musica italiana

Soul with the capital

Today celebrates mom’s cousin, our Soul with the capital S. She paints, designs jewellery, sows and learns Italian, to name but a few.

When she last visited us (pridi cai is still standing!) she brought me a very special gift (well, not only that, there was also her painting!): a fifty-year-old book titled “Nuova poesia Jugoslava” (“New Yugoslav Poetry”) with poems of ex-Yugoslav, that is to say Slovenian, Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, and Macedonian poets, in original and Italian language side by side.

She already requested one poem from there to use in her Italian class, and here is another by Slovenian poet Kajetan Kovič, in English (found online) and Italian (from the book). I loved this poem growing up and had it in my scrap book which has since been replaced with this blog. I dedicate it to her cleaning robot. 😀

Robots, by Kajetan Kovič
Translation by Veno Taufer & Michael Scammel

Robots are on the march.
The first robot is rectangular.
The stone in his hand
is a cube.
And a cube is a cube from time immemorial
and all that is, is a cube.
Robots are on the march.
The second robot is round.
The stone in his hand
is a sphere.
And a sphere is a sphere from time immemorial
And all that is, is a sphere.
Robots are on the march.
The stone in the sky, the stone on earth
has no choice.
Today it is stone, tomorrow a cube.
Today it is stone, tomorrow a sphere.
Today it is stone, tomorrow a robot.
Robots are on the march.
The cube smashes the sphere.
The sphere kills the cube.
For the cube is a cube forevermore.
For the sphere is a sphere forevermore.
Robots are on the march.
For as long as the cube is rectangular.
For as long as the sphere is round.

I robot
Translated by Giacomo Scotti

I robot marciano.

Il primo è quadrangolare.
Il sasso nella sua mano
è un cubo.
E il cubo è sempre cubo e tutto
quanto esiste è cubo.

I robot marciano.

È sferico il secondo.
Il sasso sulla sua mano
è una sfera.
E la sfera è una sfera sempre e tutto
quanto esiste è sfera.

I robot marciano.

Sasso in cielo, sasso in terra
non ha scelta.
Oggi è sasso, domani è cubo.
Oggi è sasso, domani è sfera.
Oggi è sasso, domani è robot.

I robot marciano.

Il cubo frantuma la sfera.
La sfera uccide il cubo.
Perché in eterno il cubo resta cubo.
Perché in eterno la sfera resta sfera.

I robot marciano.

Finché il cubo sarà quadrangolare.
Finché la sfera sarà sferica.

Here is another text that she can use for her Italian class, the song that is currently everywhere in Italy. Francesca Michielin ended up second in San Remo and will represent Italy at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Indeed, there is no degree of separation.

Francesca Michielin: Nessun grado di separazione

È la prima volta che mi capita
Prima mi chiudevo in una scatola
Sempre un po’ distante dalle cose della vita
Perché così profondamente non l’avevo mai sentita
E poi ho sentito un’emozione accendersi veloce
E farsi strada nel mio petto senza spegnere la voce
E non sentire più tensione solo vita dentro di me

Nessun grado di separazione
Nessun tipo di esitazione
Non c’è più nessuna divisione tra di noi
Siamo una sola direzione in questo universo
Che si muove
Non c’è nessun grado di separazione

Davo meno spazio al cuore e più alla mente
Sempre un passo indietro
E l’anima in allerta
E guardavo il mondo da una porta
Mai completamente aperta
E non da vicino

E no non c’è alcuna esitazione
Finalmente dentro di me
Nessun grado di separazione
Nessun tipo di esitazione
Non c’è più nessuna divisione tra di noi
Siamo una sola direzione in questo universo
Che si muove

E poi ho sentito un’emozione accendersi veloce
E farsi strada nel mio petto senza spegnere la voce

And here, let me give Soul back a little present that she made for me and I have it right here at all times. (It’s NOT limoncello!)

Tanti auguri e cin cin!

Photo: MM + VS (the tree)
Featured photo: newlyweds (well, almost) in Capalbio

SL-WEEK 28: Imma ruin your music

My mother is many things, including a rapper. This post is dedicated to her and my cheek to put her and the spirit of Ms. Banks in the same post.

This is a test for mom to see if she can be new lunch. (ADD-IT: I found this lady online! She is NOT my mother!!)

