Ron: “Music has to make big dreams again”

Ron: “Music has to make big dreams again”

He was the extra man for Dalla and De Gregori on the Banana Republic tour, "I was so happy that I didn't worry about becoming famous". Then Sanremo, records, cinema and theatre, wines. He sang with almost everyone and almost everyone sang his songs. "If you believe it, the spells come"

Who knows if Rosalino Cellamare, aka Ron, he would have imagined singing again with success "in the tavern of the future" for "the Italian boys", who no longer boys continued to listen to him decade after decade until they blessed him with a career of over half a century. Odd protagonist of Italian music, he was the extra man for Dalla and De Gregori on the Banana Republic tour; it was the first of the three acoustic guitars that always with De Gregori, and with Pino Daniele, opened the 2002 tour on the notes of "A city to sing"; he was an actor and interpreter of himself in cinema and theater; he made wines; he made his debut at the Sanremo Festival at the age of 16 with Nada and won it with Tosca (“I would like to meet you in a hundred years”) when he was 43; he wrote without everyone remembering the text of "Beware of the wolf" and the music of "Piazza Grande"gushed from a guitar arpeggio in a sleepy sea crossing; he sang with almost everyone and almost everyone sang his songs. Between "large full streets and old transformed hotels", however, he remained faithful to Garlasco in Lomellina, where he grew up and lives and was inspired by the song "I am a son", which is the title of his latest album and the theater tour started on March 8 in Senigallia, final stage in Monopoli on May 6, passing through Rome on the 30th of this month.

"I am a son" recalls an era with "no social networks, scooters or telephones" and is a tribute to his father Savino, an oil merchant originally from Puglia. “This time”, she sings, “I live it by the strength of my father”.

In Garlasco only the doctor owned the telephone. When my parents left for a few days of vacation, they asked him for his number because they were worried about leaving their teenage children at home. It was a more difficult time, if the snow fell it became an arduous undertaking for my father to go around the farmhouses with the motorbike to sell the oil.

Do you regret it a bit?

For some aspects. For example, the charm of writing a letter, thinking about it, rethinking it, waiting to send it has been lost. I believe that the miracle of writing is achieved by respecting words that are not given immediately if they are important. In other respects, the present gives us very beautiful things: not only is it easier to book a hotel, but we are easier to awaken our dreams.

Can we do it?

Not always. Indeed, I fear that we are getting used to being satisfied. Take the last Sanremo Festival: I listened to high level artists but with less important songs than the performers, as if aspirations had lowered. It is a trend that I also notice in other artistic expressions, from theater to dance. In the end one is almost forced to say that something is beautiful even if it is not up to par.

What does it depend on?

I think the pandemic has also cut our legs a bit. Our world has not become better with suffering, rather it has undergone a retreat. We have to go back to thinking big, believing in dreams and saying: enough, I'm not satisfied anymore. If you write a song, try to imagine it as beautiful as you can. If you believe it, the spells come.

Do you remember any?

Lucio Dalla who calls me from Bologna: "I have just written a beautiful text". And I: “I put down some music”. She invites me to go to him saying: "Let's see if they fit together". And “What will be” was born, also forcing the verses a little according to his exhortation not to remain a slave to the metrics.

Does the music or the lyrics come first?

For me and for Lucio, the music then the words. For De Gregori the opposite. At the beginning I thought I didn't know how to compose and I was also convinced that I didn't know how to sing. I heard my voice and I hated it. Then the whole musical world that I had filled up with as a boy came out: I began to play the guitar emulating James Taylor and the piano for Elton John. I wrote "At the center of music" inspired by a record by Diana Ross. It is with this song that I am now opening the concerts of the tour.

From Taylor he borrowed fingerpicking. She loves playing without a plectrum.

Not just the arpeggios, the rhythm too. Listening to Neil Young I discovered his way of hitting chords with his bare hand.

Which guitar do you prefer?

Loving to play live, I converted to the Cole Clark: currently none compare.

Guitarists will always remember the Ovation with which he accompanied Banana Republic on stage: 1979, one year after Moro was killed. You filled stadiums at the end of a decade in which to hold a concert risked the political process.

A bad moment. We lived in a dark room. There were those, like Morandi, who stopped singing. I made arrangements for colleagues. The Banana Republic tour represented the return of color, the exit from darkness.

His song was "A city to sing", already performed by Jackson Browne. Just a guitar and it works.

In the seventies and eighties, a guitar or a piano was enough. I landed on an extraordinary ground, with a special grass, between Dalla and De Gregori. I was so happy to be a musician that I didn't worry about becoming famous.

What do you listen to besides pop music?

Morricone. I compare him to Mahler for his research on harmony. He moves me "Mission", not to mention "Once Upon a Time in America" ​​in which the music blend in the most beautiful film in history. I've seen it twenty times.

A personal pleasure?

Looking for a sound on the keyboard that makes me feel good. Which is a bit like seeing a scene from a movie.

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