All posts by Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced "Musica NA", a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

Artist Profiles: Ambrogio Sparagna

Ambrogio Sparagna
Ambrogio Sparagna is one of the most important musicians in contemporary Italian folk music. His musical project, which explores the Southern of Italy and the Mediterranean musical tradition, involves his compositions and ballads.

A wide range of both traditional and original songs showcase the melodic inspiration and harmonic richness of Ambrogio Sparagna’s accordion, as well as the acrobatic rhythm force and passion of the tambourines, ciaramella (traditional oboe), and the guitar of his musical friends.

Ambrogio drives his audience to jump, playing with the Arts Comedy, and with the Neapolitan Theatre masks.

He has recorded several albums with l’Orchestra Popolare Italiana.

Discography:

L’avvenuta profezia (Finisterre, 2000)
Vorrei ballare (Finisterre, 2001)
Ambrogio Sparagna (Finisterre, 2003)
La notte della taranta 2005 (2005)
La notte della taranta 2006 (2006)
Fermarono i cieli (Felmay, 2006)
La chiara stella (2008)
Taranta d’amore (Parco Della Musica Records, 2009)
Vola Vola Vola. Canti Popolari E Canzoni ‎(Parco Della Musica Records, 2012)
Stories 1986-2016 ‎(Finisterre, 2016)

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Artist Profiles: Andrea Piccioni

Andrea Piccioni

Andrea Piccioni was born in Rome in 1970 and started very early his studies of world percussion. With Arnaldo Vacca he started the study of instruments and styles of the Mediterranean tradition, especially tamburello and frame drums. These studies went on with Glen Velez, Michael Metzler, Alfio Antico, masters Djamchid and Bijian Chemirani and Turkish maestros (with whom he deepened the study of Sufi musical tradition) and Indians teachers (Carnatic music).

Subsequently he began playing with a number of elderly musicians who are among the few remaining exponents of that particular style of Italian tradition. These different experiences lead him to conceive the Italian tamburello as an instrument for any musical context. For this reason he developed a personal execution technique, related to specific exercises to develop the use of the instrument in a 360 degrees inside Andrea’s book “Il Tamburello italiano”.

Andrea is an internationally acclaimed virtuoso whose amazing talent is expressed on a vasty array of Oriental as well as Western percussion instruments. He makes workshops and performs all over the world. During his career he had the chance to perform with great artists from the international panorama like Ganesh Kumar, Omar Faruk Trebllek, Glen Velez, Nidi D’arac, Indaco, Sari Gul whirling dervish orchestra and many others.

He is Co-founder of Frame Drums Europe associations and Artistic director of European Frame Drummers Meeting. Andrea contributes to the Italian magazine Percusioni. Play Anklang Musikwelt and Schlagwerk percussion.

His instruments: tamburello, tammorra, riqq, bendir, daf, bodhran, ghaval, def, kanjira, darbuka, zarb, cajon, jew’s harp, overtone singing.

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Artist Profiles: Antonio Forcione

Antonio Forcione

England based Italian guitarist Antonio Forcione has developed a dynamic and original blend of gypsy, folk, flamenco, jazz, Indian and Latin sounds.

He has recorded many albums of predominantly original material with companies such as Virgin Venture, Jazzpoint, Naim and K-Tel International, with guest artists such as Trilok Gurtu and Kai Eckhardt. Several of these have hit the top 10 of various European Jazz Charts such as Jazz FM, MTV, Tower Records and others.

Forcione has shared the stage with John McLaughlin and opened, often solo, for others such as Phil Collins at the Royal Festival Hall, Bobby McFerrin in Germany, Zucchero in Austria, Van Morrison in Madrid, Barclay James Harvest and Jools Holland.

Antonio Forcione was awarded the Covent Garden Entertainer of the Year in 1983 when he first arrived in England which led straight to a BBC TV appearance. Since then the Arts Council of Great Britain have granted him project awards

In 2001 at the Edinburgh Festival he won the ‘Best Spirit of the Fringe 2001’ Award

In 2002 he won the Award for Excellence at Adelaide Festival 2002.

In 2003, he released Touch Wood, his first recording with his World Music Quartet, featuring Jenny Adegayan (Nigeria), Adriano Pinto (Brazil) and Giorgi Serci (Sardinia).

His first recordings were as a duo with Spanish musician Eduardo Niebla. He has performed or recorded with Bobby McFerrin, Phil Collins, Jools Holland, Zucchero, Pino Daniele, Charlie Haden, John McLaughlin, Trilok Gurtu, Steps Ahead, Leo Kottke, and Biréli Lagrène.

Discography:

Light & Shade ‎(Sol International Records, 1984)
Eurotour 84 (Sol International Records, 1985)
Celebration (Virgin Records Venture, 1987)
Poema ‎(Jazzpoint Records, 1992)
Dedicato (Naim, 1996
Acoustic Revenge (Naim, 1993
Live at Edinburgh Festival (1993)
Dedicato (Naim, 1996)
Meet Me In London (Naim, 1998)
Ghetto Paradise (Naim, 1998)
Vento Del Sud ‎(Naim, 2000)
Live! ‎(Naim, 2000)
Touch Wood (Naim, 2003)
Tears Of Joy (Naim, 2005)
Heartplay (Naim, 2006)
Sketches Of Africa ‎(Antastic, 2012)
Compared To What (Antastic, 2016)

DVDs

Live! (Inspiration) (2000)
Antonio Forcione Quartet in Concert (2005)

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Artist Profiles: Din delon

Din delòn

Din delòn was formed in 1999 by Italian accordionist Andrea Capezzuoli. The group researched Italian dance songs and released its second CD ‘La rosa e la ramella’ published by Folkclub Ethnosuoni from Casale Monferrato, as well as their participation in different festivals and events all over Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Holland. Modern instruments were part of the mix and new, different musical languages have been explored, without forgetting the tie, which Din delon has with traditional Italian music.

In 2001 Din delon recorded a few live tracks for the Italian Swiss Radio. In 2003 FNAC published in Spain a CD compilation with Italian traditional music on which a track from ‘La rosa e la ramella’ is included.

Band members included Andrea Capezzuoli on accordion and vocals; dancer, actress and singer Simona Scuri; Caroline Tallone on ghironda (hurdy gurdy); saxophonist Lorenzo Colombo (later replaced by Alessandro Arioli) and Alessandra Cecala on acoustic bass, guitar and vocals.

Discography:

Din delòn (2000)
La Rosa e la Ramella ‎(FolkClub Ethnosuoni, 2002)

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Artist Profiles: Elena Ledda

Elena Ledda

Elena Ledda is an Italian singer from Sardinia. She was born May 17, 1959 in Selargius.

Sardinia offers a fascinating musical microclimate, which developed over centuries in relative isolation. Elena Ledda has researched the music of her native island for years and has become Sardinia’s most successful and prolific singer, replacing the legendary Maria Carta in her role as Sardinia’s vocal standard bearer.

Her powerful vocal style mixes local tradition and global jazz innovation.

Discography

Ammentos ‎(Durium, 1979)
Is Arrosas ‎(Key Records, 1984)
Sonos 9Biber Records, 1989)
Incanti ‎(Felmay, 1993)
Maremannu (Biber Records, 2000)
Sonos ‘E Memoria (ACT, 2001)
Amargura ‎(Marocco Music, 2004)
Tutti Baci (Lyra, 2006)
Undas ‎(RadioLina, 2006)
Rosa Resolza ‎(Sard musi, 2007)
Sulla Strada Con Tenco ‎(2008)
Live At Jazzinsardegna ‎(Sardmusic, 2008)
Cantendi A Deus ‎(Sardmusic, 2009)
Bella Ciao ‎(Visage Music, 2015)
Làntias ‎(Sardmusic, 2017)

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Artist Profiles: Gai Saber

Gai Saber

Enjoying a growing international public and critical consensus following their previous efforts Gai Saber are now ready to unveil the latest chapter of their musical saga.

Formed in 1992 as Kalenda Maia, Gai Saber took their present name in 1996 and the following year released their debut album Troubard R’ÒC. In June 1999 the band’s second CD Esprit de frontiera saw the participation of Ares Tavolazzi, Elio Rivagli and Vincenzo Zitello.

In 2000 and 2001 Gai Saber took part in numerous festivals both in their native Italy and abroad, and at the same time began to forge their ethno electronic sound marrying traditional instruments to digital samplers and drum machines, producing the album Electroch’Oc in 2002 in which the rhythms of Occitanian music shared the same floor space with drum & bass and trip-hop atmospheres. The widespread critical acclaim the album received resulted in the group (who hail from Peveragno in Cuneo’s Valle Pesio) embarking on a three-year European tour.

In La fabrica occitana, the band’s rediscovery of Occitan roots filtered through the effulgence of futuristic electronic sonorities hones to a fine art the musical mongrelizing that is their declared trademark. Here, the encounter between digital rhythms and melodies of minstrel poetry is finely balanced.

Gai Saber are: Chiara Bosonetto (vocals), Maurizio Giraudo (bagpipes, hurdy-gurdy, flutes, vocals), Maurizia Giordanengo (melodeon), Paolo Brizio (melodeon, jembe, derbuka, vocals), Elena Giordanengo (harp, drums and Provensal flutes, vocals), Jose Dutto (drums).

Discography:

Troubard R’ÒC (1997)
Esprit de Frontiera (1999)
Danimarca Live
Electroch’Òc (Felmay, 2002)
La Fabrica Occitana (Felmay)
Angels Pastres Miracles – Chancons de Nadal en Occitania (Felmay, 2012)

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Artist Profiles: Gianmaria Testa

Gianmaria Testa

Italian singer-songwriter and guitarist Gianmaria Testa was born near Cuneo (in Italy’s Piedmont region) on October 17, 1958. He grew up in a family of farmers/ Gianmaria Testa taught himself to play guitar and wrote his first songs as soon as he learned his first chords. Following winning the first prize at the Recanati Festival for emerging singer-songwriters, he released his first album, Montgolfieres.

In February 1997, five months after the release of his second album, Extra-Muros, Gianmaria performed at the legendary Olympia in Paris. The engagement marked a key moment in his young career, which, in the space of two years, saw him go from being a completely unknown Italian singer-songwriter, to making a chance debut in France, to becoming a runaway success. Still, those familiar with his albums and live appearances couldn’t help but note the composure, confidence, sincerity and utter lack of self-importance with which he made these enormous strides. His voice seemed to have gained new richness and depth, and there was a new freedom to the instrumental playing. The driving rhythms of jazz, lively fanfares, piano solos, and sudden silences all served to emphasize Gianmaria’s sincerity and his subtle, elegant way of telling tales of melancholy and quiet joy.

In February 1999 Gianmaria released his third album, Lampo, recorded in Italy and France. The title alludes to both lightening and the flash of a camera, representing a luminous instant that leaves an indelible trace in one’s memory. Lampo is a disc of micro-stories, of everyday people and things that take on surprising dimensions: lovers in Rome, the moon, chestnut trees, chalk dust left on doorsteps to mark the steps of visitors.

In October 2000, he made a new album of songs and poems, Il valzer di un giorno (La Valse d’un Jour) . The album represented a real gamble: solo voice backed up with acoustic guitar, relying solely on the quality of the material. Following the release of this album, Gianmaria played Italy’s most prestigious theaters as well as other European cities.

Gianmaria’s Altre Latitudini was released in October 2003 in Europe and Canada. The latitudes of the title are those of the heart, explored in fourteen songs of love lost and found.

Gianmaria Testa died on March 30, 2016.

Discography:

Montgolfières (Label Bleu, 1995)
Extra-Muros (Tôt Ou Tard, 1996)
Lampo (Tôt Ou Tard, Warner Music France, 1999)
Il Valzer Di Un Giorno – La Valse D’Un Jour (Le Chant Du Monde, 2001
Altre Latitudini (Le Chant Du Monde, 2003)
Extra-Muros ‎(Le Chant Du Monde, 2005)
Da Questa Parte Del Mare (Le Chant Du Monde, 2006)
F. à Léo (Radio Fandango, 2007)
Solo Dal Vivo (Le Chant Du Monde, 2009)
Vitamia (Egea Music, 2011)
Men at Work – Live (Le Chant Du Monde, 2013)

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Artist Profiles: Pietrarsa

Pietrarsa

Pietrarsa is a group of musicians who have a long-standing and active relationship to the folk music of southern Italy and the Mediterranean, and who are also in tune with the most stimulating sounds and idioms in contemporary international World Music.

The Pietrarsa CD and live performance project embraces both new and traditional songs (tammurriate, tarantelle, pizziche, solo singing). Traditional material is performed in a style faithful to the folk idiom, even though the group is engaged in a conscious attempt to ‘rethink’ this kind of music; the new songs aim to be aware of the traditional style, but evoke in both music and lyrics the process of mutation and contamination which is taking place within the melting pot of the southern Italian traditional milieu in the era of globalization.

Pietrarsa’s musical new repertoire is written by Mimmo Maglionico, a classically-educated flautist who later approached traditional folk music through collaborations with Eugenio Bennato, Peppe Barra and other prestigious names in the Neapolitan scene. He has also worked with Moni Ovadia, Gilberto Gill, Angel Parra, Luis Sepulveda composed music for television and recorded for recording companies like Cgd, Fonit Cetra and EMI.

Song lyrics are by Giovanni Vacca, who has already written lyrics for the group Spaccanapoli, and who has a long-standing engagement in the field of traditional folk culture, about which he has published books and critical essays.

The Pietrarsa line up features a range of instruments including bass, drums and percussion, ethnic and traditional instruments, guitars, etc.

The group includes Cristina Vetrone and Lorella Monti: singers, multi-instrumentalists, and dancers, they have long been involved in music projects such as the Nuova Compagnia di Canto Popolare, theatre and dance (Ater balletto, Gubelkian Ballet of Lisbon), and they help to guarantee that Pietrarsa delivers a powerful live performance.

The name Pietrarsa alludes to the site not far from Naples where an industrial plant was installed after the construction of the first Italian railway from Naples to Portici in 1839: a place close to that Neapolitan hinterland which is still so rich in ancient traditional music, and a name which evokes both the rhythms of peasant drums and those of modern industrial civilization.

Mimmo Maglionico: flutes, bagpipe, saxophone; Cristina Vetrone: vocals, accordion, tammorra; Lorella Monti: vocals, tammorre, castanet; Carmela Di Costanzo: vocals, castanet; Nicola De Luca: drum and percussion; Roberto Petrella: acoustic guitar, chitarra battente; Pasquale De angelis: Electric Bass; Alfonso Laverghetta: Sound engineer and keyboards.

Discography:

Napoli World Style (Alfamusic, 2009)
Pietrarsa (Alfamusic, 2013)
Mille volte meglio briganti (Italy Sound Lab, 2017)

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Artist Profiles: Aramirè

Aramirè

Aramirè plays all types of traditional Salentine music. The CD SudEst contains fifteen songs, some sung in Griko, the Greek dialect still spoken in many towns of this region. The CD includes melancholy and bawdy love songs, work songs, a cappella songs, and several pizziche including a twelve minute Pizzica con violino.

Since 1996, Aramirè has been touring throughout Europe and the US. Roberto Raheli, lead vocalist and violinist, conducted workshops on Salentine music and drumming in New York City in 2000, and again in 2002, along with members of the band.

Edizioni Aramirè, the publishing arm of Aramirè Compagnia di Musica Salentina, publishes beautifully packaged CDs of historic field recordings from their distinguished archive, which include booklets of commentary and lyrics in Italian, dialect, and English. They also publish books about their Salentine music and dance traditions and tarantismo.

Aramirè:

Roberto Raheli – voice, flute, harmonica and violin

Mauro Toma – guitar and voice

Raffaele Passiante – voice and percussion

Stefania Morciano – voice

Roberto Corciulo – accordion and voice

Samuele Tommasi – tambourine

Discography:

SudEst (Arroyo, 2001)

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Artist Profiles: Aria Corte

Aria Corte

Aria Corte plays contemporary arrangements of the traditional music from the Lower Salento region of Italy. The band’s show travels through the mythical world of the taranta, using the frenetic and obsessive rhythms of the pizzica-pizzica and pizzica-tarantata.

The band:

Rocco Borlizzi: tamburello, tammorra, vocals

Gino Cerfeda: electric guitar, vocals

Alessandra Caiulo: castanet, tamburello, and vocals

Antonio Palma: rhythm guitar, vocals

Giacomo Corvaglia: tamburello, tammorra, darbuka, bendir

Biagio De Francesco: electric bass, mandolin, guitar, and harmonica

with guest musician: Claudio Prima: diatonic accordion, vocals

Discography:

De Sira
Taranzando

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