Michel Solinas: Musician, Singer-Songwriter

Listening to Michel Solinas, otherwise known as ‘Ziu Micheli’ (a nickname that was given to him during his student days), would yet again plunge me into this musical world that surrounds us daily, and longs to reveal the personal and experienced sentiments which remain and still matter.
Native of the Taravu region, it was with a guitar, Natale Luciani and a group of friends, that Michel Solinas started playing music at the age of seventeen – this would entail polyphony and music from the seventies, which would slowly build and mould his musical world.
Following this, there would be many years of ‘silence’, within which he would give free flight to his thoughts on the essence of music itself – a personal compulsion and necessity.
He discovered his attraction to the violin, which was becoming an important musical instrument, and was highly influenced by Minicale, who introduced him to different types of music, and Petru Guelfucci.
This was a time of exploration and encounter. The various types of instruments played on the island, has led him to firmly believe that Corsica has been at certain moments very open-minded and influenced by other destinations, and his thoughts turn towards Italy, but more precisely Rome.
Specifically, what type of music interests him today ?
Here, his answer is automatic – music for dancing, for his admiration and interest can be found in traditional music we often listen to in pubs for example – and the Polka. I believe none of us are unaware of the warm, authentic and jovial tones that can be heard in a pub, which create and feed an ongoing and unique atmosphere. This has always been a tendency and charm for Michel.
What does he think of the musical scene here today in Corsica ?
Without a doubt, the Corsican language is very present and has been reinforced over the years. However, what was once known as ‘popular’ music has been somewhat lost, along the road – this is his main point, it has not been maintained, although social life continues nevertheless. This used to be very much part of that ‘social’ life in question .. why this happened, he does not fully comprehend. 
Of course, there is a definite change and evolution everywhere – but, this alone should not explain the disappearance of certain values. And, what bothers him even more, is the fact that nobody really appears concerned about this.
Instruments and preference:
With such talent, you can be sure Michel plays several instruments
– violin, guitar, bagpipes, mandolin, flute and accordion
and his personal preference goes to the violin – some time ago, when he was up north of the island, he regularly met with Roger Squarcioni and Giudicelli, these are fond and treasured memories indeed, hours spent listening to their stories when they went ‘on the road’.
‘Music is what life sounds like’                                                       
Who have been his major influences ?
– Dylan, Springsteen, Neil Young, The Pogues, The Dubliners, The Chieftains, Altan, Souad Massi, Natali Valli and Canta U Populu Corsu feature among the most prominent and influent.
What exactly does he wish to transmit with his music today ?
– A testimony of ‘popular’ music, which is not a ‘set’ music. Very often, it requires to be ‘recreated’ and in this way a progressive evolution can be sensed.
Did he ever feel like doing anything else ?
– Well, he is also a teacher – teaching the Corsican language.
However, if he were to pinpoint a wild dream, his answer would be to create comics for Marvel !
‘In music, the passions enjoy themselves’
In the beginning, the group ‘Contraversu’ was a folk group; now, it’s both folk and rock. Michel Solinas also belongs to this Corsican group, composed of five members: Tomasi, Mucchielli, Vidal, Tonton and himself.Traditional Corsican songs, some of which date back to the 18th century, that they have arranged in their own manner – including the flute and the bagpipes (made by an Italian stringed-instrument maker), giving concerts here and there. Jean-Michel Weber also plays with him from time to time. These days, many of their songs date back to the last century.
Michel underlines the fact that Irish music represents at least twenty years of his life. As for difficulties he sometimes meets, the greatest would be connecting with future producers, he’s under the impression they give little of their time to simply reply.
Future projects:
– ‘A Cent’anni’ songs and poems about 1914 will be edited by Le Parti des Oiseaux
– participating with the Compagnie Sacco, for an Italian CD on Christmas songs
– development with the Projet B (Bistro du Cours, Ajaccio) ‘joining forces to promote culture’
and not forgetting concerts lined up for the coming months.
What Michel would really like to see is the alternative wave/flow of Corsican music organise itself and find its rightful ‘space’ here, and there are many others too who wish for the same objective, remaining in touch with each other and meeting up when possible.
Now, if you’re wondering where to listen to his music, you can easily check him out on Soundcloud – here are a few ideas for you:
– Rocky Road
– Musica Populari Corsa
– Contraversu
and of course, if you’d like to contact him, you may certainly do so through the following mail: contraversu@gmail.com
‘The liberty in popular music is in the recreation’ – Michel’s own words sum up his very thoughts.

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