Publish date 02-12-2022

by Mauro Tabasso

A few weeks ago, some dear friends of mine gave me a Umarell. It is a popular folklore character of Bolognese origin (apparently), but widespread (under other names) throughout Italy.
It is a colored resin figurine the size of a toy soldier that is on sale on the internet, and depicts the little man, the Umarell, who watches the building sites and the workers who work there, with their fantastic equipment (crane, excavators, asphalt pavers, motor pumps, trucks…).

He faithfully reproduces an elderly gentleman with a cap on his head, gaze bent towards the ground, hands behind his back, a canvas jacket and a generous belly. The portrait of the man who observes and criticizes: «One who works, three who watch… These jobs are not done like this…».
My Umarell is yellow and now sits on my desk. Those who sell it claim that watching it increases productivity. When they give it to you they usually want to tell you two things. A) It's time for you to retire, you need a long vacation; B) Never become so wise and critical (the real Umarell knows how to do art work, whatever work it is!!!); keep slaving it's better!

In each of the two cases definitely a good wish and a gesture of sincere friendship, at least that's how I interpret them. Lately I've been demotivated at work, tired, tired of not wanting to hear about music anymore.
And in return I receive invitations to concerts from regulars, organizers, aspirants, students, music lovers... Sometimes more invitations for the same day (I'm talking about even very expensive tickets). But this year I broke my records, so in revenge I deserted them all, or almost. Someone called me crazy (for the record I left a seat empty in the seventh row at the Eurovision final). However, I took the liberty of pointing out a fact. Who criticized me is a music lover.

A lover, not a husband. The lover makes love to his sweetheart (music) whenever he wants. They agree, they see each other, they do their own business. Not me, because I married music. She is a wife and not a lover (a fact on which I specify that I do not have all this experience). For me, music isn't even a girlfriend who puts on makeup and dresses up to go out on a Saturday night, but a wife with whom I share every moment of my life, whether present or absent. You have to like a wife right out of the shower, not after she's done her hair, made up, perfumed and put on a miniskirt. You have to like her with all her physical flaws of her or not of her, the obvious ones and the ones that only you can see. You have to choose a wife every morning when she opens her eyes (assuming you ever managed to close them) and realizes you have another day to spend with her. You have to put up with her (she does it with you), you have to want to do it because loving is an act of will, it's not dating the girl who makes your head spin. Music and my wife made my head spin at the time, but marrying them was an act of trust, it was showing my will and my sincere intention to build something bigger than myself together with them.

This year I celebrated 30 years of marriage and next year I will celebrate 30 years of career. That's why I don't go to concerts anymore. They don't have much to tell me anymore, after all the devotion and effort I've put into my art. And I envy a little those who still joyfully participate in these rituals, now dry for me. I prefer to spend the evening with my wife, my children (when there are), my music, the one I married and who continues to speak to my heart and my head rather than attending events that stopped moving me years ago . I imagine that this is also a bit physiological. And then at concerts I become an authentic Umarell… «I would have done this… They had to do this…». Better to stay at home, with those who tolerate me in silence, for 30 years and 29…

Mauro Tabasso
NP August / September 2022

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