#mindpower melds with creative forces of Italian pop singer, Maltese sculptors

In the latest #mindpower episodes, Latvian poets Rainis and Aspazija remain in the Mediterranean region, visiting European Union member states Italy and Malta and some of their modern-day luminary creative national heroes.

For the 22nd episode of the #mindpower series Rainis and Aspazija check into their flight at the airport, requesting seats ‘closest to the sun’ before Italian singer Albano Carrisi (Al Bano) introduces us to his favorite farm animals and takes us down into his wine cellar in the south of his country to declaim an excerpt from Aspazija’s poem “The Key to Life”.

Spanning the opera and pop music worlds, Al Bano was born into a farmer’s and vinter’s family and made good on his promise to his dad to one day follow his footsteps down the line of wine-making, despite (or thanks to) his multi-million selling recording artist’s career. Having sung in Latvia many times, Al Bano’s wines can be bought and tasted in Riga, while remaining a rare find elsewhere in Eastern Europe.

Then for episode 23 we are transported to the island state of Malta, where sculptor Alfred Camilleri Cauchi and his son Aaron continue the family tradition of sculpting, restoring and conserving their unique form of art combining Maltese history and architecture into a single craft. Having studied in Scotland, Alfred brought back to the homeland a multi-media approach to the craft, using wood, marble and limestone as well as papier-mâché and fiberglass.

Meanwhile, Aspazija strolls the approach to Jurmala’s sandy beaches, reciting from Rainis’ aphorism encompassing the grains of sand that make a mountain, the droplets of water that form the sea and each individual person that comprises humanity. Then Alfred and Aaron continue to read in their own language as they quickly pencil-sketch and chip away at a miniature rendition of the poet himself.

#Mindpower, launched by the Culture Programme of the Presidency of the Council of the EU, is a series of conversational video vignettes honoring the 150th anniversary of poets Rainis and Aspazija, considered among the founding literary, political and social figures who began building the Latvian nation more than a century ago.

The videos star troubadour Goran Gora and LTV news anchor Eva Ikstena-Strapcāne as the “first couple” of the national mindset, convincingly costumed to be hosting and remarking most wisely upon a series of current-day European thinkers bringing the turn-of-the-century socio-philosophical pioneering to an up-dated context.

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