Music and coffee. Betty Senatore meets Chiara Civello

Coffee involves all senses, just like music. This issue starts with a short trip with Betty Senatore, announcer of Radio Capital, who is going to meet and introduce characters of the seven-note world that recall the blends of My Music Coffee with their style, and way of being and presenting themselves.

The meaning of the name Chiara is “limpid and famous”. So, it was sort of written in the stars that Chiara Civello would become famous in Italy as well as abroad. Indeed, she is the first Italian artist that made her debut with the legendary world-famous jazz music label Verve Records. At the age of 18, Chiara left Rome and moved to Boston, where she studied music at Berklee College of Music. She’s always been collaborating with important names of the American and Brazilian panorama, such as Marc Collin (Nouvelle Vague), Eumir Deodato, Gilberto Gil, Chico Buarque, Esperanza Spalding, and Ana Carolina. She always asks Burt Bacarach to listen to her new works, and he composed a song for her. She constantly travels between Italy, New York and Brazil. Tony Bennet described her “a guarantee, the best jazz singer of her generation”. While the International Herald Tribune defines her “the awesome combination of personality, deepness and sophistication”. In her songs, she likes to tell about the world she fully and continuously experiences, as she’s not very keen in being in the same place for a long time.

In your records, you told about space – between words and people, like in “The space between” (2007) – and in your last cd “Eclipse” (2017) about images, the ones of cinema suggestion. In your opinion, can music be compared to images?

It has to. Music is like a boat to me; it makes me go through places and takes me from one place to another. Images have always been a strong point of inspiration for me.

What does the eclipse in the title represent?

“The eclipse is a shadow in the sun or a sun in the shadow; it’s a dark stain tasting like emptiness and burning levees. It’s the end of something and the beginning of something else. Life has many eclipses, many empty spaces and I learnt to leave them replay and make them dance”.

You included some songs taken from famous film in this album. Who are the directors and films that influenced you most?

Fellini, Elio Petri, Antonio Pietrangeli, Woody Allen, Antonioni, Bertolucci; as for contemporary names, Xavier Dolan, Gianfranco Rosi, Garrone and “The Young Pope” by Sorrentino.

In an interview, you confessed that the adjective you used when describing the moment you told your parents that you would move to Boston to study music was “free”.

Free is the word that describes me most. My parents were very good in making me leave and go overseas at the age of 18, so that I could fulfil my dreams.

You are very attached to New York and Rio de Janeiro, the two cities that influenced your life. Tell us more about it.

New York gave me freedom, my first great opportunity with Verve and a lot of important information related to music while I was growing and singing in the clubs. On the other hand, Rio is the city of cheerfulness, of parties and of the other kind of music I love. People are warm-hearted and taught me to smile more often.

What image does coffee bring to your mind?

Coffee is the oil for the mechanism of my brain in the morning. I love it and I am trying to learn and drink it unsweetened, like your experts to. But I am not good at it (sigh!).

Given that you travel a lot, how do you manage to drink Italian coffee abroad? Are you one of those that have a coffee pot in their suitcase?

Italian coffee is awful elsewhere in the world, except for some safe haven, such as Japan, where in my opinion they thoroughly import even the air the coffee pot breathes. I learnt to make and drink coffee as the locals do and I don’t compare, otherwise it is a guaranteed fiasco.