"Influences" Post Series #1 – Angelo Branduardi
It’s the first thing you ask another artist and perhaps the very same question you ask yourself in an attempt to define your aesthetic: “what are your influences?” I don’t know why that question is given to artists so much, and somehow escapes people in other occupations (or perhaps it doesn’t and maybe my artist bias prevents me from seeing otherwise,) but when was the last time you heard someone ask a mathematician or a physicist ‘what are your influences?’ rather than ‘what got you interested in science or math?’ Somehow artists are “influenced” as if by a divine intervention, much like the concept of talent. But alas, I’m not here to discuss semantics, so influences it will be.
Now, it would be to easy to geek out on animation artists from across the globe and just state the obvious ones. So, instead I’ll talk about things that I think tangentially (or perhaps essentially) constitute my aesthetic and then get more and more specific with these kinds of posts. I’m digging deep with this one, but Angelo Branduardi is one such artist whose music has virtually always been with me (and my parents can attest to this, I began listening to his music when I was about 2 years old!) and who off and on I continue to rediscover. Ironically, I have very few of his albums, and I almost have no interest in his music after the late 1980’s. However, the work that he produced in the 1970’s evokes feelings in me that very few works have. Of course, there is precedent to this feeling, and it goes back to the time when my family and I lived in the Northwestern region of France called Bretagne or Brittany.
I was only 2 then, but I have very vivid memories of certain sights and sounds that really challenge the concept that we can only really remember things from 5 years old and onward. One of Branduardi’s albums called “Va où la vent te mène” (French Version of the Italian “Cogli La Prima Mela”) is such a sound and one that has stayed with me since. I still have the cassette tape from way back when, and have been wanting to get a CD or MP3 version of it, but sometimes you can’t find everything on the internet (well, I either have to spend hours fishing for a “borrowed” copy or have to spend more money than I really have now.) Either way, his music to me is a window to this fantasy Gallic/ Celtic world of my early years, which was spent chasing sheep in beautiful green pastures, watching Goldorak slaying space dinosaurs with rocket drill punches, learning how to speak (I think at the time Portuguese and French probably occupied the same space in my brain,) watching Ulysses 31 (think Space Jesus and that’s pretty much him) and singing the Nono theme song, surprising my kindergarten teachers with my incredible French vocabulary consisting of the word “camion” (truck, though in Portuguese it’s “caminhão,” which is basically pronounced “camion”) and narrow cliff roads that I saw from inside the family’s car, the Citroen Deux Chevaux, aka 2CV.
Introducing Branduardi’s music to new ears is actually very hard to do, so I’ll probably throw in some YouTube clips of his performances at the end of this post, but I believe there is a strong correlation between his music and the Japanese Masterpiece Theater series of cartoons from 1970’s, and I think it’s no surprise as to why I am so attracted to Japanese animation of that time period. I think the appeal goes beyond just nostalgia however, after all, I only lived in the 70’s for a couple of months before becoming a child of the 80’s. But the speed with which media traveled at the time let me cherish these works much more since shows took a while to debut outside of their country of origin. On top of that, my parents really didn’t have a big collection of LP’s or cassettes, so I ended up listening to the same music over and over again.
Either way, I’ll probably refer to Angelo Branduardi off and on in my future posts, but for now, I better let me music speak for itself.
PS: I don’t know what I’ll post next, but it might just be some random sketches unrelated to anything else that I’m doing… or not. Also, I ended up not really describing or talking too much about Branduardi’s music after all. Well, I guess this is why I’m not a music critic…