«Poem Pot Plays Pantano» is the second album of Swiss vocalist-poet Dalia Donadio, a student of Lauren Newton, Susanne Abbuhel, and Gerry Hemingway. This album follows «Poem Pot» (Prolog, 2016) that featured Donadio interpretations of poems by Gertrude Stein, e.e.cummings, Fernando Pessoa, Charles Bukowski, and Donadio herself. Donadio continues to perform with guitarist Urs Müller and double bass player Raphael Walser but on «Poem Pot Plays Pantano» all the poems were written by Swiss-Sicilian poet Daniele Pantano, taken from her book «Dogs in Untended Fields / Hunde in verwahrlosten Feldern» (Wolfbach Verlag, 2015).
Donadio’s compositions and arrangements surrender to the subtle ironic and even boldly grotesque imagery of the Pantano’s poems. These evocative poems address issues like exile, trans-lingual environment, and in an un-Swiss manner, Switzerland itself, with its landscape of the almighty Alps, the red and white flag, games of chess, hot date scene, and the cool fjords. Müller and Walser are perfect partners for such a poetic journey, attentive to every nuance in Donadio’s voice and always charging her delivery with imaginative colors.
The trio offers a gentle dreamscape for «Beyond the Stop Sign: Swiss Landscape», perfect for the suggestive-sensual delivery of Donadio and her wordless vocalizations. Her dramatic delivery of the song «Writing the City» captures the «medieval intimacy of space / Against the omnipotent Alps». «Morning Walk», dedicated to American poet Jay Hopler, stresses the troubling lines: «…Today, let me simply accept the bombinating / Presence of death in everything I see» with thorny improvisation and tortured vocalizations. «Last Visit & Supper Prior to the Invasion Only We Know about» is presented as a bitter-sweet, jazz-flavored spoken-word talk («I spend my time writing the important / Not the beautiful. What else can we do? / He asked. Continue, I answered)».
The atmosphere changes with the melancholic, chamber arrangement of the ars Poetica «Mountain Life», intensified by the expressive bowed guitar of Müller. And again, on the raw and erratic free-improvisations of «Vaudeville». Müller and Walser embrace gently Donadio’s seductive and eventful reminiscence of «a kaleidoscope of lovers» on «Time», and color beautifully the urban scenery of «Eastern Village with Factory» (…She keeps the doors / Unlocked. I Say nothing. / Men or dogs. There will be no / Other End). «Late December» concludes this album with another sobering but melancholic statement: «Still. No one misses the ordinary. Not even the blackbirds. / Just as no one, on either side, misses the end of the world», but this statement is softened by the warm voice of Donadio.
Dalia Donadio (v), Urs Müller (g), Raphael Walser (b)