NB: the following article was published on June 8th, 2017 in the Italian online magazine Orticalab, by Maria Fioretti. You can find the original in Italian here. What follows is Patrick’s (rough) translation of the article into English, with help from Google Translate. The photos below all appear in that article as well.
A Home Away From Home: Patrick and Donovan, from Philadelphia to Tufo to Make a Connection Between Art and Territory
Arrive in Tufo to write about Philadelphia. Return to Philadelphia to write about Tufo. This is the story of music and words, because Donovan and Patrick are essentially this: voice and guitar one, stories and writing the other.
They are cousins and Americans, Donovan, 19 and Patrick, 31. In Irpinia they came to find the memories of their family and learn to know themselves more thoroughly, all the way up their roots to their grandparents who immigrated to New Jersey.
The ambition of these two young enthusiasts is to create a residence for artists in the house, which is called Rosa di Tufo. It is not the first experience in this area that already houses the landscaping house in Trevico, presided by Franco Arminio, and the Penna Bianca shelter at Villamaina: both open to the interaction between the arts and the sharing of creative spaces.
I came to the house of Patrick and Donovan with Vito Rago, a hiking guide for the region and an integral part of the association Irpinia Trekking, who met their family while staying with their aunt Lori in Colorado last year.
“We came to tufo for two reasons–the first, and even the most important–is between the rooms and the photos of our house: my family has always had the dream of reopening the doors one day, so we did it after having been here several times, deciding to bet on the potential of a bed and breakfast for writers, poets and musicians, or for simple tourists who are looking for a wonderful exile. And then because is this our home away from home,” Patrick says, “and we want to make it alive in every possible way, the place our family grew up. My grandfather was born in Tufo, since he was young when he arrived in New Jersey, where he became an engineer. He returned after the war in 1949 to shoot a video that could remind him of the place from which we all come, and that would remind us.”
They look for loneliness and find inspiration from the green all around, from the garden day after day they are busy laying, planting more and more flowers and plowing the trees. The mountains are high and they overlook everything, and there is no noise but the sound of nature. From the balconies enters overpowering light, and a gentle breeze blows around the table that will soon host the Backyard Writers Residency. “In the last two weeks of June we will host a group of four writers, and together we will work on our tales,” says patrick. “We will walk along the river and find the concentration that in the Philadelphia chaos is sometimes lacking. We will not have unnecessary distractions, only many places to discover and people to meet. It is a remote place that knows ancient times, where you can sit quietly in the square. In total there will be 18 guests for these two months when I and Donovan will stay in Tufo, including a Japanese couple who from here will get to know all of Italy.”
They are very enthusiastic, drinking grappa and loving the wine. “That of di Marzo is very good,” so confessed Donovan in italian, a language he has studied for four years in high school. “It is good to see that white grapes grow here, that there are volcanic stones and you can breathe pure air. I’ve already been able to write my first song, and I’ve titled it “Natural Inspiration”–it’s enough for me to look out the window. I want to record my second album in Tufo and bring all the influences I can collect and tradition of the Italian song to America. That is why I would like to meet with so many musicians, create jam sessions where everyone expresses the best they can with their tool.”
“And this is the time to pick up the guitar to make the audience feel as good as possible from Irpinia, to understand that this earth is always a revelation.” Donovan plays for us “Relaxation” and we begin to think that the future can only belong to those who seem to be crazy, but who strongly believe. For those who travel to get to his paradise and find him in a valley, home of the Greek DOCG, on a white road, in a flowered balcony, at a ping-pong table, in an old house and on a patio between the rows of a Vineyard, in the company of those who write and think and play completely immersed and aware that they have come to the end of a quest that has led to happiness, to the authentic one.
Perhaps for a while we have also felt the joy that lies in the unexplored woods, in the encounters with the people, in the lonely lust, in the black and white portraits of relatives that have allowed us to change our way of seeing the things. Patrick will write a beautiful novel about Philadelphia, now that she sees her from the right distance, and then a memorial to his family. Donovan has given us his first album “More is less” and we are now waiting for the next notes, the soundtrack of another Irpinia.
“We will return each year, we will continue our project, we will end up fixing the house with our hands. We want to build a future here too. ” We will meet again. And I sure they will, because Donovan wants to become an Italian citizen and Patrick hopes one day to be able to write a story in our language. Rest, books, music, chats, wine glasses, nature, a Tufo house and grapes in baskets will be a great revolution, at least spiritual.