Guido Lembo, Soul of a fisherman, heart of a musician

By Massimo D'Angelo

Dear Guido,   

You opened the door of your house to me on the night of December 31, 1999. And you did it without knowing me: I was a friend of Maurizio's, "another son" for you, and that was enough to consider me, too, as one of the family. So did your wife Anna and your two good children, Marianna and Gianluigi.
It was an important New Year's Eve, the first of the millennium, and we had to spend it at home, relaxing in the warmth that only the affection of loved ones can create, before going down to celebrate at Anema e Core (Soul and Heart).

I admit it, I'm not very worldly, so Capri has always felt like a cramped (or maybe too big?) place to me. "Never more than three days," I have always imposed on myself. However, its magic intoxicates you, bewitches you. Too dangerous for those who fall in love too easily. Edwin Cerio, in his 1926 text Aria di Capri (That Capri Air), wrote: "It was called, Capri, island of castaways, blue asylum, sample of humanity, dead end where the great derailed of life end up. But if the currents of fortune throw some human remains on this rock, if strange and bizarre champions pass by, if the wind of madness blows, the divine essence of Capri is not distorted. Under the mask that others have imposed on it, the island retains its face and its ancient miraculous virtue." And you, dear Guido, you knew it well. You laughed at those masks imposed on your island, and showed its true face; the most sincere and joyful. You did it in your own way, as you knew best: with a guitar in your hand.

In your 50 years of career, first at the Guarracino and then at the Taverna Anema e Core, you saw many famous (and not so famous) people pass by: actors, politicians, singers, models, entrepreneurs, businessmen, and soccer players from all over the world.
And it was there, once downstairs, that you unleashed your charming magic: no one was there to pretend, everyone was there to have fun, no matter who or what they were and where they came from, with your music - they were dancing on the strings of your classical guitar and singing with you.

Seventeen years after that unforgettable New Year's Eve, on a Saturday, July 15, 2017, you did it again: you opened the doors of your other house, the Anema e Core, to me and you dedicated your precious time to tell me a little bit about yourself, in front of a camera, in the only way you were capable: simple, honest, humble, open and always, always, with a smile on your face.

On May 19, 2022, Capri lost its king, its voice. In May, as could not be otherwise. I see you in a rowboat, guitar in hand, in front of your beautiful Faraglioni as you sing Era Di Maggio (It was May), your favorite song... and maybe you smile as you look at those who stay here, in the "blue asylum", with eyes full of tears, this time, of sadness.

Cerio wrote: "He who, making a desperate act, clings to this rock, is saved by hope; he who seeks the Nothing, finds the All; he who, sailing adrift, is thrown there by the adverse currents of destiny, by the fortunate vicissitudes of life, will find himself embarked on this freak of nature anchored in the sea of happiness, will feel caressed by that breeze of madness which is the breath of art, the sigh of beauty, the breath of life: the Air of Capri."

That breeze of madness, that Air of Capri that you knew so well, will remain forever there, in the Anema e Core, already for some years in the good hands of your son Gianluigi.
And those who had the privilege and the good fortune to know you, will know how to give your magical island a smile, in memory of a humble, good and generous man, who on this rock in the middle of the Mediterranean found the All, put it to music and gave it to those who sang with him.

Farewell, Guido.    

In memory of Guido Lembo (November 13, 1947 - May 19, 2022).


© Guitars Exchange / Massimo D'Angelo