AT THE beginning of last year, the supremely talented Italian violinist and composer Laura Masotto had just began a residency at the former textile mill turned centre for the arts Fabra I Coats, in Barcelona, where she was planning on beginning the process which would lead to her new album, WE, which is due out on 7K! next week.
While writing, she heard from the crew of a boat in the service of Open Arms, the Spanish non-governmental organisation whose primary aim is to preserve the lives of those at sea, crossing the Mediterranean in order to claim refugee status in Europe. The crew member told her that they often listened to her music while out on shouts, and sent a video from their craft; arrangements began to be made that she hold a performance on the boat, but she was forced to return to Italy when the pandemic began.
Laura’s approach to her music is document the times we’re living through; and although the virus was necessarily seizing the headlines, she didn’t want the daily tragedy of the Mediterranean migrants to be forgotten. The obvious next step was to compose a piece, and she decided to call on the London-based Spanish composer Roger Goula to collaborate with her.
The track that they wrote is called “Refugees”, and features on Laura’s new album; and it comes accompanied by a salutary, sobering video made in tandem with and shot by Open Arms.
“I hope this allows us to look with awareness and empathy at the agony that these images and stories represent.” Laura says.
Roger continues in detail about how the two came to create the piece: “When Laura contacted me in the middle of the pandemic to collaborate on the “Refugees” single I knew that it would be a significant project, refocusing on an ongoing emergency too often overlooked as the norm. And in fact when I received Laura’s early sketches of the main theme for the piece I felt that sense of fragility but at the same time poignant energy that hugely inspired my musical contribution.
“The sense of rush of the fast violin arpeggios with strong harmonic changes made my imagination fly quickly and react musically straight away.
“The music developed to reflect the drama happening every day in the Mediterranean Sea with the hope that the language of music could touch our feelings and encourage our actions.“
We looked at Laura’s “Blue Marble” in April, in which she captures the pain of lockdown for layered solo violin; you can read about and listen to that, here.
Laura Masotto’s WE will be released by 7K! digitally on June 11th and is available to pre-order now, here.
You can support the work of Open Arms at their website.