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Ranzi Mensah: “My Song of Prayer” (Donatella Lavezzari)

Ranzi Mensah, charming princess of the Ghanaian Fante people,
An Aosta Valley adopter, she started her career at a very young age. daughter
Singer, music educator, pianist and researcher (one of the most
Important ethnomusicologists of the African continent, whose meticulous work is Y
He owes his rediscovery to people through observations), Ranzi grew up in a
A world made of notes.
He has given many concerts all over the world. Among the most important I want
Remember the show in Piazza San Carlo, in Turin, with Miriam Makeba,
Festival in San Severino Marche with Pat Metheny, Jimmy Cliff and Gilberto Gil.
In Rome, she sang in the Santa Cecilia Demonstration Hall
“Roads of Peace” featuring Gorbachev and Bob Geldof, Nobel Peace Prize winners.
A refined interpreter of gospel and soul music, she has exceptional ability
The ability to engage and excite viewers. at his parties
Music, body expression and dance harmoniously harmonize,
Touch the play.
Thanks to the intensity of her performance and her strong stage presence,
Ranzi envelopes us in a precious mixture of sounds and colorful words

Hi Ranzy, How important is your cultural roots to you?
Cultural roots are as important to humans as roots are
important for the tree. A tree needs roots to grow but it has to
As one spreads its branches in the opposite direction towards the sun.
If the tree is going to close itself, or try to grow into it
The same direction as its roots, it will die.
In the same way, human beings must acknowledge their roots
Opening up to the other, to the world, to the whole universe, otherwise its truth
Its culture will atrophy and die.

I shared the stage with Miriam Makeba who led the place
The world is a story of suffering and injustice in your country
Originally, what does “Mama Africa” ​​mean to you?
Mama Africa was my guide.
Aside from her voice and music, what she stands for to me is ability and
The courage of the artist to use his art to defend principles
Equality and justice even at the cost of sacrificing advantages
your career or your life.
This is what Miriam Makeba did.
She has been banished from her country for over 30 years due to her fight against it
Apartheid has been declared persona non grata in many countries around the world
For his statements against the injustices that prevailed in South Africa and his illustrious career in the United States was cut short in the 1960s by his rule.
Union with Stokeley Carmichael’s black panther.
Miriam Makeba died on stage in Castel Volturno while still singing
Once for justice.
I would like to follow this example in my life as a singer.

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During your long career, you have performed at many concerts
Africa, Europe and North America, what are the most exciting live shows?
It’s really hard to say because there are so many exciting concerts.
It certainly meant a lot to me to sing for the Nobel Peace Prizes
In the Santa Cecilia Hall in Rome.
Peace is a topic that interests me particularly and when
I am called to sing for this ideal of which I feel proud!

I was always with your multicultural music and projects
Socially engaged in spreading messages of peace, you want some
to speak?
My life path has been intercultural.
I was born in Ghana. At the age of five we went to live in the United States and
Then to England, then to Zambia, then to Uganda. I was hesitating
International Schools where my classmates come from 5 continents.
I have traveled to many countries and wanted to devote my artistic expression
For the rapprochement of peoples because apart from our differences we have a lot of things
In schools with children from 3 to 12 years old, I offer multicultural projects where
Tell Africa through fairy tales, dance, songs, proverbs and lullabies
nanne because these expressions are common to all peoples and cultures
Children are our future and it is important to prepare them for this tangle
cultures and peoples that is now an unstoppable process.
In kindergarten, I asked the children who looked at me the most
Curiosity: “Children, why do you think Ranzy is black?”
A three-year-old girl answered me: “Because you ate too much
This purity, which is common to all the children of the world, is the legacy of, prof
A constant inspiration for me!
In July 2021, I founded La Melagrana, a social cooperative
Multicultural Mediators and other partners, of whom I am the president.
The common goal is to enhance the dignity of the other person
any discrimination of race, colour, religion, culture, language or social status,
Providing assistance to foreign citizens with social, health and educational services
and promoting intercultural awareness within the social fabric
from our lands.
The keywords are: integration, inclusion, well-being and collaboration.

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How important is it to interest young people in it, in your opinion
Music for the purpose of cultural and spiritual upbringing?
Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Without music, life would be a mistake.”
I say it would be a great mistake not to introduce music into education
Youth. Many great philosophers and thinkers, from Einstein to Kennedy, have
I realized that music is more than just entertainment.
According to African culture, music is uplifting, purifying the soul, and celebrating life.
He thanked you for everything we had and allowed us to tell
Our history for future generations.
Eric Anderson says, “It is only by introducing young people to greatness
Literature, dramatic arts, music and the passion of the greats
Science that we can give them all the potential in the soul
human and allow them to see and dream.”
The magic of the place influences and nourishes the representation
Content and he, in turn, is imbued with it, wherever you want
I’d like to sing at the Apollo Theater in Harlem because it’s a temple
The music of blacks brought to America from Africa as slaves,
They sing their sufferings and hopes.
It is the structure of “Negro Souls”, “Gospel”, “Soul”, “Blues” and
Paul Whiteman says, “Jazz came to America three hundred years ago

Paolo Conte was so fascinated by your voice that he enjoys you
He had to interpret his song “Don’t Break My Heart,” as it were
The encounter with this amazing songwriter?
There was immediately a great understanding between us. I was in love with her
The music and his unmistakable style.
After one of his concerts in Caracalla, he came to listen to me in the amphitheater of Asti.
We had dinner together and after that he invited me to his house.
Paolo Conte is a wonderful and down to earth person, with deep knowledge
and sensitivity to music.

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I have in my heart “Just a Dream”, one of your precious albums. Tell us
How were you born?
The “Just a Dream” CD was primarily born with the desire to make a group
One of the most beautiful songs in the gospel repertoire.
Gospel is the music of my soul.
With the gospel, I strip myself of everything and express my true identity:
I am in love with the divine, with the transcendent (but down to earth). “Just
A dream ”is also a work of maturity and through this work I leave it
The world is all I would like to express.

What is the message that you want to convey through your letter?
The great philosopher and writer Leo Tolstoy said, “Music is shorthand
of passion.”
Through my music, I want above all to convey emotions and joy
life in all its aspects. I like to be of service to others
When I sing, I remove bad thoughts, I bring a glimmer of hope,
It lifts souls, suggests smiles, and unites people.
These words of Dr. Max Bendener express the concept well: “Music
He can accomplish the greatest tasks: he can be the link
Between nations, between races… She can unite the disjointed and bring peace
for what is hostile.”

This past August I was in Canada in Toronto for the Yensa Festival.
A Celebration of Black Woman in Dance’, whose guiding principles are
Symbiosis, brotherhood and technical excellence.
This important event, designed and produced by my daughter Lua
Shayenne with his dance company, wants to highlight, every year, on
The talent and creativity of colorful dancers and choreographers
They come from all over the world.
Many discussions, meetings, workshops and presentations followed.
All from a female perspective.

Donatella Lavizzari

Photo by Dalia Katz