MATERA – “I will leave early in the morning (today, ed.) towards Matera. So, before the concert I will have some free time. That is why, as a tourist, I will dedicate myself to visiting the city that I first met in 2009.” This is the first proposal for today by Karima Amman, the singer who, together with Walter Ricci, will open the Gezziamoci 2023 city stage tonight. Two voices and a piano that, between jazz and swing, will pay a musical homage to the great Italian music of the 50s and 60s, but not only. Thus, the floodlights will be switched on for the first of five days in Matera, which will characterize the 36th edition of the Onyx jazz club review until next Sunday, after a series of concerts already held in the rest of the region.
Therefore, Karima and Walter Ricci, after the expected trip to the Sassi, will perform tonight, from 21:00, in the garden of the Hotel del Campo. “I am happy to be back in Matera. Walter and I are very excited and ready for this concert,” says the singer from Livorno. Her powerful and important voice, whose “colors” allow her to vary from jazz to soul, from blues to gospel, moving through pop music, meets the equally eclectic voice of Ricci, who, in addition to singing with her strong timbre, plays the piano.
In short, it will be a wonderful duet of passion and complicity. This is not true?
“Of course, yes,” Karima replies. We are a duo in this very fresh musical project born just this summer. We have been friends with Walter for a very long time, we always met on different stages and in dressing rooms, always promising ourselves: “Sooner or later we will have to do something together.” And the time has come.”
Do you have much in common, besides friendship, in terms of musical repertoire?
“Actually, our two voices go together really well. We both love jazz, our voices are so versatile that we can easily go from pop to soul or jazz. We have a lot of fun singing along.”
His album of Christmas songs “XMas” was released last December. We know that he is working on a new album. Is this summer tour a foretaste of the tour with Ricci?
“Absolutely not. This tour is fun and not only. But it’s also an experiment, because the idea of making records is a bit like getting married or living together.”
Explain to us better.
“It used to be very important to get married before moving in together. Now there is cohabitation and if you get along and have all the conditions, then this is a wedding. Right now it’s a bit like making records. Since they are no longer for sale, this was the reason to go out “live”. It goes without saying that being in the studio is just as wonderful as being on stage. It is important to be able to have a good time off stage, because what the audience hears, what is created, musically speaking, on stage is nothing but selective intimacy. It’s not just music. If there is no general well-being, or if we travel badly, eat, talk, share, it is impossible to create a certain dynamics and a certain magic on the stage. However, I’m not saying there won’t be a record with Walter. Meanwhile, they “sniff” us like animals (and here Karima laughs: ed.) to try to understand if we really feel good together from all points of view.”
What will you offer at today’s concert of the Gezziamoci festival?
“We will perform a repertoire of Italian ‘evergreens’, but there will also be international ‘compositions’. Yes, because together, as well as individually, we are going to mark our path of creative, musical and human growth. Ricci is now on Walter Sings Nat King Cole, and I’m on Bacharach Forever. So in the concert there will be an insert dedicated to both authors, in addition to jazz, which we love and which unites us, and works of great Italian music.”
Pause, flashback: “When Walter and I were talking about doing something together,” adds Karima, “I imagined myself with him as a duo of Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett.” After all, the couple of American pop star and crooner (who recently passed away at the age of 96, July 21 last year, ed.), released a tribute to composer Cole Porter in 2021.
Karima, for her part, dedicated an album in 2015 to Bert Bacharach (he passed away on February 8). ed.), one of his teachers and mentors. “I went to Matera with Bert on July 20, 2009,” Karima is quoted as saying. I opened his concert in Cava del Sol, and then we sang a duet with him “Come in ogni ora”, a piece that I presented in San Remo. I remember this moment very well. It would be great to come back and sing in this place.”