Tag Archives: Italy

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


Exquisite Trebisonda

Aksak Project – Trebisonda (Aemme Records, 2017)

Aksak Project is an Italian ensemble that has absorbed multiple musical influences. The group features several multi-instrumentalists who combine western musical instruments with global instrumentation.

In terms of musical inspiration, Aksak Project brings together jazz, funk bass, Italian, North African, Spanish, Arabic, Latin American, and other global sounds along with the mesmerizing sounds of the hang drums.

Trebisonda features instrumentals as well as songs in Spanish and a lingua franca called sabir (a mix of Italian, Spanish and other languages) that was spoken in the Mediterranean from the 11-19th centuries.

The lineup includes Achille Meazzi on guitar, oud, santur, laouto, cello, ronroco, charango, cuatro venezolano, saz, harmonium, sikus; Alberto Venturini on clarinet, bass clariner, darbuka, drums, udu, hang drum, percussion and programming; Eloisa Manera on violin; Gianni Satta on trumpet and flugelhorn; Alessandro Cassani on acoustic and electric bass; Nicola Mantovani on soprano sax; Camilla Barbarito on vocals and spoken word; and Marco Turati on vocals. Special guest Roberto Cipelli appears on piano on one track.

Trebisonda is an exquisitely-crafted album by Aksak Project where jazz, global sounds and a trance-like atmosphere come together effectively.


Santur Soul

Renzo Ruggiero – Alma (Phenix 001, 2017)

Alma is the new album by Italian santur virtuoso Renzo Ruggiero. Alma is a beautifully-crafted work featuring spirited world music instrumental pieces rooted in Mediterranean, Spanish and Middle Eastern melodies along with dreamy slow tempo, trance-like pieces. All the compositions are originals by Ruggiero except for a 12th century song and a Gurdieff-De Hartmann piece.

Ruggiero currently lives in Toledo, the ancient city in central Spain, not far from Madrid, that has become a home to many artists. An international cast of talented instrumentalists join Ruggiero on the album.

The lineup on Alma includes Renzo Ruggiero on santur, acoustic bass guitar, vocals, nyckelharpa, steel tongue drums, percussion, sound design; Javier Paxariño (Spain) on saxello and bansuri; Hames Bitar (Syria) on oud; Susana Shiava (Spain) on Tibetan singing bowls; and Anna Sato (Japan); Amable Rodríguez (Spain) on guitar; and Michele Carreca (Italy) on guitar and theorbo.



Alma is a mesmerizing work that showcases the talent and versatility of Renzo Ruggiero and his multi-faceted santur.

Buy the digital download version of Alma or get the CD from https://beloud.co/shop/en/renzoruggiero.


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


Artist Profiles: Alborosie


Alborosie was born Alberto D’Ascloa in Sicily, Italy. At 15 he created a reggae band called Reggae National Ticket. Signed to BMG Italia, they enjoyed huge success and record sales in excess of 200,000 units. Wanting to leave his “Italian Babylon,” Alborosie decided to quit the band, get rid of all his possessions and move to Jamaica.

Looking to find a place he could call his spiritual home, Alborosie immersed himself fully into the music, the people and culture of the island. Soon after, Alborosie embarked on making a name for himself as a reggae artist.

His self-penned singles “Herbalist” and “Kingston Town” released in 2008 did well in Jamaica and in the UK with strong radio support. He released “Call On Jah” and “Rastafari Anthem” in late 2008 and collaborated with some of the island’s biggest artists including Luciano, Michael Rose, Morgan Heritage, Ky-Mani Marley, Jah Cure, Beenie Man and most recently with Etana on “Blessings”.


Escape From Babylon to the Kingdom of Zion (Greensleeves, 2010)
2 Times Revolution (Greensleeves, 2011)
Soul Pirate (Evolution, 2015)
Freedom & Fyah (VP Records, 2016)


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


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)