“A very great vision is needed, and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky.”
~ Ta’ Shunke Witko (Crazy Horse, Oglala Lakota Sioux)
Alessandra Celletti, Italian pianist and lover of Sacajawea. The Natives have always been in my heart. I love their way of life, their respect for the land, their poetry. Several years ago my friend and journalist, Pietro Lanzara, made a long trip to America and on his return told me the story of Sacagawea. There was enthusiasm and emotion in his voice…
As he spoke, I was fascinated by this story — by the sweetness and courage of this young woman. I seemed to see her, with her child on her shoulders, as she went through vast and hostile landscapes. I seemed to hear her sweet voice as she sang a lullaby to her son. I seemed to perceive her suffering and her joy of life.
That evening, Pietro and I decided to dedicate a musical project to Sacagawea. He would write the words and I would create the music. Afterward, we made a box with a CD (only 5 tracks) and a booklet almost handcrafted. A precious box that I really care about.
The light always inspires me when I start playing and composing: the light of dawn, the reflections on the water, a sunny morning. In the heart of Sacagawea, there is a wonderful light. In the heart of each woman, there is a special light. And, each woman can have great courage and joy of life, even (and especially) in the most difficult situations.
At first, Pietro wrote a text that really impressed me. So I created the melody spontaneously, without thinking. We called this first track “Mother,” but in reality, it is the child, her son, who speaks from within the belly. He tells us how to learn to comfort a mother, young and beautiful like a queen, drying her tears and turning them into pearls. He tells us how to answer with a smile to a sweet lullaby. Another song (still unpublished) is titled “Bird Woman.” It tells of when Sacagawea was very sick — it is intense and there is a magical moment in the end. I imagine Sacagawea flying over the seashore. Even the melody flies high, and I am happy when I sing those notes.
At one point, while I was working on this project, a funny coincidence happened — a connection, almost prophetic, with my work on Sacagawea. After many, many years, I found some drawings I had done when I was six-years-old. As a child, I loved drawing so much. I still remember that afternoon when I took some papers and colored felt-tip pens in my father’s office. I do not know why that day I decided to draw Native Americans, especially a mother with her baby in her arms. But I remember very well, I used a 5 lire coin because I wanted her face to be perfectly round. I was very proud of those drawings. You can imagine my happiness when, after so many years, I have found these drawings in the pages of an old book. That Native mother could only become the cover of Sketches of Sacagawea. But what makes me happy is that in the booklet there are also some paintings that my mother made, especially for me and for this project. What I want to say is, the love between mother and child is the strongest and greatest thing.
Now I would like to resume and develop this project. My dream is that some of my music will be used in Sacajawea, The Windcatcher. And then, it would be wonderful to do concerts retracing the fundamental stages of Sacajawea’s journey of discovery. This is my part in her journey, and I am so grateful to be able to share it.