For Want of Something New
Several years ago I was asked to present a class on Leonardo daVinci. I had a working knowledge of the man and his work, but I didn’t have an authoritative command of the finer points so I dove into books and I traveled to Victoria, BC to see the daVinci exhibit.
While in Victoria I went to a play which was based upon a rumor that Leonardo used his own blood in some of his paintings and what if we could isolate and clone his DNA… One of the producers took great pride in presenting the audience with music before the play and during scene changes. It was truly remarkable and I had never heard it before. It was haunting and it wasn’t until I returned home where I realized I had to have that music. It was haunting me.
I started searching the Internet for Canadian foreign language music. I knew Canadian radio stations require a certain percentage of music that is played on the radio to be Canadian. Figuring that I had never heard this artist before, he must have been Canadian.
My search turned up nothing so I searched for the theater and found it and I called them, but no one there knew what I was talking about, but they gave me a phone number of the director, who gave me the number of the sound operator. Finally I found out that the CD was Italian, fitting since daVinci was Italian. It sounded continental so French wasn’t far off, and I assumed that it was played in Canada so it had to be French.
The artist was Paolo Conti, who was an attorney who enjoyed singing and left his career to become a singer. Paolo’s style is a cross between Maurice Chevalier and Tom Waits and it would be safe to throw in Leonard Cohen as well.
If you are looking for something different in music that gives you the feel of a hard core European drinking house with the smell of tobacco and a hint of a feeling of cabaret, Paolo Conte may be for you. Allow me to suggest the title, “The Best of Paolo Conte” which was a 1998 release.