New Humanity Movement

Ethnicities and Cultures

tribuzulu‘Nuove Tribù Zulu’ is a musical band based in Rome. Their music is being appreciated by an ever growing number of people throughout the world.

by Paolo Balduzzi - Rome (Italy)

ROME. I often say that the events in which we find ourselves involved and the persons we meet need to be ‘decanted’, just like a good drop of red wine. One needs to have a little patience to allow the wine to emit the scents that have been imbued by the old wooden barrel… I’m sipping my wine on a Roman terrace that provides a breathtaking view of the Eternal City. My hosts are the members of the band ‘Nuove Tribù Zulu’: Andrea Camerini, Paolo Camerini, and Roberto Berini. Although not a musician, Laura Di Nitto is an integral part of their band. She is a TV director and a documentary producer.

Sounds and words: these are two fundamental words for you.

Sound is an essential part of our lives. Perhaps we are not fully aware to the extent it conditions all other aspects, since it hits all our emotional and cultural nerves. It is the humanity’s primordial language: we are born with this rhythm within us. Then we learn words, which form us as long as we live. Words, however, are fast losing their true meaning. The all-present media are making us forget the true meaning of the things and the persons that surround us, and even of words we use. The media provide a limited view of life; we wanted something more”

Let’s start from the beginning. You came together in the early nineties. What were your aspirations then?

“As musicians we all grew up together; our being together is first of all the fruit of a genuine friendship. The Berlin wall had just crumbled down, and big changes were the order of the day. Yet, even though we experienced these changes together in the same city, we weren’t sure where we were heading. So we hit the streets to discover that part of ourselves that we couldn’t find in other places. We wanted to know where we were and to chose our destination. The streets, the city and its people helped us to know ourselves better. We met persons who shared their life story with us and we played for them; we immersed ourselves in their troubles and in their richness, aware of the risks we were taking. We chose a bellicose name because at that time we wanted to challenge society. Then, with the passing of time, we realised something else. Our group went forward based on this ideal: we moved around Italy in search of truth”.

Back to the use of language; it seems that you opted for something that goes against the current.

“We lived through a significant historical phase. The ‘underground’ bands of that time did not utilize the Italian language or traditions. Just to look anti-conformist, they used English, mainly. We started to look at our Italian roots, proposing sounds and a language that belong to our country, and in doing so we brought back some of the traditions which are a richness in themselves.

In these fifteen years you must have had lots of interesting experiences…

“We were mainly interested in having a hands-on experience. We consider our work in the musical field as a means of research and, as had already been said, it becomes a creative need and a means to know better one’s self and the others. During these years we have become more convinced that music has a very important social function: it has a fundamental role in promoting socialization and inter-personal communication”.

And for this the reason you are involved in social projects in Italy and other countries…

Once we understood the meaning of our music production, we wanted to go a step further: understanding the others, those who are different and thus represent the unknown. At the same time we were aware that we could find a contact point establishing reciprocity in our relationships with these through our music, thus. This was fantastic. This inevitably led us into the educational field where we came in contact with many children with problems. Music indeed proved to be a great help. We launched our project ‘A song for peace’ in many schools and also prisons. In all this we gave something and received too”.

You have the city at heart, yet your gaze is upon the whole world…

“That’s true. We have projects focussing on a community, like a prison, a school or a neighbourhood; it is in these concrete situations that we could build enriching relationships. The city allows us to have a close relationship with our audience: the mutual giving and receiving is natural and direct. Having established these solid basis we could then widen our perspectives, encompassing the whole world. And there was India, Africa…

Your endeavours have led you to experience some painful situations, especially where children are the ones that suffer most.

Laura: “That’s right, and at times it was not easy at all. In two hospitals, for example, the sufferings that I saw were overwhelming. Yet we always managed to come up with something to improve the situation. Each occasion was a fresh challenge to better our work in order to address these sufferings. Probably, even artists have a responsibility to carry. They need to be the true mediators and faithful interpreters of reality. In a city there needs to be doctors, administrators, the police, etc., and artists as well.

Were you ever tempted to quit?

“Laura is right when she says that our enthusiasm to do something for the others always came on top. We strongly felt the need to take a courageous stance on certain issues. In daily life what really counts is to be loyal to one’s ideals. We wanted to link our interior search with our musical, artistic and media commitments; what we did was what enriched us. Our primary objective is to use all these means to do things which help us mature”.

So do you consider art as an instrument of making people come together?

The ultimate meaning of all that we do, perhaps, is the unity of humanity, something which is fundamental. We have been in India many times. It is a country of contradictions, but also one, which offers great hopes. I think that each trip there has changed us little by little. Thanks to our contact with these people, we started to value the really essential things in life. Yet, at the same time, we still feel European. After many trips to India we are, at the moment, promoting our project ‘NOW – Nomadic Orchestra of the World’; this wants to express the idea of unity. Every time we experience an ode to life, and this is very special. When we see that the people around us are happy because of what we do, we are happy too, and we then know that our efforts were worthwhile.

Zulu means ‘people from heaven’. A 17-year-old from Johannesburg, after a workshop with NTZ, wrote a poem entitled ‘We are the same difference’. That’s exactly it. Looking at the starts, which look so different from each other, I see a confirmation of this.                   
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