Sailors, Prophets and Whales, the last album by the Italian singer-songwriter Vinicio Capossela, was released on the April 16th, three years after his second to last album Da solo.
Some call it a theme album, described as “oceanic” by the author himself. The theme of all 19 tracks is the sea, with all the animals, people, and mythological creatures which live in it, under or next to it. Apart from the sea, the journey is another important theme: the open sea journey that is seen as an allegory of the inner journey everyone has to make in order to discover his or her own self, as we can read in the novels by Conrad and Melville, to whom Capossela dedicates more than one song.
The theme of the sea is intertwined with other themes such as human weakness and homesickness, which come to life in the stories of many different characters ranging from Lord Jim to the nymph Calipso and from the fortune-teller Tiresia to a… romantic octopus.
In order to explore more mysterious and deeper worlds, Vinicio Capossela has left the fast and hectic rhythm of his previous works behind, replacing it with unexplored new rhythms and sounds, which entail a huge stylistic distance from the previous albums. There have been many external contributions to the making of this abyssal atmosphere. Among the main contributions there is the chorus of the Apocryphals, the Actores Alidores from Sardinia in the first track Il grande leviatano, the Marinetti sisters in Pryntyl and the Cretan lyre player Psarantonis in Aedo.
It is not an exaggeration to compare this album to a treasure chest lying on the seabed waiting to reveal its precious contents, as for example this peculiar song about a mermaid singing in „mermaidese“, that I’m sure will be appreciated by all language lovers: (part of the lyrics is in Italian).