Something about me
Autobiography on the road (on the slopes of the Mountain of Queen Sybil)
“…by spending time with these diatonic accordion players and their music I understood straight away that I couldn’t limit myself to giving an account of what they do. Deep down what I felt was a strong desire to learn how to play the accordion, learn their repertoire and their techniques. The fact that I, a simple scholar, had become one of their disciples, gave me so much both artistically and as a person. Thanks to them I learnt both the right way to do things and how to understand things by doing them".
This is what I told to a journalist some years ago, talking about my musical career and my life.
For me, the accordion was “the” door that connected the past, the present and the future. There was a symbolic personal episode during my second year of primary school when my teacher, a nun, said "raise your hand if you want to learn how to play the accordion” and I raised my hand at once, without thinking about it much, as only a seven-year-old can do. From that moment on the accordion became a guide, a “path” for tracing my roots: from Grandfather Vittorio Incontri, who was an accordion tuner and then made accordions, right back to my great grandfather Giorgio, who alternated working the land with handcrafting reeds for accordions. And let’s not foget my mother, who was required to play for any possible buyer of accordions made by his father, and my father, who as a young man had worked as a reed maker at the workshop of the great Nazzareno Binci.
It is not possible to understand my quest and my musicality without emphasizing the very strong link that exists between where I come from and the path I have travelled both artistically and in my existence. The Marche region stimulated and animate every step I take, giving me the tools necessary for working and a wealth of experience for learning. In all these years, all I have done is simply try to give back to my homeland the fruits of my quest, by constantly expressing the results through ceaseless poetic-expressive development. I am certain that my path could only have begun from this land, the true home of the accordion. We must not forget that in the second half of the nineteenth century this region was the very first hub of production and marketing of the accordion in central and southern Italy. The excellence of its master craftsmen was so striking that even today, worldwide, every instrument in the accordion family is immediately associated with Castelfidardo and the Marche region.
My ethnomusicological research has never been just academic studies. Indeed, over the years it has turned into an out and out path of initiation into the culture of the land I come from. My studies at the DAMS faculty of arts, music and performing arts, under the enlightened guidance of the unforgettable Roberto Leydi, who I love to call “the great rescuer of brains ", were essential for my evolution. Today my research is above all a means for achieving being a human being. I venture to think that within my figure as a craftsman-performer in the third millennium there is a merging, just like in certain medieval trade guilds, of technical knowledge and spiritual values capable of channelling themselves into a single purpose: the quest for Consciousness, the achievement of the being.
After all, my quest resembles the journey of Guerrin Meschino, who went through many dangerous experiences in Asia, Africa, India and Tunis and then at last scaled the “analogous mountain” of the Sybil. Here, lost in the terrifying darkness of the cave, he discovers, beyond the Door of the Damned, a world of enticing temptations. Luckily, at least according to the myth, Guerrin Meschino came out unscathed and much stronger. I hope it will be the same for me.
Only the present esists – wise men, philosophers and scientists have all said so. My present is here and now. And it has already ended, while you read these lines. I like to play with the enigmas of time, like a young and adventurous troubadour
. I walk like the Fool in a deck of Tarot cards. The Arcane unnumbered. What accompanies me is not the bite of remorse, represented by the dog snapping at his heels. What accompanies me now is an instrument which is both human and divine. Mysterious, iconographic, heavenly, airy and yet physically tangible. I retrieved it, salvaged it from the everlasting time of history. The portative organ is the musical scale pointing towards the sky, it’s the melting pot instrument “that gathers together all the others, that is, the virtues of all the other instruments, with which the value of music in the voices and in the sounds is sweetly revealed
”. This portable organ is a Phoenix rising from the ashes. It had already stopped being used at the beginning of the sixteenth century and no instruments from that time have survived, so the only reason the portative organ is still with us now is the iconography of works of art, and the instruments which are currently in use were created recently, based on that. And mine is one of them. We don’t even know much about what type of music was played using these instruments. In a word, the portative has reached us as a symbol, the symbol of Music itself. And with this travelling companion, for now, I intend to continue my journey...