Cesare Picco

Blind Date

by Lina Vergara Huilcamán

“I’ve been performing this concert for eight years now, and lately, as never before, I’m realising how cathartic the arrival of light is to me. During the first years I was far more focused on the descent and on the arrival in the dark, because it was the first step in this journey of research...
The whole idea was born during a private concert. There were only twenty friends attending, and I remember that it quickly took a though turn; but when I went to India with CBM Italia Onlus, in 2012/2013, I  deeply understood, feeling it with every inch of my skin and in every drop of my blood, the metaphorical meaning this concert takes by joining CBM and all it represents. Then, everything changed. This gave me a new impulse, which still drives me: to focus on the moment of the arrival of the light. Every time I take on this path, when I feel the public’s reaction, I experience a surge of fulfilment, and I feel like I could hold the whole theatre in my hands. And the most incredible thing is the energy connecting all those people who are just listening to music; I think this is the true magic of this metaphorical experience.
In Colombia, I met an old man called Taita. He used to say that if we spent all our life in the light, then we would be blind, because we need to see the darkness and face it in order to fully experience light. If there is one thing I learned from this concert and from the collaboration with CBM, it’s that my music needs darkness. As a musician, I consider darkness as an opportunity, like silence was an opportunity for John Cage – and probably, after all those years, silence didn’t exist to him anymore, just like darkness doesn’t exist to me either. It’s merely a physical condition, and for us who are, luckily, sighted, it becomes a chance to see and understand with new eyes.
The collaboration with CBM is essential: it’s care, it’s love… When you meet CBM, and realise what its volunteers do every day, you understand that the BLIND DATE is the musical transposition of their action. I travelled with them to India, where their presence is well established. They took me to Shillong, a city in a small, wonderful, green state called Meghalaya. Here lives an amazing woman, who became blind when she was an adolescent, and who is now a key figure in India, since she managed to change the entire education system. Thanks to her, Bethany School has become a worldwide example of full inclusion, with its classes consisting of 50% special needs students. It has been a wonderful journey, and discovering this world changed me a lot, if not completely. I want to stress that CBM doesn’t tell about the world of blind people, but it shows the world of people regaining sight.
It’s a progressive road to light, a path towards the light. This is not about a closed and limited world; this is an open door.
I find this concert interesting from a musical point of view because darkness forces us to get back in contact with our inner selves. Staying on our own for more than ten minutes is something we aren’t used to anymore. You have to re-establish the connection with yourself, you must have the strength to take this step. I don’t care if people like my music or not, I care about making people experience this journey from darkness to light. Each time, I realise that music is what keeps everything together, and as a musician I think music recovers its positive power, because the audience clings to the sound, creating images which are true gifts to me.
Over the years I’ve collected so many different reactions from the audience: the one who doesn’t give a damn, the one who cries, who laughs, who sleeps, the one who is having visions – actually, once a man told me he was seeing the northern lights… it’s amazing, it’s like being in a collective place where anything could happen. During the BLIND DATE everything around you –  the audience, the theatre, and even the pianist – everything disappears! There is nothing left, not even me; and in this Image Era, disappearing, descending into darkness, where there’s no escape, where you are on your own, without your mobile phone, for half an hour of your life, is such a unique experience. And it’s a personal journey.”

BLIND DATE – Concert in the Dark, conceived in 2009 by the worldwide known pianist Cesare Picco, relies on a simple and magic formula: LIGHT – DARK – LIGHT. A soft, dim light welcomes the audience, and once the concert starts, the light slowly begins to fade until darkness is complete; then, the light gradually turns on. The communicative power of Cesare Picco’s piano improvisation, together with the sensory journey into complete darkness, makes this concert a unique event in which the audience loses its landmarks and sharpens its senses, beginning to listen in a different way.  BLIND DATE – Concert in the Dark is an experience that fully conveys the mission of CBM Italia Onlus: to bring the light back to the lives of blind people from the Southern countries.

October, 13/14: Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi, Milan | October, 24: Teatro Duse, Bologna | October, 26: Teatro Sociale, Como | November, 9: Teatro Sociale, Sondrio.
Free admission with suggested donation to sustain CBM projects for the prevention and treatment of blindness and disabilities in the Southern Countries. Booking is required.
For further information and booking, please visit www.cbmitalia.org/blind-date/tour or call +39 3351505452