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Rachele Andrioli

Finisterre Records
Review by Chris Nickson

Listen "Luna Ortrantina" (excerpt)

Remarkably, given that fact that Andrioli has been involved with the music of Southern Italy for a number of years, this is her first solo album. Better late than never, though, because the singer and multi-instrumentalist offers a global garden of delights, all flavored with the warmth of her homeland. Her original material nestles easily beside pieces by Victor Jara, the great Enzo Avitabile, Rita & Daniele Durante (who founded Canzione Grecanico Salentino the 1970s, laying the ground for most modern Italian music from the south of the country), and the remarkable Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Quite a challenge to set herself, but she more than lives up to it. Perhaps there’s a reason this disc has taken so long to reach fruition – perfectionism.

Listen "Te Spettu" (excerpt)

Just how good Andrioli is becomes evident on the first track, “Te Spettu,” where her voice is backed by Coro Coro, the female choir she began, frame drums and cello, all powered by mouth harp. The arrangement pushes her voice to the front, exactly it belongs. Her singing is raw and supple, an instrument that can flow through subtle shades of emotion, swooping from jubilation to pain.

“Luna Ortrantina,” the composition by the Durantes, offer something far softer, with Andrioli voices floating over a delicate cello arrangement – and playing – by Redi Hasa, who brings a powerful presence to so much of the album. The vocals almost glide, untethered, piece of beauty that transcends time or place or language – it’s music that simply speaks directly to the heat.

Listen "Leuca" (excerpt)

The title track is Andrioli alone. No instruments beyond the layers of her voice in controlled purity, a cascade of music, a sharp contrast to the track that follows: “Tutt’eguale Son ‘E Criature,” the composition by one of Italy’s great musician, Enzo Avitabile. It gives her to chance let go and unleashes the wildness that lurks underneath the control. You can hear the catharsis when she does.

Listen "Mast Qalander" (excerpt)

One thing that’s virtually impossible for any singer to do is perform a version of a Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan song. After all, his singing and style was so singular that any attempt is going to suffer in comparison. Andrioli keeps the spirit of "Mast Qalander," using the voices of Coro Coro to buoy her and employing darbukah instead of tablas. It’s not imitation. She’s remakes the song into something different, where the dryness of Southern Italy meets Pakistan. Similarly, Victor Jara’s “Manifesto” only needs her voice and guitar for the song to travel the Atlantic and Mediterranean to bed down in a new home, still with all its emotion and heartache.

Andrioli’s solo debut has been a long time coming. But from the vision and imagination of the music, not a moment has been wasted.

Further reading and listening:
Rachele Andrioli & Rocco Nigro
Antonio Castrignanó

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