Sunday, December 11, 2016

The musical mediumship of Jorge Rizzini

Jorge Rizzini (1924-2008).
The different varieties of mediums rest upon special faculties whose principle are still unknown to us. At first sight and to those who haven't made a systematic study of this science yet, it seems easier for a medium to write prose than verses. One would say - mainly if one deals with a mechanical medium - a spirit can both make the medium write in a foreign language and make him sketch or write music. However, that is not so. Although at every moment one can see sketches, verses and music made by mediums who, in the normal state, are not draftsmen, poets nor musicians, it is certain that not all them are able to produce such things. In spite of their lack of knowledge, they have an intuitive faculty and flexibility which transform them into gentle instruments. That is what Bernard Palissy said when he was asked about his choice of Mr. Victorien Sardou, who couldn't draw, to make his admirable sketches (Revue Spirit, April/August 1858). "It is because he is the most flexible one", he replied. The same happens with other skills. And - what an amazing thing! - we have seen spirits refused to write verses using mediums knowing poetry, while dictated lovely poems to others lacking the knowledge of poetic rules. This fact proves once again that spirits have free-will and that futile are our attempts to submit them to our whims. (A. Kardec (1859). Revue Spirite, March, "Study about mediums".)
Musical mediumship is the psychic capability of "execute, compose or write music, under the influence of the spirits." (1). One shoul, however, distinguish between "mediums of musical effects" who "obtain the playing of certain instruments without human contact" and musical mediums. The first ones are much rarer than musical mediums because the action of playing instruments requires "telekinetic" ability as displayed, for example, by the famous Scottish medium D. D. Home (1833-1886). The most extraordinary musical medium of modern times was Rosemary Brown (2) who produced musical pieces of nearly 400 spirit authors.

In Brazil, there are still some musical mediums, the most notorious one was surely Jorge Rizzini (1924-2008). Rizzini was born in São Paulo in a Spiritist family (3) and worked as writer, jornalist, radio broadcaster and advertiser. From 1950 on, Rizzini was actively involved with the Spiritist movement in Brazil, having helped to promote Spiritism alongside spiritist celebrities such as Chico Xavier, Herculano Pires, Yvonne Pereira and Deolindo Amorim. Rizzini launched the first Spiritist TV programm in the Brazil at TV Cultura channel. His greatest heritage is however his musics as a consequence of his ability to write music in trance while not knowing music at all.

Back cover of a rare EME album from 1995 containing psychic compositions by
 Jorge Rizzini after the first psychic music festival in São Paulo in 1982.
Rizzini was able to reproduce a wide repertoire of styles ranging from opera to samba as illustrated by two pieces presented below. His spirit contributors include names such as Lamartine Babo (1904-1963), Ataulfo Alves (1909-1969), Ary Barroso (1903-1964), Francisco Alves (1898-1952), Noel Rosa (1910-1937), Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924), Carlos Gardel, (1890-1935) Duke Ellington (1899-1974) and John Philips Sousa (1854-1932).  As for his previous musical knowledge he said
"I never studied music; I don't play any instrument, not even by ear, I don't know to write music, I don't sing and worse of all, I'm tuneless!" (3)
Like Rosemary Brown, Rizzini was flexible enough to the spirits, in spite of lack of musical knowledge. As an communication man, Rizzini organized several musical festivals, inviting professional musicians to play his psychic works. These were known as "Spiritist music meetings" with the aim of spreading the truth of immortality as some of his music lyrics suggest:

Caminhar é uma opção. Walking is an option
De quem quer chegar. Of those wanting to come.
É falar ao coração It is speaking to the heart
De quem quer escutar...Of those who want to listen...

Vamos dar as boas vindas. Let's welcome
Pra quem vem nos assistir. The ones coming to watch us
E cantar com alegria! And sing with joy!
Porque estamos aqui,  Because we are here,
Fazendo o nosso show! To give the concert!

Cantando de verdade Really singing 
Que a vida continua. That life goes on.
Que felicidade! What a happiness!

E você que está me ouvindo, And you listening to me,
Caia na real! Get real!
Ninguém acaba com a morte Death destroys no one
Pois voltamos do astral. Because we are back from the astral
A nossa ponte é Our bridge is 
A mediunidade! Mediumship!
Abençoada oportunidade! Blessed opportunity!

Even so, Brazilian spiritists scarcely supported Rizzini efforts. There is a local tendency to hide prominent mediums fearing misinterpretations. As a consequence, music mediumship is rarely highlighted in spiritit art meetings. Many of Rizzini's works are not available in digital form; although part of the material has been reedited recently (5), past works survive today only through old vinyl records.  Overall even Rizzini's life poorly documented as compared to the richness of his mediumship, and Ref. (3) is surely the best source.

Some Examples of widely different styles

Ary Barroso.
1 - By the Brazilian composer Ary Barroso (who in life made musics to artists such as Carmen Miranda and is the author of "Aquarela do Brasil"), Rizzini-Barroso piece "Brasil luz" (1982) is an interesting reproduction of Barroso pre bossa nova style.

2 - By the famous Italian opera composer Giacomo Puccini, "Dolce Maria" with lyrics in Italian. I couldn't find any information about the composition year or further details on this piece, which is however quite beautiful as our readers can judge by themselves.
"Brasil Luz", by Ary Barroso, under Rizzini's mediumship (1982).

"Dolce Maria" by  G. Puccini under Rizzini's mediumship.

Final remark

It is important to study and monitor the work of past and future musical mediums for a variety of reasons, the most important one is to better understand the origin, nature and mechanism of pure mediumship. Musical mediumship hosts a special place in the pantheon of psychic abilities because, being a communication process by excellence, this kind of mediumship attains a high level of expression as derived by the character of music as an universal language. Also,  it seems fair to ask to what point human musical creativity is influenced by the spirits. If, on one hand, psychic flexibility is the source of musical mediumship, on the other, one can ask what someone with musical background and some psychic ability could get in this field. It is thus understandable to view artistic creativity as a kind of cooperation between two planes of life rather than a purely human capability.


1 - A Kardec. (1986) The Medium's Book. 2nd Edition by FEB. Transl by A. Blackwell. Cap. XVI, "Special Mediums" P. 189, 190.
2 - See the previous posts:
3 - The text of this post is based on 

4 - See "Compositores do Além" (2006), a DVD launched by Versátil Home video. Directed by Jorge Rizzini and Edson Audi.