In earlier times, the so-called Milky Way was a celestial orientation reference for pilgrims who followed the direction of these bright stars to reach Santiago de Compostela. That’s why the Milky Way was also known as the way of the stars and Compostela itself is a Spanish word which means “the field of stars”. Rome-based polyhedral artist Katya Sanna was inspired by the intrinsic dual values of our galaxy (a terrestrial guide, but also an astral projection on our planet) on her new album “La Via Delle Stelle“, where she revolved around this astronomical concept taking on many different perspectives. She extolled our fascinating galaxy by embarking on a stylistically motley musical journey as well as an art installation, which represented the “landing” of the Milky Way on Planet Earth. We had a chat with this imaginative artist.
Chain D.L.K.: Hi Katya, first of all how are you?
Katya Sanna: I am fine! Spring is my favorite season!
Chain D.L.K.: It’s been a great pleasure to receive and listen to your last album “La Via Delle Stelle” [Italian for “The Star’s Way”]… before speaking about that, would you introduce yourself to our readers?
Katya Sanna: What can I say? I am an artist who loves to recount stories and evoke suggestions by different artistic fields.
Chain D.L.K.: You are a really versatile artist… visual art, photography, poetry, fiction, embroidery… and music of course! How do you relate with each of these artistic fields?
Katya Sanna: I have a free approach, I would say anarchic, playful. I love to ignore established rules or the usual procedures and let an idea or inspiration or suggestion take shape. I often say that the artist works for the Art, the artist is only a medium.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s the leitmotiv which accompanies your different expressions?
Katya Sanna: I think that my approach is very irregular and uses each artistic field as a way to communicate a world and evoke atmospheres that seems abstract, even when I touch upon realistic topics.
Chain D.L.K.: Let’s retrace some of your past musical outputs… you begun in late ’80es… how do you remember those years? Which were your sources of inspiration and how did they change over the years?
Katya Sanna: Those years for me were the start of my projects and I was very curious to know and meet artists. I’ve always wanted to sing since I was a child, I have been listening to a lot of music, but was always attracted to unusual and brave artists. Immediately after art school I began to sing in a Renaissance music choir as soprano and as background singer in some bands in Rome. But after having bought Danielle Dax’s LP “Jesus Egg That Wep” I decided to record and publish my songs. It is interesting that who gave me the courage to begin has been Danielle Dax, that seems very far from me, but I think that her music, especially that LP, represents my constant preference to original and plucky artists very well.
Chain D.L.K.: You already made a covers record called “Grand Tour”… how come?
Katya Sanna: I received invitations to participate in a couple of tribute albums by two Italian musicians: Faust’O and Fabrizio De Andrè. After doing those two covers, I wanted to continue to record my version of some songs that I liked to sing. The title “Grand Tour” is a reference to the historical Grand Tour, the traditional trip of Europe, for my album is a trip of music.
Chain D.L.K.: Lyrics play a very important role in your music… they are often highly elegiac…. is there any specific song that your soul is unavoidably tied to?
Katya Sanna: Maybe “Aurore”: those lyrics portray the dawn, my favorite time of day, the early hours of the day, the transition from night to day when there is a beautiful light and when all must still happen.
Chain D.L.K.: The subject of many songs of yours seems to be the metamorphosis of feminine entities (Crownless Queen, Wolf Woman and so on)… is it a way of describing your own artistic mutations?
Katya Sanna: My lyrics are not autobiographical, I love to relate stories (true stories or taken from Cinema, Literature etc.) that influence or move me. They are only autobiographical in the way in which I play by my voice, words, music.
Chain D.L.K.: There are many references to “pagan” deities and other systems of beliefs… how do you define abstract concepts like “eternity”, “infinity” or “divine”? How do they influence your music?
Katya Sanna: My definitions is “The Elsewhere – a place other”. I think that we can imagine, we can build intellectual architectures about what the Eternity is, what is Divine, but factually we don’t know what it is, it can be outside or within us, it can be an illusion, remembrance, an expectation, a chance… so I think that all we can do is follow our own sensibility. I feel my music (and also my painting) in soaked in this “place other” maybe because I let the inspiration and the production run so freely.
Chain D.L.K.: Let’s speak about your brand new album… why “Via Lattea” [italian for “Milky Way”]?
Katya Sanna: I wanted to represent “the song of the stars” which follows from the sky and the vicissitudes of Planet Earth: two parallel movements, maybe talking. This has been the longest and most laborious work. The first part has been dedicated to sampling and processing of sounds and the realization of the music that depicts the great and deep spaces of the sky, after that I composed the melodies of the voices that depict the stars.
Chain D.L.K.: A key element of your music is the specific use of your own voice, but it seems that you prefer more abstract vocalizations than proper songs as if you were singing in a trance-like state… is that true?
Katya Sanna: I want that the voice is free from constraints, even when I sing lyrics, for this reason when singing the lyrics I disregard the meter changes that force me to read the lyrics in separate times.
Chain D.L.K.: On “La Via delle Stelle”, a release which can be easily appreciated for its remarkable heterogeneity, you go from sonorities which are closer to ritual and Renaissance musical styles to alternatively rhythmic noise… does it come from new things you are listening to? If so, what are you listening to?
Katya Sanna: Even though I love to listen to all kinds of music, even mainstream music, my inspirations have one primary matrix: The Beatles. If you listen to their albums you can find all kinds of music, and this is what I want for my projects. Even if it still is done my way, I want that each artwork has its own character, dynamics and possibly never repetitive.
Chain D.L.K.: Your album is connected to an art installation by the same name… could you explain that?
Katya Sanna: When I finished the work in the studio I began to think of expanding the idea of the album with an installation that portrays the Milky Way being projected-landed on Earth. The album represent the Milk Way that follows the Earth from the sky, with the installation I project the Milky Way here between us.
Chain D.L.K.: Besides the stunning use of your voice, you used a shruti box in “Via Lattea” as well… how did you approach that fascinating instrument?
Katya Sanna: Casually among ethnic instruments. I was struck by its beautiful sounds and simple aesthetics, so I bought it on ebay Delhi music store.
Chain D.L.K.: Someone described your last record as a sort of caprice… would you agree with that statement?
Katya Sanna: I have no opinion about the statement itself. I believe that is possible that my album seems a caprice because the “Milky Way” can seem too abstract, an odd topic, this kind of attitude is so personal and it should be respected.
Chain D.L.K.: How does Rome, the city you live in, influence your art?
Katya Sanna: I don’t believe that Rome as a city has had any influence on my art.
Chain D.L.K.: Any upcoming projects?
Katya Sanna: I want to complete this album: now I am working on a video, I would like to expand my art installation with videos as well.
Katya Sanna on the web at: www.katyasanna.it
New CD free streaming LA VIA DELLE STELLE katyasanna.