Since this is photo challenge on the subject of music and some would argue that rap is not it, here are a few images on other kinds:

A German inquiry on a Ljubljana wall into where all the sevdah (a kind of Bosnian folk music) has gone

Mom doing Mina’s Mille bolle blu by blowing bubbles in the water. It WAS New Year’s Eve.

Mom and dad doing their dance ❤ with festive but fireworks-terrified bestia watching

And to finish, since this post won’t be winning any photo contests (for some reason I can’t train my camera to do indoor moving images right): beeeep-beeeeeeeep, alert, trigger warning, parental advisory, all you can think of. Better off, stop right here. But there is ukulele. Actually, I’m not a n(eg)ative speaker, I wouldn’t know what this is all about.

Photo: MM

For Sylvain Landry’s SL-WEEK 28: Music

Kissmas for birthday

Today is your birthday and as every year, the whole world will celebrate it.

There are so many moments I could share that would shed light on why I love you. Let me at least attempt to count the ways.

  • How you say upon exiting a grocery store with handfuls of bags: “Did you notice in what bad mood the cashier lady is today? She’s almost crying.”
  • How we pass a lady at the beach parking who managed to bury her car deep into the sand, and I know you will go to help her immediately in a very determined, not to say stubborn way. And you do.
  • How you tell me that you will fix Ubuntu in Slovenian for when my mom visits even though she would not know Ubuntu if it landed on her head.
  • How you took my parents and me to a Tuscan Oktoberfest in a pub, which developed into a PARTY. Photos are from there. Crazy people! Us and them.

    Photo: BM

  • How you ask me “What would you like for dinner?” almost every night.
  • How you find a most challenging recipe and just do it.
  • How you impressed my mom the first time you visited me to spent New Year’s Eve together and I was sick and you went shopping with her. She said: “He knew every food you like and don’t like!”
  • How I write a trilingual shopping list and then you go to the store alone and buy everything right except you bring honey (miele) instead of milk. Talking about improvement.
  • How you agreed to translate with me a book into Italian even though my Italian was non-existent at the time. Even though nothing came out of this deal, I appreciated your intent.
  • How we were googling matching finger tattoos instead of rings if the need arises before living together but now I can’t imagine you suffer through this process without serious damage to the tattooator.

Not us! (God forbid.) Just a design saved long ago.

  • How you love your crazy guy (below) and how we translated his song into English together on a favourite day of this year. Last year you took me to his concert too. Entire families with little children, nobody drunk, all singing in unison, a guy dressed in Van Gogh running around the stage, and Caparezza enlightening the youth of today drawing a great comparison.

Tanti auguri, amore, and let every moment of your life live to its full potential.

Mica Van Gogh by Caparezza

Before you start calling Van Gogh “crazy”,
you must know that he is the roof and you are the ground floor
before saying that he was out of his mind,
you do a drawing with a sheet of paper and crayons

Van Gogh,
not just some guy over there
but one who at your age
was reading books by Emile Zola
was versed in Shakespeare
was versed in Dickens
while you read DVD Recorder manuals

three hundred letters, of fine literature
one hundred and sixty characters and two smilies,
and that’s it.

London, Paris, Anverse,
megastore, hyper, multiplex

far away but he knows all about his brother Teo
living with your brother but you know nothing about him

on foot in the fields, stimulated
closed inside a room with cramps on a treadmill

Beh, already at the first glimpse,
my dear boy,
you ought to agree that…

You are crazy
never mind Van Gogh

Van Gogh
when he was sixteen, he was visiting art collections
at sixteen, collect Yugioh cards

at twenty, in the Louvre salon
and you,
in the SUV salon losing everything but your shirt

oils on canvas, creating paintings
oil on muscles, body-building contests

countrywomen, models, and prostitutes
spend your nights in the bed with your laptop

He is talented and you know that
this is something that you don’t have

bets on himself
on poker online

euphoric at having met Gauguin
euphoric at having snorted cocaine

absinthe and poetry
without poetics

has faith
feel to be the Messiah.

Van Gogh,
a razor and he cuts his ear off
I hear you talk and
I’m about to do the same.

