"Percorso artistico? Mi cominceria col dir che no son un artista... diria percorso creativo... xè comincià da subito, da quando che go memoria”
[My artistic path? To begin with, I'd say that I'm not an artist... creative path, I'd say... it started from the very beginning, since I can recall memories at all]
Toni Bruna doesn't seem to like definitions or labelling: artist, poet, singer, dialectal songwriter.
The instruments he makes use of for his musical creations, doubtlessly own much to the city he lives in, Trieste, a city clutched between the carso* and the sea. In fact, in his album Formigole (2011), one can find stories, impressions, faces, well-known places as well as forgotten corners of the city, but also the power of the natural elements and the solidity of the ground.
And just as the urban dimension fuses with the rural one, in the lyrics of his songs spiritual elements and more earthly ones live together. This combination results in images which may not always be clearly defined, but which bear a sharp expressive energy.
Tesounasanta is in my opinion one of the best examples.
te ardi come el Monte Grisa
te vedo in testa
un'aureola de neon
o me confondo
you glow like Monte Grisa**
I can see over your head
or maybe I've mistaken it
for the kitchen ceiling-light]
The natural dimension too is of central importance for Toni Bruna. A dimension based upon simple, but essential elements, which is often necessary to face in order to see with different eyes the complexity of every-day life. Ants––the formigole which inspire the title of the album––represent a valid basis for comparison, according to the songwriter...
e le formigole
le sburta avanti e indrio le fregole
co le antene le se stuziga
qualche volta le se piziga
ma po' le se vol ben
e noi altri
restemo solo tra de noi, noi altri
qualche volte se misiemo
con quei altri de là
po' se demo pa'l muso
e restemo incazzai
sì, e restemo incazzai.
they push crumbles to and fro
they pick on each other with their antennae
sometime they tease each other
but they care for each other, eventually
we only stay among us, we
we sometimes mingle with those over there
then we hit each other in the face
and we keep getting pissed off
yes, we keep getting pissed off.]
Toni Bruna relies upon the potentialities of that which for him is the “only possible language”, namely the triestine dialect, which doesn't force the creative process within the limits and constraints of a language which is not the “maternal” one. Even in the choice of his means of expression, Toni Bruna wants to detach himself from pre-set categories:
“no me piasi sta roba delle definizioni: el dialetto, la lingua (…) me piasi più l'idea che la lingua xè una roba che nassi spontaneamente, per la necessità che ga la gente de comunicar (…) no xè che te metterà 'desso la lingua in scatola, no? No te pol, la lingua xè viva e te devi accettar che xè cusì”
[I don't like this whole idea of giving definitions: dialect, language (…) I rather prefer the idea that a language is spontaneously born, from the necessity that people feel to communicate (…) now, you cannot just close the language in a box, can you? No, you can't, a language is something which is alive and one must accept that it is so.]
**Mount located in the northern part of the city, on top of which sticks out a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary, renowned for the unmistakable shape that should ideally recall the letter “M”.