Music School for Disadvantaged Children of Tor Pignattara Rome, Italy
Project location: ITALY, Rome
Project start date: June 2012 - Project end date: This project covers various years
Project number: 2012-009
Beneficiary: Associazione Culturale Musica e altre cose
Time span for this Final Report: From October 2012 to May 2013
The activities started in October 2012 with the launch and promotion of the project through a press and social network campaign to both promote the start of activities and to search kids interested in taking part to it. At the same time the Association Musica e altre cose was taking contacts in the neighbourhood and its surroundings with local associations to promote the activities and identify potential stakeholders. They answered with enthusiasm and proved very collaborative allowing a widespread dissemination of the project into the district. There have been several meetings with the Department of Culture of Municipality VI which was immediately available to support the project by promoting it through the institutional web pages and giving to the association the use of a rehearsal room for the weekly meetings of the laboratory. After an initial meeting with the parents, classes started at the beginning of November leaded by master Livio Minafra who joined the master Pino Pecorelli, musician and founder of the Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio (an important orchestra of professional musicians immigrants born 10 years ago in Rome).
At first, the participants were only 5 but they increased at every meeting and, from November onwards, passed to 30 guys from different countries of the world. Today the guys who make up the orchestra are aged between 12 and 16 years old and come from 9 different countries (Italy, Cuba, Argentina, Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt, Bangladesh, Eritrea and Peru).
The association Musica e altre cose thought of a name that was more representative of the identity of the project and therefore has chosen the name of the neighborhood, Tor Pignattara, as a symbol of the meeting between migrant cultures of the VI district and the surrounding neighbourhoods. It was then decided to name this musical band "Piccola Orchestra di Tor Pignattara".
The music proved very soon to be a great instrument to link boys and girls with different personal experiences, ultimately making those differences a big added value. The Association worked on this, to give a full meaning, artistic and social, to the project: the boys were invited to bring in the laboratory the songs of their cultural tradition and also to write music and lyrics that under the control of the teachers became gradually songs, mixing for example the sound of traditional instruments of Bangladesh (harmonium and tablas) together with the language of a Nigerian boy rapping or South American rhythms with Egyptian percussion. The guys, who at first were firm on their positions and unwilling to mix so different music elements have soon learned with enthusiasm to know other cultures through music and mix them with creativity.
In march also Amir Issaa, popular rapper and music producer of Egyptian origins, one of the first second-generation immigrants to bring their own music to the attention of the national media, started to collaborate with the orchestra. Amir wanted to write the lyrics for a song , "Il mondo in tasca" and he played it in the concert with the kids. The meeting with Amir was undoubtedly a great moment of change, a crucial point that opened up new emotions for all the boys and made it clear to the Association Musica e altre cose new ways to go and what buttons to press to motivate the boys. Amir, meetings with the guys, said very nice words recounting his experience and motivating the deep meaning of making music.
The activities have intensified in the Spring for the preparation of the concert and for the study of tracks to be recorded in the recording studio where the guys came in early May and under the guidance of the two masters have started the recordings.
The first time they went into the recording studio they were very excited: the excitement was palpable and their eyes were filled with joy from the new things and completely captured by dozens of tools and technology they probably sensed the potential and the possibility of expression that would have given them. The recordings continued for some days until the end of the recordings.
In May Association Musica e altre cose created also a web page dedicated to the project on the website of the Association. The site will be rolled out in the coming weeks with new content, especially near the exit of the disc, scheduled for September 2013.
On May 18, there was the debut concert (initially scheduled for April) which was held in the theatre "Centrale Preneste", a very nice and functional space provided by the VI Municipality. The hall was full and there was a lot of waiting and expectation on the part of all (children, parents and the public). The concert was an extraordinary burst of energy and passion. It was the highlight, it was a creative explosion of all the work done during the year. It was clear to everyone the meaning of everybody's work. It was an exciting concert, from the start to the end, enhanced by the presence of Amir Isaa and by the father of three brothers (of Cuban and Argentinian origin), a musician that played a couple of songs with the orchestra.
The guys persevered in the work very seriously, many of them in these months of work had an extraordinary musical growth, studied very hard. The real result of the project is that some of the boys, arrived at the laboratory almost "ashamed" of their origins, became proud to show to everybody the music of the country of their parents; others guys arrived with a pettiness about the music of other countries and have instead learned to appreciate it slowly. One of them in particular has come to the rehearsal room to play the keyboard (that he played for many years), but the director asked him to play bass, and even if he started with no desire to play it, at the end of the project the same guy decided to start to study seriously the electric bass with a master. According to their own parents the guys improved their profit to school and have assumed greater security in relating with others.
