Editorial

Monday, September 20, 2021
విశ్వ భాష‌Temple in the Air by MARTA MATTALIA

Temple in the Air by MARTA MATTALIA

Marta Mattalia
Mattalia in Varanasi – Picture by krb

My voice is made of bones, skin and flesh. It is the result of each part of my body resonating, at the same time it makes my body disappear.

 

When the priests of the Ancient Rome wanted to know about the future, they used to create a space to make it manifest in the present: they drew a rectangle in the air with a holy stick, to delimitate a celestial stage called templum, the original denomination of Temple. What they could see from that portion of sky, was the break-in of the future in the present, the infinite in the limit, the sense in the nonsense. That is the practice of Con-templation.

Once a man asked me: “Why are you an Italian woman here in north Africa, singing songs from an Indian music tradition in Bengoli language?” We both started to laugh.

I deepen my roots to lose any origins, I sing any kind of songs to make my voice take a specific shape, catch the quality of that shape and then leave it.

This is the paradox: the differences which make each element of the world single and unique, reveal that such elements are containers of the same truth. I’m just a vessel in which those differences can meet each other and recognize themselves as one.

My voice is made of bones, skin and flesh. It is the result of each part of my body resonating, at the same time it makes my body disappear. Learning to sing for me means to become more and more empty, to make the sound flow and make myself a vehicle for what the music has to give and receive. The sound resonates in the emptiness. The main practice consists of dismantling yourself, there is nothing to add.

The Baul musical tradition dates from the early 8th century weaving together threads of Buddhism, Turkish Sufism and Hinduism. It represents a melting point of religion genders and geographical barriers. Bauls are mystic musicians which bless people, families and houses with their musical and spiritual performances, in exchange of material support such as money or food.

I’ve sung for women and men, guys and girls, grandparents and babies. Despite the different cultures, languages, musical taste, gender, age, social levels, what finally remains of us is just one beating heart.

I’ve travelled thousands of kilometers to find a holy space lost in the countryside of West Bengal, where I could start singing again. I’ve travelled thousands of kilometers to open a little road which connects my feet and mouth directly to the heart. Since from that time I’ve brought this chanting through Asia, Middle East, North Africa and Europe. I’ve used to wander all over the world in exchange of a bed to sleep and some food to share. I’ve sung in each house, on a sofa or a carpet, in the kitchen or in the bedroom, on the beach or on the mountain, in a temple or in a café. I’ve sung for women and men, guys and girls, grandparents and babies. Despite the different cultures, languages, musical taste, gender, age, social levels, what finally remains of us is just one beating heart.

Whenever I sing, my wish is to open a glimpse of contemplation in the flow of reality, where all the living beings create together a dimension made of infinite space and no time. In this dimension we are totally present and interconnected, the others are not others anymore, we come back to the whole One, disappearing in it.

In this strange pandemic time we face so many limitations to cross the borders of other countries, come inside other houses, hug other people. Now we need to understand what makes our lives worthy to be lived. We need to choose life instead of the fear of dying. We need to keep singing to draw spaces of contemplation in the air, to build new Temples.

Marta Mattalia was conceived in Algeria and born in Italy in a date made by 3 prime numbers. She graduated in Afro-american Singing at Music Academy, and after received a master’s degree in Storytelling and Performing Arts at Scuola Holden in Torino. She dives inside the voice through the spiritual tradition of Baul, and Indian classical music of Dhrupad. Since 4 years she is travelling around the world, exploring the sound and the infinite ways to exist as human beings. When she’s foreign she feels at home.  

Instagram_Marta Mattalia

 

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