This very enjoyable twelve-track release features the skilled work of eight performers, highlighted by the vocals of Salentina singer Lucilla Galeazzi, and Ialma, the vocal and percussion group from Galicia (Veronica Codesal, Natalia Codesal, Eva Fernandez and Marisol Palomo).
At the same time, this disc is the coming together of the talents of accordionist Didier Laloy, tamburello player Carlo Rizzo, and Maarten Decombel on the guitar, and the lyrics of Brais Fernandes and Galeazzi.
In a time when freedoms are being threatened, including artistic freedoms, in Europe and elsewhere, my sense is that this is a quiet cri-de-coeur from artists that are part of that international community that is forming in places like Belgium, where many paths cross in the heart of today’s political Europe.
The disc begins very strongly with a title song, “Alegria e Liberta”, that sums up the group’s coming together, The Galician canteiras of Ialma, and Galeazzi, introduce themselves, as women and as daughters and granddaughters of those women they tried to burn.
The traditional partisan anthem, “Bella Ciao”, is another very strong track, and although this song has been recorded dozens or perhaps hundreds of times, by a wide variety of artists, in many languages, it’s always exciting to find a new take on it. In fact, two takes, as the group also recorded an excellent version of "Bella Ciao" with the exiled rapper Valtonyc.* (Not on the disc, unfortunately, but you can see it here.)
It’s stunning how well the ten additional tracks bring together the traditions and sound of the various components of this group, particularly the Italian and the Galician, in a very joyous and passionate project. In particular, I appreciate the flavourful and skilled tamburello of Rizzo,which adds so much to the songs.
The disc set provides the original lyrics, but unfortunately no translation. Best to just relax and enjoy! -
*Valtonyc, (Josep Arenys Beltran), the hip-hop artist from the Balearic Islands, is exiled and living in Belgium under threat of extradition to Spain for prosecution related to his Marxist, anti-Monarchist and pro-Catalan lyrics.