The Association Musica e altre cose could not expect better results!
Media and the community followed with particular interest the activities of Piccola Orchestra di Tor Pignattara as evidenced by the press release. The president of the Association had the opportunity to present the project to the most important exhibition of music existing in Italy, Medimex, which was held in Bari from 29 November to 2 December. It was a good chance to establish new relationships to the development of the project in order to give an increase to the boys who attended the project and to allow the orchestra to have a music life (concert activity, participation to events, etc.) even after the end of the project.
There have been numerous invitations to the orchestra for concerts and various events linked to themes such as solidarity, integration, immigrants' rights.
An important invitation has officially arrived from Germany by the artistic director of the Music Festival of Kassel a big event dedicated to youth orchestras around the world.
The experience of the workshop has also been included in a recent publication by "Zona Edizioni" in a book that speaks about the multi-ethnic orchestras in Italy entitled "Orchestre e bande multietniche in Italia" with a foreword by the President of the Lazio Region, Nicola Zingaretti.
There is also a documentary that tells this wonderful experience. The production filmed some of the lessons, the recording of the album and the final concert. In addition, several interviews were carried out to the kids who have attended the workshop and their parents in which everyone told their own experience. The documentary is being edited and will be presented in some film festivals in the coming months. It is a tangible proof of the importance of the project (a kind of model in Italy), and it will be a very useful tool to promote massively the works of the orchestra.
With the editing and the CD printing, the project Piccola Orchestra Tor Pignattara can be considered completed.
The good results achieved were achieved in September when all the participants who took part to the previous path have confirmed their presence with enthusiasm for the new activities that are about to begin.
After the debut concert (May 18th at the Centrale Preneste Teatro) and after the recording of the album, la Piccola Orchestra di Torpignattara has enjoyed, thanks to the high quality of the results achieved, a good visibility and a great appreciation shown by several invitations to special events and concerts as well as good attention from local and national press .
In september, there was an additional concert in Lanuvio at the sixth edition of the festival Castelli in Africa, a very interesting event organized by the Youth Community Zampanò to raise awareness on the issues of migration and projects fighting for the improvement of life conditions in Africa. It was a great opportunity to present Piccola Orchestra di Torpignattara in front of a wide audience and on an important stage. The impact was overwhelming and people have shown high appreciation both for the musical proposal and for the message of integration brought by the orchestra itself (see photo from number 1 to 5).
In the period between June and September the staff who worked on the project focused on the promotion of results and on the production of the CD.
The promotion of the project led to interesting results witnessed by the attached press release. Numerous local and national media have dealt with Piccola Orchestra di Torpignattara among which it is worth mentioning the magazine Libertà Civili published bimonthly by the Ministry of the Interior that has dedicated to the project the cover of the August / September issue, besides a long article and 7 pages of interviews.
It is also important to remember the magazine Suono, very important magazine which has dedicated 4 pages of the September issue to the final musical concert. Among others it is worth mentioning the interview to the Vatican Radio and the article published by the magazine Vanity Fair. In September, Piccola Orchestra di Torpignattara has participated in the registration of a special that will on air on TV on LA7 in late November in a program on second-generation immigrants and their integration. The program is conducted by the well-known musician and producer Saturinino (for many years alongside Jovanotti) and the musician and producer Amir Issaa with which the orchestra has already worked in the past months .
The numerous publications and their heterogeneity are the proof of the wide audience to which Piccola Orchestra di Torpignattara is able to speak through music and through the message that wants to convey.
The first disk is out. It contains 7 tracks, played by young musicians and directed by Pino Pecorelli and Livio Minafra who have also arranged all the tracks. Pino Pecorelli is the artistic producer, Domenico Coduto is the executive producer.
The disc contains two unreleased tracks, the first written by Livio Minafra, titled "Flying " is inspired by the musical world of Senegal and refers to those typical sound characteristics (one of the members of the Orchestra has Senegalese origins), the second, entitled “Il mondo in tasca” (The world in your pocket) is the song that represents and summarizes the path of the orchestra and its profound meaning . The music is by Pino Pecorelli , the text is by Amir Issaa (rapper and producer who has worked on the project ) and Maurizio Lipoli, one of the participants to the project. The album will be promoted in the coming weeks through local and national media and it will also be distributed for free to schools, institutions, libraries, and associations particularly sensitive to the issues of immigration and integration especially of the second generation .