Long live liberty

Listening to Jovanotti’s new album

Precious and fragile
Unstable and precarious
Clear and magnetic
Light as the air
Always fashionable even when out of fashion
Always beautiful she walks down the streets
On the horizon, within the mind
On the stage and behind the scenes
Train me, teach me how to live with you

These are the words with which Lorenzo Cherubini, better known as Jovanotti, begins “Viva la libertà” (Long live liberty), the first song of his fourteenth (and most recent) album “Oh, vita!” (Oh, life!) released on the 1st of December. The song quickly topped the Italian charts: not only because Jovanotti’s so well loved in Italy, but also – I believe – due to the capacity his music has to accompany the listener into a deeper understanding of the lyrics themselves. Life, love and liberty: themes dear to the singer’s heart which bubble to the surface again in this – as in previous – albums of his.

Jovanotti sings the praises of a liberty which thoroughly permeates man’s being. A precious, fragile, unstable and precarious liberty which always seems just out of reach, vanishing into nothing just as it appears. We walk along the roads of our lives as pilgrims, often without any particular strengths. We find it difficult to hold on to those favourable situations or conditions we might find ourselves in. Unlike animals, we haven’t adapted to any one specific habitat. We’re able to live in almost any environment. We aren’t tied down to one particular corner of earth. We’re capable of breaking free from those instincts which hold the wild beasts in their grip and which lead them to live the same dynamics over and over again. No. We’re free, and we can do much more!

Magic word, put it in practice
Listen to how beautiful she is, how difficult
And she never stops, she never rests
A thousand wrinkles, she’s always young
Scarred here, wounded there
But if she touches you she’ll heal you
She’s got soft lips, strong arms
And if she hugs you she’ll free you

Even though liberty’s a “magic word”, Jovanotti doesn’t hide from the fact that she’s “difficult” to live with. We’re constantly searching for liberty, for that freedom of living a life without any sort of plan, freedom from stale and stuffy habits, freedom from those bindings which keep us from living authentically. History tells us that man has always sought liberty. He’s always tried to conquer her. He’s abused of her, and even today people are turned into slaves in her name. This shouldn’t, however, lead us towards timid surrender. That the name of liberty has been abused encourages us to rediscover whom she truly is. History’s aged liberty into a woman with “a thousand wrinkles”, a woman wounded and scarred – a woman, yet, with “soft lips, strong arms”. Jovanotti portrays liberty as an elderly lady marked by time and fatigue, yet always ready to heal us and set us free.

I want her here for me, I want her here for you
I want her for those who don’t want her for themselves
Difficult times, tragic sometimes
Believe and never give up

Why be resigned to that which doesn’t allow us to be ourselves? Why not free ourselves from those habits which allow us to get by yet lead us to being less human? Why not try this out? We never walk alone along this path of truth.

Photo by Aditya Saxena

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