I have the razor in my hand
but I won’t kill you,
I’ll have pity on you because…

You are crazy,
never mind Van Gogh

You vandalize everything
when your team scores
you stand in line
to buy a smartphone

You are crazy
never mind Van Gogh

Ok, Van Gogh was eating paints out of tubes
and other absurd things,
probably less toxic than your cheeseburger

He had hallucinations that alter the sight
you eat mushrooms in Amsterdam
but this doesn’t make you an artist

You live and breathe for cellphones
him for sunflowers
hanging around with you is like being alone

Turning point, change of wind,
like in the game of rubamazzo,

There is news, ragazzo!
You are not sane anymore…

You are crazy
never mind Van Gogh

Translated by us ❤

SL-WEEK 9: Back to school – for some

September 1st has always been the first day of school around here. Therefore this day is especially suitable for going some place else.

My uncle, who has recently retired, says that he was unhappy since his first school day and has only now reached his peace. As a reward he will be able to take me home tomorrow. Instead of school.

Yet here is a girl who is missing school a little, I think. The book of poems for children that she is reading was written by my mom. Here is one translated poem, and here is another. (I did that, and the photos too. Everything instead of school.)

Holidays are over. Back to school for some and torna a casa Lassie for others.

Photo: MM. Models: Zoja and bestia

For Sylvain Landry’s SL-WEEK 9: School challenge

WPC: Un giorno buono

This Thursday was indeed un giorno buono, a good day. We spent it discovering the part of Croatian peninsula Istria along the Mirna river which is such a good and quiet river that in Italian it is called Quieto. I love it when Weekly Photo Challenge imitates life.

Most of the time was spent in arty Grožnjan (Italian: Grisignana) and cinematic Motovun (It. Montona). I could make two separate posts for them but… the hack, life is short. Završje (It. Piemonte) I covered in this week’s Thursday Doors, while Oprtalj (It. Portole) provided lunch.

It was hard not to shoot every door (coming up in future Thursdays) and sit behind every table we encountered which you can see for yourself, just follow the story in captions.


Završje & Oprtalj


Photo: MM & BM (of Završje and me)

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Today Was a Good Day.”

To my favourite writer

There are other remote favourites but you are the one who talks back to me. This is kind of important. Even though right now I’m not reading anybody. It’s too hot. But the best feeling in the world is to know that you are waiting. To be read.

You celebrate today (because here it’s already today) and these are the things that I wish to give you.

1. Aprite le finestre al nuovo sole. Always, opened windows and new sun.

2. That one day somebody finds your book like I found this one, on a wall, and left it there. The writer is a long-dead woman. Before opening the book I said to myself: Watch out! The title is a challenge, a riddle to be solved, a symbol of life and everything. And then it was this:

“A face in the mirror. Novel in five parts.”

3. A library shopping window with books that have a colour in its title: Blue Sky, Little Grey Mouse, Green Ship, and then, in the middle there: Hello, Red Fox. Ink is red. Fox is green.

4. Painting of sea creatures by Dača.

5. Dad’s blueberry crostata.

6. A huge sweetest watermelon from Roma with decorations from the attached cake.

7. Me, as happy reading you. Soon.

Happy birthday, Kara, and let the words and the world serve you well.

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈

Top five concerts of all times

I have never really thought about lining them up like that, but here they are, my favourite 5 concerts of all times, as asked by Daily Rock Report. I don’t choose by absolute quality but rather how they felt at those specific moments.

1. Suicidal Tendencies, Vienna, 1994: this one caught me (and others) by surprise and we still haven’t quite recovered. This is their concert from Madrid a year earlier:

2. House of Pain, Vienna, 1994 (?): I was on the stage with them! (Pulled out from the pit for suffering, but still!)

3. Rock in Riem, Germany, 1994, two-day festival with Clawfinger, Rage against the Machine, Therapy?, Aerosmith & Peter Gabriel (the first three bands I saw repeatedly over the years and they always more than delivered, and during the last two we were resting in the beer tent). This line-up of all the line-ups included Extreme (!), The Breeders, Manic Street Preachers, Soul Asylum, Nina Hagen, Crowded House, the Cranberries, Bonnie Raitt, Richie Havens, Paradise Lost, and ok also Smashing Pumpkins – so that we weren’t TOO angry that we missed Radiohead since they played first and our bus driver got lost.)

4. Pearl Jam (I saw them 8 times, each one was special, narrowing them down to three: Budapest 1996 – because it was the first, Ljubljana 2000 – because it was at home, Prague 2012 – because it was the happiest).

