İyi yolculuklar!

We left! Tunç, Fabrizio and I. A 10 days of travel through Turkey. For now we are in the city of Mevlana. We arrived a few hours ago. The last week in Istanbul was very hard, there were many things to do. And there should be things to tell. The night passed on Büyük Ada, an island in the Sea of Marmara where cars are forbidden, only carriages with horses that speed fast in large numbers, and I on one of these with the contrabass, Ludovica and Özhan, because we were there with Bandista to play during a celebration of marriage of German people, the mosquitoes, the flowers of lavender smeared on the skin and a woman with her arm broken at dawn.
Many other things, some scenes filmed, the cry of a girl.
But now we are here. Konya has a smell of dry straw. We arrived at midnight and the streets were already deserted. Time to familiarize with the city and its secrets and take place in a small hotel.
Tomorrow I will make some shootings with Fabrizio and visit the tomb of the founder of the whirling dervishes.
İyi yolculuklar!
Buon viaggio!
Nice trip!

Unexpected respite

The storm (and the heat, to be honest) has granted a respite. I had a small break from filming yesterday. Also because not everything went as planned and therefore some work has been postponed to late August. So yesterday afternoon I was with Karagüneş for a session on the road on Istiklal Caddesi. We even collected a fair hoard.. it was the first experiment, but it should be repeated in future.
Meanwhile, the workshop in Sulukule continues. Later in the afternoon I will go there for another meeting. Friday should be the last day of workshop, for now. A few days ago we attended an amazing fight with kites between the kids there. This is one of their favourite games and the goal is to cut the other kites until only one remains. For this, they use to put some razor blades on the wings of the kite and once they get in touch in the sky, often one is cut and then falls down.
Next week I will leave for a trip throughout Turkey. Fabrizio will come from Italy and Tunç will be with us for the first part of the trip. We will end our journey in the very East part of the country. Meanwhile I will try to do my best going on with the work.

Geraniums on the run

This page of diary serves as a radio signal, before encountering the storm (and probably losing contact) or before diving into the Dantesque giron of the following 10 days. I locate myself and confirm that everything is fine, by now. Tomorrow who knows.
They will be 10 days of fire, things to do are so many, many shootings for the film, lots of responsibility and above all, as in all the hells, the unbearable heat.
So much so that the geraniums plant on the window, since a few days began to launch her branches and flowers toward the inside of the room not outwards towards the light. Incredible thing. But she also tries to escape heat.
Yesterday began the workshop with the kids of Sulukule. They are terrible, loud, but they are smart and clever. So nothing better than you could wish for!
Here above some pictures of Izmir, last week. It looks like in Palermo, isn't it?

Friends to be proud of

In one hour I will take a bus back to Istanbul. This is my first time in İzmir, the ancient Smyrna. Once arrived, yesterday, I just said: "hey, it seems to be in Palermo". This put me in a good mood and sent me back 2 years ago in that unforgettable summer in that beatiful amazing city that Palermo is. İzmir probably is nothing less, but 1 day is not enough to get an idea.
Anyway, I will upload some photo once back in Istanbul, but first I want to report on this diary what happened so far away from here in a small Italian city called Vicenza. My heart, as I already have written, yesterday was there. The activists of the citizen movement "No Dal Molin" demonstrated on the day of the US Independence in order to protest against the construction of the new american military base.
Here's 3 interesting link on the issue: a letter of Noam Chomsky to the "No Dal Molin" movement, an article from American Chronicle, and a letter written by the movement to the president Barack Obama.

Bubbles on my skin

I never had allergies in my life that I remember. Before today only one intoxication. Usually my body, as well as my personality, accepts and metabolizes without distinction and without discrimination. For some days my body is covered with bubbles. Also appeared this winter, timidly. But now they are everywhere.

The moon and the rose

The tribe is back. Better, some members. Some others scattered in the Aegean coast of Turkey. After 3 unforgettable days in Özdere, near Izmir, for "Rock-a festival" 2009. On the 4th of July, Bandista will have a concert in Izmir with Inti-Illimani, therefore some of them stayed there around and some came back to istanbul. I also will go to Izmir for this concert in a few days, so it seems this is my Aegean period in Turkey. But, after all, what else but this?
In this case I think pictures tell much better than words. I can also add that I was back in Rock-a one year later. One year ago in those days I defenitively planned to move to Istanbul, I can't forget. Now, exactly one year later, my stay in Turkey has blossomed. The seed had to be patient, because the winter was so cold, windy and cruel. So he had to hide in the womb of the earth. But this was the time to courageously face the new world and to throw forward the most beautiful things that he has: the blossoms. That means: joy, serenity, cheerfulness, gentleness, curiosity, brotherhood.

