The Music of Italy
Lost Classics in MP3

Recordings come and go, and often by the time the world has caught up with their genius they are out of print and out of mind. Here, then, are songs from two recordings that have always been personal favorites, ripe with ancient roots and rich with innovations and ideas that have still remained fresh and even daring all these years later. Our thanks to the folks at Robi Droli/Felmay Records in Italy for allowing us to share this music with you. Just click on the song title to download the MP3 file. (Depending on your browser, you may want to 'right click' on your mouse and use your 'save to file' option.) - CF

Re Niliu
"Adieu Adieu/Morseca Nunziale"
(Landini / Craighead-Tesi)
4.7 Meg MP3

Forse Il Mare - Maybe The Sea
Robi Droli (out of print, a review from 1989)
(This CD is now available again via cdRoots)

Ever since I first heard this record, I have been driving people crazy making them listen to it. This outfit from Italy is going to leave the term "world beat" in complete disarray (maybe, thankfully, buried!). It's Italian folk, Italian jazz, Italian new acoustic, acoustic rock... it's tight, it's improvisational. The stunning guitar work of Alberto Balia is up there with the best jazz players (and he's also featured on clarinet, bass, vocals and other things). Danielle Craighead's inspired winds playing includes the piffero, a raspy double reed instrument that offers a distortion the electric guitar can only dream of. Master musician Ricardo Tesi did ground-breaking work on the accordion, and Enrico Frongia grounds the whole proceeding with exuberant vocals and guitar work. All add surprising touches of percussion and other small instruments that lend bits of Celtic, African and Middle eastern roots. While the cuts are long by commercial radio standards (six to thirteen minutes), there is so much going on that the time flies by! The opening cut, "The Stars And The Moon," will leave your head spinning with tempo changes, key changes, instrument changes and enough percussion-driven solos to please the most hungry jazz or rock fan. - CF

"E lu tre, lu tre, lu sette"
(trad / Re Niliu)
3.1 Meg MP3

Re Niliu
Robi Droli (out of print, review from 1989)

The folk revival moved into Italy much later, but when it did, there was an explosion. At first, the ethno-musicologist reigned supreme, and bands would include extensive liner notes with sources and history. but then, as the eighties approached, a number of the revivalists cut loose, and the results were stunning and sometimes outrageous. Re Niliu covers both adjectives. They started as researchers, investigating the music of Calabria, in southern Italy, a region with much in common with the Greek and Andalusian music of the Mediterranean. Caravi is a set of songs based on children's rhymes and music. Their theory was that "children can dream and travel while dreaming better than anyone." These songs are dreams, and sometimes nightmares, from the Calabrian folk catalog. Utilizing instruments from Italy like the piffero and accordion, they also add the sounds of Africa and the middle east to the mix, not to emulate the music so much as to utilize the timbres and colors to create new Italian music. The sounds come together well, reminding you once again how close together we all really are, geographically and culturally. Intense vocal harmonies, incessant marimba lines, pounding drums and wheezing reeds clash in the dark and dance in the light that divide the worlds of Caravi. - CF

Audio is copyright 1989, 2000 Robi Droli / Felmay

The Music of Italy

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