One of the more important groups in the Italian roots music movement, Tre Martelli has been around since 1976. They research and recreate the folk music of the north Italian Piedmont region. The principle instruments heard in this six-member band include accordion, musette (bagpipe), hurdy-gurdy and violin, plus the extraordinary singer Vincenzo "Ciacio" Marchelli, whose robust vocals evoke a sense of the rustic that is perfect for Tre Martelli's music.
A number of the other dance tunes performed here are taken from music books originally published in the 19th and early 20th century. During this period, a number of Italian composers and musicians went into the countryside to annotate and record village music. Copies of some of these original scores were used as source materials for "Monferrine di Masserano" and a trio of anonymously composed polkas.
Too few Italians know about their own roots music scene. During a visit today to one large North American Italian music web site, I couldn't find a single listing for any of the Italian roots music bands. More the pity when groups like Tre Martelli are producing such distinctive and exciting albums. - Aaron Howard
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