Who lies on the asphalt and who lies in the bed

Iran is burning. I must admit that I was not able to get a precise idea. As long I have travelled the Middle East, as residing in Istanbul, I was not able yet to get a precise idea.
I am reading many articles on international press, those which speak of history, those which reconstruct the scenarios, and those that reveal the complicated internal balances of Iran. I'm mainly reading blogs to get the live feeling of being on the streets of Tehran. Rather, I suggest taking a look at this page where you can access dozens of blogs written in English by Iranian youth: IRANIAN BLOGS CLICK HERE.
But most of all, to try to understand what is happening in Iran these days, I am reading Herodotus. One who is considered the first historian of history was also the first to question on the eternal dilemma: <<Why Greece is at war with Persia? Why the western world and eastern world are fighting a battle with each other to the death? And has it been always so? It will always be so?>>.

Burning portraits in Sulukule

There are portraits that burn. Portraits that require a look in the mirror, to confront ourselves, our ideas, our fears, our false solutions.
Portraits that leave no way out. Just burn. Require to stop, to not delegate all at a later time, because now you can only stop and think about what burnt you.
These portraits burn, also because they are fresh, they have just been snapped.
In Sulukule, Roma district in Istanbul, probably the oldest Roma district of Europe (it's located on the European side, after all), born yet when Istanbul was called Constantinople. The Turkish authorities have decided to redevelop the neighborhood, the houses are demolished, the residents displaced. Soon they will build new houses for rich Turkish people. Meanwhile, people do not go away and they walk (and live) among the rubble.
Sulukule adjoins the ancient walls of Constantinople, but also palaces of modern Istanbul.
Someone had warned us: <<You will not be able even to carry a photo-camera in Sulukule, because people are angry and dangerous over there>>.
In 2 days instead we worked hard, Domenico, Luca and I. We shot a short film, written and interpreted by the Roma community of Sulukule, I made the directing and shooting. Soon I will cut it: "Güzel yurt, Sulukule" (= sweet home, Sulukule) is the provisional title.

Italian diaspora

Today, Italy has been especially in my head and my heart. Perhaps it is because Luca and Domenico are here in Istanbul. Perhaps it is because Luca has prepared the best "pasta" I ever ate in Istanbul. Maybe because at lunch, in a home without the Bandista that are in Bursa for a concert, we were 5 Italians, after the visit of Eleonora and Marco who also live in Istanbul.
Perhaps today I think of Italy because the war broke out in Italy: the war of uniforms.  I refuse to publish the photos of those stupid fascists with uniform who are supposed to be the upcoming "citizen patrols". If you like, CLICK HERE AND WATCH. Perhaps we are waiting for some real "shock", as expected (or announced) by Massimo D'Alema.
In recent days I received a long e-mail from Filip, a young old friend whose parents are from Belgrade, Serbia, but who grew up in Italy, an Italian boy we can say. Except that, despite he spent almost all of his life in Italy, every year he needs to ask for the permission to live in the country, wasting time, money and desires to live his future in Italy. Here some parts of his e-mail (originally written in Italian).

"Operation Freedom": the country of assholes

Often talking to Turkish friends of the current chairman of the Italian Parliament, they are astonished, like all the non-Italian people with whom I happen to make these speeches.
Unfortunately the Turkish friends know what it means to manipulate the information. According to the 2009 report of Freedom House, freedom of the press in Italy was described as "partly free". Such score in Europe was reached only by Turkey itself. But quiet, dear Turkish friends, starting from today is Italy the only European country permanently without press freedom.
The "Camera" (the lower chamber of Parliament) passed a text which provides a drastic reduction of the opportunity by the judiciary to use phone tappings and by the newspapers to publish any information derived from ongoing investigations. Turkey also is thinking of a similar law, it is true, but until now they have not done anything.
The current chairman of the Italian Parliament, Silvio Berlusconi, was one of the most frightening performers caught in the phone tappings in the last 30 years in Italy. Despite this, thanks to substantial block of the media, particularly televisions, these performances are unknown to the average Italian citizen.