5. Urban Species, Paris, 90’s: Another unexpected perfect one

(Honorary mention: Plavi orkestar, Ljubljana, 1984; Dire Straits, Ljubljana, 1985; Michelle Shocked, Vienna, 90’s; Guns ‘n Roses + Faith No More + Soundgarden, Vienna, 1992; Ice-T & Body Count, Vienna, 1993)

These are just the very best, the other hundreds were merely good (ok, there were a few bad ones too, but really just a few).

It is obvious that all these dates are a bit removed, but I’m not done yet, just a bit more picky. Last year I heard Pearl Jam in Trieste as well as Caparezza and Paolo Nutini in Roma, this year possibly Manu Chao in Slovenia. And below is how I like to look at concerts. It’s interesting that nowadays I think my chest is examined for other reasons. In Italy nobody reads.

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈

From Iggy Pop and The Stooges gig in Tivoli, Ljubljana, 2008. Photo: Zedd

Happy 50, now stop acting your age ;)

Once upon a time there was a man, and still is. The man who deserves everything, which means me too 😀 Some time ago he made a list of 42 songs for me, the songs that describe his life. One for each year of my life that we had to spend separately because we didn’t know any better.

The list was chronological and included the little most wanted black cat, Rage Against the Machine, a cool song about guilt and Michael Jackson (whoooa! that bad-ass, huh?). But here is a selection from the last part of the list, which I like best because it applies to the present.

This one tells me that you still have the strength:

This one tells me that you wanted me here and I have arrived:

This one tells me that you dedicate all to me:

This one tells me that you’re not down:

And what do I tell you? Something out of the mouth of your favourite crazy man that you really like to hear: YOU ARE RIGHT!


E una piccola poesia di una poetessa disconosciuta chi non parla italiano molto bene:

Vorrei darti tutto il mondo

perché mi stai dando tutto.


Vorrei cambiare la nostra vita

per mai più essere soli.


Vorrei mostrarti

che tu non sei

un soldato,

e neanche un uomo ordinario,

e neanche un superman.

Tu sei

un uomo libero

di amare chi vuoi,

di pensare a chi vuoi,

cucinare per quelli che vuoi.

E tu mi dai il privilegio della tua scelta.                                                                                                      

Ogni giorno.

Con ogni bacio.

Mio privilegio è essere qui con te.

Per i prossimi cinquanta anni. 

Tanti auguri per il tuo bel numero!

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈


In Piran, by BM

Capa party

One of the biggest surprises during my initial online communication with you came in the shape of your favourite singer. There is SO much one can tell about a person from their favourites. And in your case it is this crazy man. I’m very happy that we got to hear him live together.

His latest album is called Museica and he is a bit of a curator, taking us to Van Gogh, Dada, Giotto Beat and fake Modigliani heads, planted about 30 years ago near Firenze and messing with experts’ heads for several months until the real artists proved the joke with a film of their work, and now got invited to join him on stage for his concert in Rock in Roma where we saw him last week (Would the real Modigliani heads please stand up?):


His concert is a classroom of i-don’t-give-a-fuck, of things as they used to be, of things that really matter. Whole families arrive, with little children in tow, as if to a picnic. They sing and jump and dance and yell. There is hope for Italy.

One song is about his native Puglia and how all problems are swept under the sand for the sake of tourism (with ciao, Phil, Anselmo thrown in):


In one song he compares Van Gogh to a youth of today, with the jumping Van Gogh joining him on stage:


London, Paris, Anverse, 


megastore, iper, multiplex.

(an interpretation and lyrics here)


He is not a persona gratta in Italian media therefore I was quite astonished by the interest (and by the smoothness of over 20,000 people dispersing after the concert). What I especially appreciate is that he is humble, happy, hilarious and never aggressive just justifiably angry where required.

Let me finish with a song that was not played at the concert but I wish to have it here. At the beginning he says not to hate him for his politics or his squeaky voice, if we have to hate him we should hate him for this song. And then he goes and spoils the endings of several movies, not just the ones with Kevin Spacey (even though there are enough of his to go around), and so we learn that Marley the Dog dies in the end, that Bruce Willis is dead in Sixth Sense, that Sid kills Nancy and that in the Others it is them who are the ghosts (what the fuck did you expect after the Sixth Sense?). He doesn’t forget Darth Vader either. But, the winner is, and remains, Kevin Spacey.