To show the beauty of mankind in the silence of the world, convinced that humanity cannot grow unless it falls in loves with itself～ Marc VellaMarc Vella is known as the "nomadic pianist". Since the age of 30 he and his grand piano have travelled more than 250,000 km though around 40 countries - from from the Malagasy bush to sub-Saharan villages, the Kosovo countryside to the lively suburbs of India, from the nightclubs of Beirut to Santiago de Cuba.
Vella began learning the piano at the age of four and continued his music studies until adulthood. He won several prizes, attesting to his virtuosity. At age 24, he acquired a grand piano and began a remarkable road trip has seen him play in unusual places, including building sites, deserts and on mountains. He has written a number of books about what he has learned on his travels, such as Eloge de la fausse note (In Praise of False Notes).
Vella's unorthodox style of improvisation incorporates variacordes. Devised with sculptor Jean-Jacques Lamenthe, they are ergonomic, light and uncluttered and allow a playfulness with a variety of implements, including mallets and chopsticks.
His performance was interspersed with more monologues (sadly, in French), and Vella said that he preferred to describe his performances as "conferences" rather than "concerts", I found myself craving more of his music. Perhaps if English translation had been provided, I would have found this aspect more engaging.
Vella spoke of "false notes" and their necessity - failures and destructive behaviours, depression, inability to love and to be loved: all the 'false notes' that occur in life are opportunities to learn and to grow. He has certainly given himself a remarkable range of experiences to that affect, and they resonate through his music.
Review and photographs: Suzanna Clarke
Documentary (in French): https://youtu.be/zo_rpLub6yg