Unnaddare - Kalsa
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Unnaddare
Kalsa
Megasound (www.unnaddare.com)

The next time you see the moon's reflection in dark water, cup your hands together and gather it in your hands: you'll be holding the essence of Unnaddare's music. Unnaddare's Kalsa project is a mysterious exploration of Sicilian roots, but this is no traditional journey; the group's name means 'everywhere,' and the influences are far-flung. Indeed, the first sound to greet the listener is that of the deep drone of the didgeridoo at the beginning of "Musica e ballu," setting the tone for the record. It's time to get deep.

Unnaddare is a musical project under the guidance of the Puglian band Nidi D'Arac's very talented drummer Maurizio Catania. However, the flavor of Unnaddare's music is very different than the Neo-Tarantism bands proliferating in southern Italy; Unnaddare are the soundtrack to a completely different world, and the band takes in the broader Mediterranean area. Hence, there is a real Arabic element to this album through the oud and saz work of Gabriele Caporuscio, who also adds Indian flourishes of sitar and tabla. If there is any commonality with any of the young generation bands from the south of Italy who utilize electronics, it would be in presenting sonic architecture that builds an organic playing ground for the acoustic and the computerized. I'm reminded, too, of other important Italian groups, such as dub masters Almamegretta and the spooky sonic pictures of BROtheRS' 1997 Atlante work. Unnaddare, though, exist in their own novel stylings.

Throughout Kalsa, there is a tremendous warmth to the sound and a clear commitment to making a cohesive artistic statement. This has to do with the consistent use of dub and reggae influences which, combined with the often chanted lyrics in Sicilian, is like stumbling across some secret Mediterranean ritual. The combination of Gianluca Ferrante's great bass work (check out the driving lines on "A Vergini e a Ulanza") with Catania's drumming and percussion is a solid foundation throughout. The track "Ni siu tiempu" balances out the band's lyricism with a grinding beat, oud, and even violin contributions from Catania's Nidi D'Arac partner Rodrigo D'Erasmo. This is steamy world music that you wouldn't dare kick out of bed! On Catania's "A mo' casa senza mura," the dark atmospherics are amped up, while Valentina D'Accardi contributes her lovely vocals against the male chanting. The title track, "Kalsa," is like some kind of field recording of chanting, whistles, and bells, dubbed out and strummed into a remix of the whole Sicilian-Mediterranean experience, and "Fuluvespiri" strikes the same chord. The additional re-working of the percussive "Terrarussa" is just icing on the cake for Unnaddare's impressive debut. What a joy it is to discover this promising roots-oriented southern Italian band, as Unnaddare are busy creating music unlike that of any of their contemporaries. - Lee Blackstone

More about the band: www.myspace.com/unnaddare

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