Panta rei

It is not because I do not write on the blog that things do not happen, of course. In fact, many things have happened meanwhile. After the concert in Linz, I spent a week in Italy: Milan, Rome, Bari and then I left behind a country that perhaps does not burn yet, but certainly seems to feel all the heat of the blazes.
In Milan I met my best friends: Armando, Filippo, Francesca. And for a while I felt hard to leave. A little cloud rained upon me and left me completely wet. Then I met Bernardo, my parents, uncle Andrea.
In Rome I met Ludovica. It was in October the last time that we met, that is since the last time I passed out from Rome. It was very strange being in Rome, the first time in recent unforgettable months, even if  full not always of desirable things.
I took many photos, I was almost on a pilgrimage to Rome in the corners that were my life until a few months ago. Corners that were the scene of happy pieces of my life. But they seemed silent and sad, just as sets now used and abandoned in a storeroom.
Ludovica helped me to not feel a ghost but to believe that those 4 years have and will have an effect tomorrow.
I left Bari with Luca, we are here in Istanbul together now. We also met together with Martina here. Life flows. Nothing is lost. So let it flow: "panta rei"!
Here above the Danube in Linz. 

Blowing up the Danube

The concert in Linz is over. It was funny to blow the crowd up in Linz, in a concert hall on the banks of the Danube. Ah, the beloved Danube: here I am back. Funny to blow people up on Anatolian rhythms and hip-hop with the contrabass and the Turks living here who show solidarity to me by a fellow, after concert. "Thanks, but I am not Turkish, I am Italian", "ah, never mind, not makes much difference, you're our brother". Italians and Turks in the area have made the same life, unskilled immigrant. The Bosnians also I have seen that have made the same road. After 20 years of emigration from Bosnia, the most popular sausage in Austria is now the "Bosner", which is passing "kebap" and "pizza". Even Austria sliding to intolerance, it gives a break from xenofobia at lunch...
Photos of the concert coming soon...
In a few hours in Milan. Then Rome and Bari. In 1 week back to Istanbul.

Marginalized Italy

Tomorrow I go to Austria. Sultan Tunc and his band will play at "Linz Fest" on sunday evening. I will play the contrabass. It's the first concert of the new band and we start right strong, we will do our best. Ali is still in Cyprus and has not been able to leave, so we play without him.
This May is about to end. A May of hard work and encouraging answers. Head down and work hard without asking many questions about the future.  A fast pace kept me away more than usual from the website. Now it is to keep this pace until the end of July but at the same time continue the work of the story-telling of this effort and this time in Istanbul.
A few days ago I received an e-mail that struck me, I was delighted but also made me sad. Caterina wrote me, an Italian girl from Sicily, studying in Bologna, who spent a semester of study within the Erasmus project in Istanbul. And in recent months we have met. One evening last December we had a dinner at home with some friends and a home screening of "Isti'mariyah".
These are the main passages of the e-mail (in Italian in original).

Recurring dream

Tonight I had a dream, or rather this morning. I was reminded I dreamed it because the phone suddenly rang and I woke up with this dream in the mind. Perhaps this is the first time I write one of my dream on this diary. But such a dream it happens to me at times. Now the story.
I was returning home, alone, in a place that is supposed to be Tarlabaşı, our neighborhood here in Istanbul. I also walk fast because in my mind the boys, my flatmates, they are playing football behind our house. And I, of course, I want to take part.

Hayde, Ali, come zurück presto!

It seems incredible, but the contrabass is back fully in the center of my life. For several weeks we are working hard to prepare for a concert in Linz, Austria. I'm playing with Sultan Tunç. In these last 2 weeks preceding the concert we will add some percussion and a solo instrument.
Meanwhile Tunç, Ali and I have worked on musics arrangement.
The rehearsal room is perhaps one of the most charming room with view in Istanbul (even if you discover many). However, it is a room that overlooks from the third floor of a building directly on the Galata tower.
A characteristic of this musical group is multilingualism. Tunç and Ali are 2 Turks born in Germany. But when they speak together Tunç preferably begins the talk in Turkish, Ali in German. The other answers with the given language. Until the end of the sentence, then both return to their preferred language. I follow their speeches and in the meantime I can exercise both Turkish and German. But if they want a proper response from me, they must be satisfied by English, they know this.
But after work, in leisure time, multilingualism reaches embarrassing levels. The best a few days ago. After a snack in a bar down the street, Tunç has proposed: "Zu drink buono çay?" that would mean: "we take a good tea?", in German, English, Italian and Turkish. So started the game to make sentence in 4 languages.

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