fornacetta church on his final journey, under a perfect Tuscan sky. You could almost hear him singing, in that utterly inimitable voice, a song without lyrics that everyone understood.

Silvano taught us that that real music, like all real sentiment, comes from deep in the human heart and speaks a language all its own. – Frank Viviano – barganews staff reporter –

Question: What is Outsider Music ?

Outsider music is music performed either by social outsiders, who have no or few associates in the mainstream music business, or by musicians who choose to live and work in seclusion, often due to compromising behavioral or psychological conditions. Outsider music reflects these conditions in various ways. Lyrics are often bizarre or emotionally stark and songs may show a great ignorance or disregard for structural conventions or popular trends in mainstream music. Also, outsider musicians frequently have no formal training and/or significant music skills in the traditional sense. The end result is music that is much stranger and more abrasive than more popular musical styles. Outsider music is a form of outsider art. – source – Wikipedia

Background information about Silvano Togneri can be found on his site here

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There are more than just 9 Silvano Togneri songs in the database – scroll down to listen to many others which were recorded at Aristo’s bar during 2000 – 2005 and during Barga Jazz Festival 2003 with the Barga Jazz Orchestra

Silvano Togneri – voce  Andrea Tofanelli – tromba Andrea Guzzoletti – tromba Stefano Benedetti – trombaMarco Bartalini – tromba/flicorno Massimo Pirone- trombone Sergio Bertellotti – trombone Davide Guidi – trombone basso Dimitri Grechi Espinoza – sax alto Nico Gori – sax alto/clarinetto Vittorio Alinari – sax tenore/soprano Alessandro Rizzardi – sax tenore Rossano Emili – sax baritono Stefano Onorati – pianoforte Milko Ambrogini – contrabbasso Roberto Cecchetto – chitarra Luca Gusella – vibrafono Alessandro Fabbri – batteria Nicolao Valiensi – direttore – Nicolao dedicated a concert held in Barga during Aug 2007 to the memory of his friend Silvano (here)


The outsider musician Silvano Togneri was for many years one of the regulars at Aristodemo Casciani’s bar in Barga Vecchia  – more information about Aristo and his bar can be found here

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Allan Turnerdavid brandtdannyboy Recent comment authors

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Thanks for the memories, Silvano.

david brandt
david brandt

Just yesterday I was reflecting on the “old” barga news”. When subjects were more personable and friendly. I thought of Silvano, the mailbox issue, the lunch protest in front of Aristo’s (closed for unannounced vacation) etc. True the cultural aspects are part of this community, but not all. I always returned to Barga when the photos of Silvano popped up.

Allan Turner
Allan Turner

Ive just heard about Silvano’s demise,and its very sad moment for me, I did know him as a very good man and a true fisherman friend. He was always at Aristo’s bar and would often buty me a drink but not too often , but hey that was Silvano. A very good man and Im sure that he will be sorely missed by all in Barga. My thoughts are with his family and friends.