Aramirč - Mazzate Pesanti
RootsWorld: Home Page Link RootsWorld: Home Page Link
If you enjoy what you read here, please consider showing us a small bit of your love and support with a subscription!
Become a monthly supporter for the price of a cup o' joe or a nice dinner.
Choose Your Donation

Mazzate Pesanti
Edizioni Aramirč (

cd cover It's been quite some time since I first crossed paths with Aramirč and Roberto Raheli, the man responsible for the band and the record company/publishing house of the same name. Raheli is really passionate about his native Salento and his company has put out a number of amazing historic recordings that are a must for anyone interested in "the most beautiful music in the world" coming from the "most beautiful place in the world." He has also created two recordings with Aramirč, the band. They were interesting, but something was missing. It could have been inspiration, flame or technical prowess. I couldn't really make it out, so I turned to his historical recordings but when I wanted to deal with contemporary music, I looked to other places.

On listening to Mazzate Pesanti I now realize what was missing from the earlier recordings. It was rage: pure, unadulterated, enormous rage and now that this is in place, Raheli and his friends have produced an amazing record, which is already high on my list of top recordings from the region.

Raheli is angry. He is angry about the environmental destruction of his beloved land through illegal dump sites, illegal construction, megastructural hotel complexes, heavy industry, road construction. He is also angry about the sellout of the region and its traditions: the ersatz ethnic or traditional bands, the politicians with the God-knows-what links and their grandiose plans. He is angry about the "expert," "caring," "rent-an-opinion" singers from abroad or the north who know everything about the musical tradition of the region and more so about how to market it to a wider public. About the neo-traditional postcard view of Salento where gay rustic farmers relaxed in the summer evening over pasta and black bread and played the pizzica all year long. He is angry about the local social reality and the bosses behind it. He is angry about the lazyheads who have it better than the hard-working folk. He is angry about the stupidity that is the television reality of the 21st Century. He is angry about the introduction of the Euro. He is angry about the secession moves of the North. He is angry with his fellow Salentines who are after a quick buck. He is angry about a world where people still have to emmigrate for a better future. He is angry with Silvio Berlusconi. He is angry with the Opposition Left who are unable to make a convincing stand against him. He is angry about the continuing incarceration of Adriano Sofri, a leader of a left-wing extraparliamentarian group accused of killing a Police Commissioner. He is angry about the stories of the old struggles no longer told. It's a list almost as long and certainly as passionate as Ed Norton's in the 25th Hour. And it is recited throughout this new recording.

But it would be unfair to make a caricature out of Aramirč, as almost every second song is an amazing, incredible love song either traditional or of his own scripting which will send goosebumps down your spine and make you want to memorize it and sing it to your loved one. You'll be able to read all those in detail in the excellent 32-page booklet that accompanies and in many ways defines the record. It's a vital part of this release, far more than a simple accompanying text.

It's this balance between the traditional and the modern, the erotic and the political, the polemical and the inspirational that raises this record to the heights it achieves. It is also Stefania Morciano on vocals, and a tight group who play with the correct balance between the drone-like quality that characterizes the best of the Salento musical tradition with the derisive spirit of the Salentinians and a sense of tradition that is both fun and therapeutic, danceable and contemplative. It's everything those ersatz ethnic bands are not and so Roberto Raheli and his friends support their words with actions, providing a work that shows a path forward for the region and its musical tradition. It is a record that respects but also messes with the tradition, updates it, informs it, learns from it, doesn't treat it as canonical texts but as living tradition.

If you are already familiar with the Salentine tradition and love it as much as I do, this record is a must. If you are not, this is an interesting record to buy once you have bought something more canonical, to see the face of Salento that produces "the most beautiful music in the world" coming from the "most beautiful place in the world" and not its caricature of happy, impeccably-dressed and well-paid practitioners that those poor tourists will pay an arm and a leg to experience in the government-sponsored festivals taking place in a megastructural hotel, right across from an illegal dump site. - Nondas Kitsos

Listen to an excerpt from "Pizzica per Adriano Sofri"
(Audio ©2004 Edizione Aramire, Italy)

Aramirè CDs are available from cdRoots

Comment on this music or the web site.
Write a Letter to the Editor

Looking for More Information?

return to rootsworld

© 2005 RootsWorld. No reproduction of any part of this page or its associated files is permitted without express written permission.

World Music: