Tag Archives: Italian music

Artist Profiles: Newpoli


Newpoli is a group of skilled musicians who specialize in southern Italian folk music, primarily from the regions of Campania and Puglia. Their music crosses through time culture and musical styles. The South of Italy has a multicolored past with influences from northern Africa, the Middle East and ancient Greece. These influences can still be heard in the traditional melodies and rhythms of the pizzica, tarantella and other musical genres of the South.

The group was founded in 2003 by directors Carmen Marsico, Angela Rossi and Björn Wennås. Newpoli is an eight-piece ensemble that has performed throughout the United States. In 2008 Newpoli made its European debut at Diacetum Festival in Tuscany, Italy.

Newpoli released its self-titled debut album Newpoli in 2008. In 2012 the band issued Musica di Natale, a recording of traditional Italian Christmas music. Its third album Tempo Antico came out in 2013. Nun te vutà came out in 2015.

Members Include:

Carmen Marsico – lead vocals
Angela Rossi – lead vocals
Björn Wennås – chitarra battente, mandola & classical guitar
Fabio Pirozzolo – tamburello & vocals
Jussi Reijonen – oud, mandola & classical guitar
Daniel Meyers – zampogna, ciaramella & recorders
Karen Burciaga – violin
Jeff McAuliffe – bass


Newpoli (Beartones Records 2008)
Musica di Natale (2012)
Tempo Antico (2013)
Nun te vutà (2015)

website: http://www.newpolimusic.com


Artist Profiles: X Darawish

X Darawish

X Darawish is a music group that plays world music and was founded in Bari, Italy in 1997. The group consists of Stratos Diamantis, Enzo Leone and Dimosthenis Tsamis. Stratos and Enzo met at the end of the nineteen eighties at the University of Bari as both were members of the group Al Darawish. With Al Darawish, they recorded two records, Al Darawish in 1992 (by Il Ponte Sonoro) and Radio Dervish in 1996 (by Il Manifesto) for which they won the Cagnony Quality Reads Award for the use of accordion in Italian pop music by Stratos Diamantis.

When Al Darawish broke up in 1997, some of the members started the group Radiodervish, while Stratos and Enzo gave life to the group X Darawish with Angelo Pantaleo, Rocco Draicchio, Kostis Maravegias and Domenico Ricco. In the same year they won first prize at the Pop and Rock Festival of Athens, that was organized by the radio station Rock FM, the music school Filipos Nakas and FM Records.

In 1998, they recorded their first album “Una Ratsa Mia Fatsa ” (FM Records), which was released in Italy in 2000 by Il Manifesto and in the rest of Europe by Koch International with the participation of Vassilis Saleas on the clarinet and Andreas Pappas on percussions. In the same year they also released the video clip from the single “Narghile,” directed by Nikos Soulis. The song “Narghile” was chosen by the French radio station RFI Musique in the collection for “Top Of European Pops”. X Darawish represented Greece and Italy in the same group with U2 and the single “Sweetest Thing” of Ireland.

X Darawish have appeared in hundreds of television and radio shows, have given over six hundred concerts in all of Europe and have taken part in different festivals like Carpino Folk Festival in Italy in 1997 ,Caterpillar Festival in Italy in 1998, Yea Festival in Greece in 1998, Dranouter Folk Festival in Belgium in 1999, Suoni Dal Mondo In Riva Del Garda in Italy in 2001, Festival Of Argos in Greece in 2003, Festival Mediterraneo Of Conversano in Italy in 2005 and the Festival Musiche Dal Mondo in Italy in 2006. They have shared the stage with musicians like Bob Dylan, Nick Cave, James Taylor and Elvis Costello.

Their recording Domino was released in Greece in April 2008 by Kathreftis company.


* Una Ratsa Mia Fatsa (FM Records, 1998)
* Domino (Kathreftis, 2008)

Official Web Site: http://www.xdarawish.eu


Bella Ciao to Showcase at WOMEX 2016 in Spain

Bella Ciao – Photo by Nico López Bruchi
Bella Ciao – Photo by Nico López Bruchi

Italian act Bella Ciao is set to perform on October 21, 2016 at WOMEX in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

The project revisits an influential 1964 show called Bella Ciao at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto. The concert caused much controversy while effectively marking the beginning of the Italian folk revival. About 50 years later, a prestigious cast has come together to restage this significant show that celebrates the values of liberty, peace and civil rights. They released an album titled Bella Ciao.

Riccardo Tesi, Lucilla Galeazzi, Elena Ledda, Ginevra di Marco, Gigi Biolcati, Andrea Salvadori, Alessio Lega - Bella Ciao
Riccardo Tesi, Lucilla Galeazzi, Elena Ledda, Ginevra di Marco, Gigi Biolcati, Andrea Salvadori, Alessio Lega – Bella Ciao

The songs have been updated and rearranged by admired bandoneon master Riccardo Tesi and are performed by three of the most outstanding voices of Italian folk and social singing over the last 30 years: Ginevra Di Marco, Lucilla Galeazzi and Sardinia’s Elena Ledda.

The lineup includes Riccardo Tesi on diatonic accordion and arrangements; Elena Ledda on vocals; Lucilla Galeazzi on vocals, guitar; Luisa Cottifogli on vocals; Alessio Lega on vocals, guitar; Maurizio Geri on vocals, guitar; and Luigi Biolcati on percussion.

Time: 21:30 – 22:15
Venue: Auditorio Abanca


Gorgeous Mediterranean Winds

Renato Vecchio - Medwind
Renato Vecchio – Medwind

Renato Vecchio – Medwind (FM Records, 2016)

Italian wind instrument virtuoso explores the musical instruments and sounds of the globe with a set of self-penned compositions. Armed with a wide-range of flutes, horns and other wind instruments, Renato Vecchio delivers a mix of beautiful meditative pieces and lively tunes. On the uptempo material Vecchio injects irresistible folk-rock and ethnic beats as well as jazz; all of them inspired by the traditional musics of Italy and other parts of the world.

The lineup on Medwind includes Renato Vecchio on soprano sax, tenor sax, Armenian duduk, ciaramella (an Italian double-reed instrument, similar to an oboe), Indian punji, Mexican flute, mancusedda (ancient Italian flute), bagpipes, and various other flutes; Michele Simoncini on keyboards and loops; Marco Siniscalco on bass; Giuseppe Tortora on cello; Dario Giuffrida on drums, percussion; Adolfo Valeri on darbuka; Nora Tigges on vocals; Ahmen Benbali on vocals; Sanjay Kansa Banik on tabla; Kicco Careddu on drums and percussion; Upapadia on tamburello; and Ayu Sakurai on violin.

Renato Vecchio was born in the province of Lecce. He began studying music at 10 and performed in local bands. At a young age, he moved to Rome where he studied jazz and the art of improvisation.

Vecchio later moved to Perugia, where he graduated in saxophone, with honors, at the Francesco Morlacchi Music Conservatory. In Perugia he worked with various local bands, performing throughout Italy.

He moved back to Rome, where he participated in pop, jazz and word music projects, working as a session musician and in theater and television.

Renato Vecchio’s discography includes “Ethno med Musik”, with Fabrizio Cesare (FM Records, 2014), “Classical Christmas” with Andrea Montepaone (Pauline Editions, 2015), “Music sin palabras”, with Rumba de Mar(Barvin music publishing, 2015), “Made in Italy”, with Claudio Scozzafava (FM Records, 2015), “War and History”, with Andrea Montepaone (FM Records, 2015) and “Hemispheres” (Tourbilion, 2016).

Medwind is a splendid album featuring gorgeous wind melodies and infectious rhythms.

Buy the Medwind CD

Buy the Medwind digital download


Mesmerizing Tarantella Beats from Southern Italy

Giuliano Gabriele – Madre (iWorld, 2015)

Madre (Mother) is the second album by multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and composer Giuliano Gabriele, one of the rising stars of Italian contemporary folk music. Madre celebrates the tarantella, the spellbinding trance rhythm of the tarantella from southern Italy.

Giuliano Gabriele takes the tarantella to a new level combining tastefully acoustic instruments like accordion, frame drums, zampogna and Calabrian lira with electric guitar, bass and electronic programming.The lyrics are in Italian and various southern dialects.

The lineup on Madre includes Giuliano Gabriele on vocals, diatonic accordion and zampogna (bagpipe); Lucia Cremonesi on viola, electric viola, marranzano (jaw harp) and Calabrese lira; Giovanni Aquino on electric guitar; Eduardo Vessella on tammorra (frame drums) and percussion; Gianfranco De Lisi on bass; and Gianmarco Gabriele on drums.

Guests include Gabriele Russo on viella (hurdy gurdy); Goffredo Degli Esposti on zuffolo con tamburo (Italian fipple flute with snare drum) and buttafuoco (zither); Giuseppe Grassi on mandola; Giola Mignanelli on vocals; Francesco Loccisano on chitarra battente; Antonio Infantino on guitar and vocals; and I Tarantolati Rotanti ensemble on vocals and percussion.

Madre is a fascinating recording that provides a modern vision of an ancient mesmerizing rhythm from southern Italy.

Buy Madre


Landmark Bella Ciao Revisited

Riccardo Tesi, Lucilla Galeazzi, Elena Ledda, Ginevra di Marco, Gigi Biolcati, Andrea Salvadori, Alessio Lega – Bella Ciao (Buda Musique 4759288, 2015)

Bella Ciao revisits an essential 1964 show that marked the revival of Italian folk songs, the Nuovo Canzionere Italiano. Accordionist and composer Ricardo Tesi spearheaded the project, bringing together some of today’s finest vocalists and instrumentalists in Italian folk music.

The iconic artists recreated the songs their way, without restrictions, although they kept the essence. The selection includes marble quarry worker (a very dangerous profession) songs, songs of struggle, textile worker songs, rice field chants, migrant laborer songs, prison chants, protest songs, harvest songs, Sardinian sacred chants, anti-war songs, and suggestive songs.

The extensive CD booklet provides an introduction by Tesi, descriptions of the songs and the lyrics in Italian, English and French.

The lineup on Bella Ciao includes Riccardo Tesi as musical director, arranger and accordionist; Lucilla Galeazzi on vocals; Elena Ledda on vocals; Ginevra Di Marco on vocals; Alessio Lega on vocals; Andrea Salvadori on guitar, tzouras (a Greek instrument related to the bouzouki), harmonium and arrangements; and Gigi Biolcati on percussion, vocals and body percussion. Guests include Mirco Capecchi on upright bass and Michele Marini on clarinet.

Bella Ciao is an outstanding recreation of popular Italian folk songs and chants recorded by some of the most talented musicians and vocalist in the current Italian folk and world music scene.

Buy Bella Ciao in the Americas

Buy Bella Ciao in Europe


Artist Profiles: Agricantus


Agricantus is a band from Sicily. Its early releases Gnanzù and Viaggiari were fine examples of its ability to mix ethnic music, mainly from the Mediterranean, with ambient and trance rhythms, and were followed by Tuareg, with which they achieved success in Italy and Europe. This album was recorded in the desert of Mali with nomad instruments and musicians and won the prestigious Tenco award in 1996.

In 1997 the band went on to win the important Italian “PIM” award, and had a key role in the soundtrack to the film hamam- The Turkish Bath, which won the Globo d’Oro 1997 (Italian Golden Globe).

The mini-CD Hale Bopp Souvenir, featuring Fadimata Wallet Oumar – spokesperson for the true Tuareg culture – was Agricantus’ next release and this was then followed in 1998 by Kaleidos, an album that immediately attracted attention worldwide. In Kaleidos, Agricantus undertook an extraordinary journey to the heart and origins of classical music, letting themselves be inspired by great composers such as Grieg, Paganini, Brahms and Luciano Berio. They included samples of their music amidst original Agricantus compositions, and, in the case of Berio, took score of his work and let their music be enriched by it. Classical music and technology were united with an incredible flair.

In 1998 they co-wrote the soundtrack to the film I Giardini dell’Eden (Gardens of Eden). A year later, in 1999, the album Best of Agricantus was released in the United States with the label “World Class”, that distributed it not only in the United States but also in Canada, South America, Australia and Japan. In just a few weeks it rose to the top of American and Australian radio charts. September 1999 saw the release date of Faiddi, a compilation of their most beautiful songs re-arranged and played live.

Habibi (2006) explores Sicilian and Sardinian music combined with electronic beats and acoustic instruments from various parts of the globe.


Gnanzu (CNI, 1993)

Viaggiari (Ludos/CNI, 1995)

Tuareg (Ludos/CNI, 1996)

Hale Bopp Souvenir (CNI, 1997)

Kaleidos (Ludos/CNI, 1998)

Best of Agricantus (CNI/World Class, 1999)

Ethnosphere (CNI, 2001)

Calura (CNI, 2002)

Habibi (CNI, 2006)

Luna Khina (Edel, 2007)

Placido Rizzotto (2010)

Turnari (2014)


Roberto Tombesi Releases Northern Adriatic Melodeon Album

Roberto Tombesi - In 'sta via
Roberto Tombesi – In ‘sta via

Italian musician Roberto Tombesi has a new album titled In ‘sta via. Tombesi is one of catalysts of the Italian folk revival. He founded Calicanto, revitalized the music of Venetian and northern Adriatic traditions and disseminated Italian folk music internationally.

In ‘sta via is Roberto Tombesi’s first solo album, entirely dedicated to melodeon and the Venetian traditional dances collected and propagated in a lifetime of research and concerts.

The album includes 32 traditional dances, from the Dolomites to Venice lagoon areas, with new arrangements meant for dancing and listening enjoyment with refined and elegant simplicity.


Artist Profiles: Actores Alidos

Actores Alidos
Actores Alidos

Actores Alidos is a Sardinian group that specializes in female polyphony. The group performs songs of love, sacred songs, lullabies, popular dances, funeral laments and serenades.

The polyphonic quintet features the female voices of Alessandra Leo, Roberto Locci, Valeria Parisi, Manuela Sanna, led by the deep voice of Valeria Pilia.

Accompanying the quintet is Sardinian music maestro, Orlando Mascia, an expert of traditional Sardinian music and a virtuoso of traditional musical instruments such as the launeddas (flute with 3 reeds), the sulitu (traditional flute), the trunfa (jew’s harp) and the organetto (accordion) which he uses to dialog with the voices of the group.


Valeria Pilia – boghe sola
Alessandra Leo – boghe de punta
Manuela Sanna – boghe de punta
Roberta Locci – boghe mediana
Valeria Parisi – boghe de suta
with Orlando Mascia – launeddas, sonetu, trunfia, triangle, sulitu, tumbarinu


Galanìas (Finisterre)

Canti delle donne sarde (Finisterre)

[Biography adapted by World Music Central from an original by Giovanna Marini. Courtesy of Felmay].


Ecstatic Musical Traditions from Southern Italy

Newpoli - Nun te Vutà
Newpoli – Nun te Vutà


Nun te Vutà (Beartones Records, 2015)

Newpoli is one of the few American acts performing music based on Italian tradition. In this case, Newpoli specializes in music from southern Italy, creating a fascinating ardent sound that mixes traditional folk music with contemporary arrangements and new compositions. Nun te Vutà (Don’t Look Back) is the group’s latest recording, dedicated to migration.

Southern Italy has some of the poorest regions in the country so for the past two centuries, southern Italians migrated to northern Italy and overseas to the United States, Argentina and Australia. As the Italian economy improved in the 20th century, migration decreased. But the economic crash of 2008 has led to a new wave of migration.

In the last couple of years we’ve seen so many more young people emigrate from the south of Europe,” says Newpoli’s guitarist and mandola player, Björn Wennås. “They’re highly educated, and very skilled but there are no jobs for them at home. They want to work, to have a chance.”

Vocalist Carmen Marsico adds: “The verses on “Nun te Vutà” lay out their situation. It’s a very sympathetic song, and of course there’s sadness, but in the chorus there’s more energy, happiness – that sense of hope for the life ahead.”



Nun te Vutà’s six traditional songs include one from Apuglia and six from Basilicata (also known as Lucania), where Marsico comes from. “The music is so rich there, yet not well known” Marsico explains. “It’s really inspiring, and there are things unique to Basilicata, like the stop-and-go between the rhythm and voices in some pieces that exists in, for example, Stigliano, and the way the voices drop suddenly at the end of a line.”




Southern Italy has been a crossroads area for centuries so the music reflects those influences, coming from the eastern and southern Mediterranean. There are Greek and Turkish influences in some of the pieces. In addition to traditional Italian instruments like chitarra battente, mandola, tamburello and zampogna, Newpoli adds Turkish dumbek and Arabic oud.



The lineup on Nun te Vutà includes Angela Rossion on lead vocals and castanets; Carmen Marsico on lead vocals and castanets; Björn Wennås on chitarra battente, classical guitar, mandola, background vocals, and tamburello; Roberto Cassan on accordion and tamburo a cornice; Fabio Pirozzolo on tamburello, tamburo a cornice, dumbek, lead and background vocals; Daniel Meyers on recorders, ocarina, ciaramella, cupa cupa, and zampogna, dumbek, castagnette, background vocals, and tamburello; Karen Burciaga on violin, lira, Renaissance guitar; and Sean Farias on electric and acoustic bass.

Guests featured include Jussi Reijonen on oud; Beth Bahia Cohen on violin; and Pasquale Iocola on background vocals.

Nun te Vutà showcases the impassioned vocals, stirring melodies and trance-like rhythms of the ecstatic traditions from southern Italy.

Buy Nun te Vutà