Creative force of love – Interview with Egida Aurea

interview by Sylwia Partyka

We invite you to read the interview with Diego Banchero, bassist and keyboardist of Egida Aurea, the band which stole the hearts of Santa Sangre team members with its latest album entitled “Derive”. Enjoy!

Hello! I have to admit that since I heard “Derive” for the first time, I totally felt in love with Egida Aurea! However I have no clue what about the lyrics are about – so please tell me something about them.

Thank you Sylwia, you’re so kind! The lyrics of “Derive” represent different steps related to the spiritual drift which led Occidental man to lose control of his evolutionary pathway by losing, precisely, his direction to stray into the unknown sea of impoverishment which is causing his cultural dissolution.

This pathway loss is mostly described through some psychological analysis of personalities taken as samples and the analysis of some historical period (related to the past of our city) of which we evoke the memory.

I tried to translate your band name via google translator – and the result was “Golden Umberlla”. I guess it’s not correct translation, is it? What does “Egida Aurea” mean and does it have any reference to Italian culture?

Sometimes Google translators play funny jokes! Egida Aurea in reality means Golden Shield. The Egida (from Latin “aegis” , coming from Greek “aigis”) is Athena’s legendary shield. The name then comes from classical tradition and we chose it as protection and defence symbol.

Two of you – Diego and Carolina – were working together before Egida Aurea era. Why did you decide to form another band? Are you still involved in your first project Recondita Stirpe? What are the main differences between both bands?

Yes! Me, Carolina, Fernando Cherchi and Roberto Lucanato, we have been active members of the former project “Recondita Stirpe”  which was de facto structured in a different way, either for what concerns creative aspects or management and organizational ones. These aspects required too heavy efforts, causing damage to a kind of “agility” which, in our opinion, is basic in our evolving scene.

We wanted also to develop a project totally built up around Carolina’s voice, a project in which song-writing and folk aspects were most privileged than orchestral approach which was Recondita Stirpe main feature.

 I’ve noticed that you’ll play at WGT this year for the second time.  And I already regret that I can’t be there to see your show. What are your memories related to last year’s show? Is WGT a good place to play the music like yours?

Unfortunately we won’t play at WGT this year cause we were already involved in 2011. The memory of last year is still alive, it has been a wonderful experience. We had an astonishing response from the public coming from all over the world. They welcomed our gig very warmly, showing great involvement by singing our songs!

WGT is one of the best places where a band such as EA can have the great chance to play. We really hope to come back there soon!

I saw a video on YT from your live gig. How often do you play live? And which countries you already visited?

We love very much playing live and we’re always very happy to perfom each time we have the chance. To this day, we performed in Germany, France and obviously in Italy.

 Do you have any contact with other folk or neofolk bands in Italy? If so – what kind of relations and atmosphere is between you and them?

We have great friendship and cooperation relations with many Italian bands belonging to our scene or not. To name a few, I would like to remember Hidden Place, The Green Man, Camerata Mediolanense, Rosa Rubea, Hautville, Roma Amor, Ballo delle Castagne, Varunna, Spiritual Front, Oniric and Malato.

The Italian scene is far from being cohesive and this fact damages and delays its growth (even if this is a secondary problem) and makes difficult to ensure that cultural work that each band tries to do, becomes forceful where needed.

 I think that bands which are playing music like yours are very important in our highly consuming society. Would you agree with me?

I totally agree with you. As a matter of fact, in a global market monopolized by few economical potentates, which are trying to level out every difference in order to make music a mass commercial product, bands such as ours fight to keep alive individual peculiarities and to give voice to cultural traditions which people seek definitively to overcome because unconfortable for the prevailing point of view of the existing globalization project.

Diego, your musical experience is very broad –  do you feel that Egida Aurea is the sum of all your experiences or just station in the further way?

I think that Egida Aurea is the culmination of my whole artistic career. Even if I’m still cooperating with other projects, in my everyday musician’s activity this project represents the maximum expression of the composer, musician and man held in my personality.

Your first album is called  “Storia Di Una Rondine” – “My Little War”. I’m curious  what this album  is about – because you declare on your official website that you are not politically involved at all. But I guess history is important topic in your lirycs?

Egida Aurea doesn’t adhere to any specific political trend but we are an apolitical band. Nevertheless, we go into metapolitical and historical subjects and we carry out psychological  analysis related to some human types who spent their lives in different ages.

The EP “Storia di una Rondine” describes four moments of war taken from different historical periods, from Alexandrian Age to today urban wars. “La Mia Piccola Guerra” instead carries out a research mainly on the inner war of human being (that is to say his inner conflicts) between spiritual growth needs and impoverishment trends.

Have you ever been in Poland? What do you think about our country?

Unfortunately I still haven’t  had the chance to visit Poland but I hope to succeed and fill this gap in the future! I have however an excellent opinion both of your Country, which is a great birthplace of culture, and of your people, who have written memorable pages of history.

How everyday’s life looks like in Genoa? How important is for you the city where you live? Does it inspire you in any way? Would you recommend this place for living?

I wouldn’t  recommend at all to anyone to come and live today in Genoa. Italy suffers from false international economic crisis (built up in laboratory) much more than other Countries and Genoa is one of the places in which living has become more and more difficult.

Anyway, we love our city and we bring in our heart the memory of its glorious past and its culture which is gradually disappearing. Genoa is our music main source of inspiration.

What was the reason that you decide to sing entirely in Italian?

The main reason lies on our will to make a deep recovery work of our singer-songwriter tradition main features, that’s why Italian language is obviously of fundamental importance. This aim wasn’t so deeply felt in Recondita Stirpe, whose lyrics were written in different languages.

How essential is love in your life? What kind of feelings or emotions drive you to create new sounds?

Love has a great importance for us and it regulates every interpersonal dynamics both among the members of the group and between the group and its public. It is the fuel who drives us into writing music. We are carrying on our shoulders a big emotional baggage (whose centrepiece is love) each time we enter the studio and each time we play live. Our art would loose its meaning if this component should be missing.

What are your musical plans for the nearest future?

We have plenty of plans for the future  and we’re thinking about the production of 3 new works, but I don’t want to reveal too many details to avoid spoiling the surprise to those who will decide to listen to them!! We also intend to play live in as many places as possible.

 Several words to Polish listeners?

We would like to thank and great all those who, in Poland, are following the neo folk scene,  in the hope of succeeding soon in performing in one or more gigs in your Country!

Egida Aurea official webpage
Egida Aurea Facebook

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