La Lionetta - Arzan
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La Lionetta
Arzan
FolkClub Ethnosuoni (www.folkclubethnosuoni.com)

cd cover This recording marks the 25th anniversary of the Italian ensemble La Lionetta. It is characterized by a strong nautical theme and a conscious attempt to open up to the new social reality around them. Arzan is highly satisfying, characterized by a horn section that includes the bass tuba and the euphonium of Massimo Lupotti and the whistle and ethnic reeds and bagpipe of Roberto Aversa. Joined by clarinet, ocarina, saxophone, harmonium, trumpet, trombino and flügelhorn, they create a sound that is closee to the brass bands of the Balkans than the folk tradition of the Piedmont. Nevertheless, there are three songs in the local dialect and one of them in particular, "Re Ungino," uses a vernacular tale to tell a very modern story, as it adds a coda of Iraqi War sound snippets to a traditional tune about a much older conflict. The lyrics say, "Had we paid attention to the women of this country we would not have done it wrong," and in many ways this may characterize the philosophy of the band.

Listen!
"Rap-a Nui" uses a very learned theme to perform a rap ('Rap for Us') and it is a most appropriate introduction. "Valona Nauti Tour" is one of their own compositions and it can be seen as a signature tune of the record, combining the Balkan sonorities with the nautical theme while also acting as a slightly self-mocking celebration of the band. "Il Suonatore Jones," after a poem by E.I. Masters, relates the story of a ninety-year old performer who continues to do his own thing; you get the idea that he is truly the role model of these five baby boomers. (It is good to know they plan to entice us for a long time coming!) "Ij Foi-Fotù" is a political poem from the Nineteenth Century, sung in Piedmontese and riding on a sonic background of the anti-globalization marches in Genoa in 2002, exposing the insanity of established power structures.

Although the political aspects of this record are to be reckoned with, this is mostly a joyous affair. It is a bit uneven, but there are many moments when it sizzles and carries you away with its infectious joy. I listened to this record as a companion piece to the Banda di Avola and it was wonderful how it managed to present a contemporary angle to the other record's timelessness. - Nondas Kitsos

(Note: The liner notes in the booklet are presented in Italian, and again on the CD as a PDF file in an excellent English translation.)

CD available from cdRoots


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