Songwriter takes path less traveled

| Terence Chang 11 Jul 2019

Italian singer Marian Trapassi told me she was born in Sicily, where she spent her childhood and fell in love with singing.

Then she went to live in Rome and Treviso, bringing her own songs on the road, before going to Milan - a "cosmopolitan" and "lively" city that has turned out to be her favorite.

So she has made it her home for the past 11 years. I reckon her city-hopping days are over.

"Since I was young, I've liked The Beatles, Joni Mitchell and Francesco De Gregori," she said of her musical interests that spans Britain, Canada, Italy and France.

"In recent years, I started to like French songs too."

She is fond of sentimental folk numbers, music that can even be considered melancholic. She then observed: "The music industry has changed dramatically. CD sales haven't been good."

That is good for independent songwriters like herself as the absence of market pressure has given them more control and creative freedom to write and sing the songs they like.

I listened to the CDs she produced, Bellavita larancia e altri viaggi and Vi chiamero per nome and had to agree with her that "music and life are the same."

It is more meaningful for singers to sing their own songs to express their yearning for a good life and to freely live a life they like.

It is certainly better than having to cater to popular tastes and market trends.

She teaches singing too to earn a living.

She has toured with a band but in the end decided to go solo. "Solo is freer. I can go whenever my heart desires." You can find Trapassi performing in concert halls, private clubs and public squares. She doesn't mind the size of her audience as long as those who "came to listen like the songs I wrote and my rendition of them."

She likes to express her feelings through songwriting. "When melody and lyrics meet, they take on a life of their own. Songs take shape by themselves. It's like magic."

She believes writing original songs is the only way to touch people's heart, and she won't stop writing songs because "writing is a process that grows as you live."

And when the songs are written, she would sing them in her own way, in her own unique voice.

Terence Chang Cheuk-cheung is the retired headmaster of Diocesan Boys School

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