A bright fresh Sunday morning in Barga Vecchia with the bells from the Duomo ringing out across the city.The clocks going forward during the night added to that feeling that finally the winter really was over and the warm weather was on the way. Somebody added a touch of something slightly different to the proceedings this morning by setting up outside of Aristo’s bar an old dusty but working record player and a battered folder containing a number of 45 discs. The record player was in fact once the property of the outsider musician Silvano Togneri and the folder was his private collection of music that he used to listen to, before during and after he embarked on his own personal musical voyage.
The presence of Silvano and his own particular way of making music is still very much missed in Barga and many people are only now after a gap of 18 months truly coming to terms with his sudden death.
It is an often used phrase when somebody dies that the world is a lesser place once that person has gone but in this case it probably is true and getting truer by the year as Barga gradually changes and matures into a more commercial mindset.
The” San Gimignano effect” – where tourism becomes the main thrust – the driving force behind the town and where community and culture lessen in the face of an onslaught of coaches bearing thousands of camera wielding visitors – could not and will not happen in Barga but certainly some things are changing, many to the good, but not always.
As Barga become more well known as a place to visit so does the danger that the influx of visitors could change and damage the city and its culture.
It is quite possible that many people will look back on the years that Silvano Togneri played his music, told his stories and sold his “traditional hand-picked wild mushrooms” as the golden years. The time when there seemed to be more possibilities, more chance to let the mind wander for a while. The dreamer and poet had his or her own place in the general run of things. They were not overlooked.
The Piazza Salvi this morning was filled with the sound of scratchy hissing songs from the 60’s and 70s as people looked through his collection, sorted out the songs they wanted to hear and sat back in the sun and remembered.
It crossed over the generations, brought people together, and maybe for a couple of hours there was once more some poetry floating around for those who cared enough to pick it out.
Silvano Togneri outsider musician articles here
The ENOJAZZ Silvano Togneri Award 2007 – 45 rpm disc – Each year there is a hard fought for enojazz prize awarded to the musician who showed his heart, spirit (and stamina) during the enojazz marathon sessions. To commemorate the passing of Silvano Togneri the outsider musician who was a key member of many of the after hour sessions in the past, this year the prize was renamed the Silvano Togneri prize and instead of a nominal award for the first time an actual award was handed to the winner.
The Silvano Togneri Award this year, a bottle of spumante and a 45 rpm disc from Silvano’s own collection was a close fought affair with counting of votes still taking place during the night. The final votes were in just as light of dawn started to come through the enojazz club windows and the prize was awarded to the sax player Dimitri Grechi Espinoza…. well done Dimitri ! – article here