A life in literature, music and cinema
The English language ballad from the Middle Ages to today: connections and contaminations (Teatro Tempio, Modena)
The ballad is the oldest literary genre, halfway between poetry and popular music. The stories it tells are open windows into English and American history from its origins to the present day. It is a popular genre that is easy to share, made to be sung, full of links between various historical periods and various nations, forming a permanent connection between the past and the present. We are going to make an excursion from its origins to today made up of music, songs, live performances, video material, examples of ‘high’ literature, highlighting similarities and connections between distant periods. And we will understand a lot about the peculiar history of America, the last virgin land, with its hope for a different world that modern history has granted.
Dark Ladies: the female character in classic noir novels and movies and in Scrivere o Uccidere by Vittorio Vandelli (Teatro Tempio, Modena, January 2024)
In a masculine and misogynistic genre par excellence, the female figure is an unexpected protagonist: the dark ladies of Shakespearean derivation – beautiful, impossible and dangerous – are a constant presence in this genre. We meet them in the novels of the founding fathers R. Chandler and D. Hammett, in Bogart’s noir films and in contemporary writers such as the very popular Michael Connelly. Here’s a preview:
I Remember You Well (Teatro De Andrè, Casalgrande, Febbraio 2023)
Go, Cat, Go: An Evening with Elvis (Teatro Tenda, Modena, April 2024)
Courses, lectures/performances, concerts, media
Come on, Let’s Go (TRC TV, 2023)
“A 12-episode journey into the language, entertainment and culture of the English-speaking world: music, cinema, literature, current affairs, media, and much more. Hosted by Vittorio vandelli and Maria Cristina Martinelli. A TRC TV production.
THERE IS NO DARKNESS BUT IGNORANCE (non c’è oscurità se non l’ignoranza) (January 2023)
The contemporaneity of Shakespeare in his works, in contemporary arts, in the media, in language
I Remember You Well – Dylan e Cohen in De Andrè, De Gregori e Guccini (November 2022)
Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen are the poets/chansonniers who most influenced our best songwriters, De Andrè, De Gregori and Guccini. In this show we perform Dylan’s and Cohen’s covers that they made, American songs and Italian ones that are directly inspired by the original versions, some songs by the two American singer-songwriters who have indirectly influenced our authors and some of their songs clearly linked to American tradition.
London Bridge is Down: la sovrana scomparsa e la monarchia inglese (September 2022, TRC TV)
‘La scuola dei duri’: Vittorio Vandelli presents Raymnd Chandler (GialloFestival, Bologna, June 4, 2022)
The Times They Are A-Changing. Literature, music and cinema: the sixties, and more (2022)
My Dylan 80 (2021)
Homage to Bob Dylan – The Man In Me
I don’t know how it happened, we were just kids, late teenagers attending high school, running wild in the early seventies still roaring with the rebelliousness and the political fights of the previous decade. As for the Folk Revival in the US, we were a ’singing movement’ in love with the counterculture of the sixties, looking for a singing prophet. Dylan came to us a decade later, but it nonetheless struck hard: his anti-Tin Pan Alley voice, his rough folky guitar playing and his finger-pointing songs were arrows to our hearts. He became our idol… (continua a leggere)
Bob Dylan at the Greenwich Village, 1961 – 64: the songs which created a new prophet (2019)
In 1961 a very young and unknown Bob Dylan arrived in New York, at the legendary Greenwich Village, amid folk revival, the musical movement that gave voice to the struggles for civil rights of whites and – above all – blacks and to the protest against war and the atomic bomb. Dylan’s first four albums, voice and guitar in pure folk style, contain ‘protest songs’ which are not only a mirror of those times but also ‘visions’ of the contemporary world. They would become anthems of a generation and would make Dylan a true modern prophet, the ‘Shakespeare of his generation’ as the British Encyclopedia defines him. By contextualizing and analyzing the lyrics and, above all, by performing those songs live, we will try to recreate their sound, appeal and fascination.
The Times They Are A-Changing (2019)
They had a dream: give peace a chance – 60s America
Culture and counterculture in the 60s in the USA and the UK. Youth rebellions against respectable society and mass consumption give rise to extraordinary examples of music, literature, cinema and art. This is a musical journey (with incursions into cinema and literature) that tells of a rebellion that changed our customs forever: the Folk Revival and Bob Dylan; the rock Woodstock generation; the British Invasion of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, the soundtracks of the New Hollywood films, the influence of the Beat Generation. We are going to see the relationship between the main political/social events and these songs: JFK and the Civil Rights movement; the African-American question; protests, marches, occupations by white youth; the Vietnam War and the Cold War; the atomic bomb; the hippies, the beatniks and their lifestyle.
Modena Blues Festival (2017)
with Luigi Catuogno
The Sound of the Greenwich Village (2014)
The Sound of the Greenwich Village – YouTube playlist
Blue Raincoats was a group of folk/rock musicians performing live shows in concert halls and theatres. They played ‘Songs from a Room’, a show dedicated to Leonard Cohen, and ‘Knockin’ on Dylan’s Door – rare&precious Songs of Love and Hate’.
Songs from a Room
Knocking on Dylan’s door
Songs from a room – tributo a Leonard Cohen (2010)
My Back Pages (2005)
Singing interview on American culture, the seventies, folk music and their use in school.
Songs to Woody Guthrie (1997)
I don’t know why this idea came to me; I had all these Woody’s songs on my mind, I didn’t know where I had heard them, from whom or how I could listen to them again; I was afraid of forgetting them, of losing a patrimony that I possessed, of letting something that I have always loved slip away. So I decided to record them as they were in my head, partly covers, partly clips of real Woody, partly a fruit of my imagination, but in general faithful to Woody’s typical sound. Every time Woody sang one of his songs, born from the re-adaptation of an old tune and a new text, he performed it differently, as it came to him at that moment: mine are nothing more than further possible versions, apart from the camouflage homage of Talking Woody Guthrie Blues. These songs are part of myself and my imagination, they are a poetic statement in music, they are an expression of my sensibility, they are the reflection of the way I am, deep inside.
Recording 1: Songs to Woody
Recording 2: More Songs to Woody
Raccontare nel vento (Carpi, April 1999)
with Maurizio Bettelli e Franco La Polla
Bound For Glory: Woody Guthrie (Parma, 1998)
Lecture/concert on the novel Bound for Glory and Guthrie’s songs
American Ballads (Modena, teatro Storchi, March 2, 1999)
with Maurizio Bettelli e Alessandro Portelli. Lecture/concert on the relationships between literature and music in the American culture (Twice Told Tales)
Woody Guthrie a trent’anni dalla morte (radio RAI 3, 1997)
with Maurizio Bettelli
Raymond Chandler – la semplice arte del romanzo
Editor of Critica d’Arte (Panini publisher)
Borso d’Este (Panini, 84) – Strabewrry Fields (Giunti, 95) – La Grande Storia dei Beatles (Giunti, 96)