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Cartridges, cigarettes and Tilion

Attilio Rocca (called Tilion) is accordion player. He is a short and tough man who lives in Ozzola, Val Trebbia (PC). At our arrival, he is outside cutting wood with a machine I have never seen before. He says hallo and with an automatism attitude he heads to his cellar and comes out  with a salami and a bottle of wine
We reach the living room of the old house built by himself and the table becomes soon a banquet. On a kitchen cabinet there is a row of cartridges and a column of packages of cigarettes. Stefano Valla, indicating these elements, tells me "This is Tilion".
Stefano is at home here, Tilion is like a father for him and it is him who goes to take the accordion and that makes him wear it. They play together a piece of the huge repertoire for pipeand accordion, the authentic formation of the musical culture of these places. Once it was pipe- bagpipe, then the accordion has replaced the accompaniment instrument, but here they still say " they are  as pipe and bagpipe " referring to the happy couples. They play with great energy;  Attilio lens his chin on the accordion in order to watch his hands, his tired and suffering attitude seems to disappear when he plays the notes of his instrument.
Then when he stops he is breathless and coughs.

He is self-taught, and he boasts of a man who once said "The other accordionists are better than you, but I like you more than them." Before he used to play the bagpipe, but he has always desired the accordion and when he has been able to have one, he learned while working as pastor risking, many times, to lose the sheeps as he was absorbed by the sound of the first song that he was trying to learn "The little boat in the middle of the sea. " Then his player career began "until the good old days have finished, when you played all the times taking home two pounds”. Thus he moved to Milan to work as scrapper but a few years later, a piper (Ettore Losini) convinced him to return and resume its true activity.
Attilio is a natural born musician who has never been without music. Stefano tells me that in the absence of instruments he created an harp inside a closet that acted as sounding board. "I had perfect pitch and I hated playing in DO, but then I had a "musical ischemia" and I was no longer the same player then once." Stefano, who is a professional and has listen to several accordionists, assures him telling that his style is certainly not lost, and he encourages him inviting to play another piece together.
This nice meeting brings me back two months ago, when in Friuli, in one of the first stages of the il cammino della musica, I met, with Andrea del Favero, Eliseo Lussa (see post: The traditional sound of Friuli).
People like Attilio and Eliseo, are evidences of a musical past that is still present and that won’t be certainly forgotten, but from which we must draw and learn to carry on a tradition that could be shaped to the current times, conscious of the values that created it.
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