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Ciuma Salvi & Tombesi
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Ciuma Salvi & Tombesi Trio
Il Mare di Lato (Italian Music for Diatonic Accordions)
Felmay (

cd cover Roberto Tombesi is a member of the excellent Venetian group Calicanto that is constantly producing amazing records that balance between tradition and modernity. He speaks in this record for the regions of Triveneto, Istria and Dalmatia.

Stefano "Ciuma" Delvecchio is a member of Bevano Est and comes from Emilia Romagna. Any saltarello or Celtic tone in this recording is, according to the liner notes, his making.

Finally, Mario Salvi, although born in Rome, has become an expert in the music of the south: Lazio, Campania and Puglia, where he currently resides. As the creator of a website on the instrument, (, he is also an expert on it.

Three musicians, three regions of Italy, one instrument: this record has an ethnomusicologist's heart yet feisty performer's blood in its veins. The artists themselves note that the Portuguese quartet of Dancas Ocultas has been a model of what they aim to achieve: create chamber music for a rather humble and much maligned musical instrument.

The repertoire they choose to cover in this live recording made in the northeast of Italy in August, 2001 is quite traditional, although they also introduce their own compositions of a traditional character. "Strummolo," one of the best-known pieces on the record, is a good way for the listener to realize that the Trio combines performers of the highest pedigree with a true easy-going yet inquisitive spirit that lends the piece the sort of laid back, impeccable musicianship that defines what a live performance is all about. "Scotis Polesana nr.7" and the following "Piripicchio e la Contessa," that come courtesy of Tombesi, are quite magical. "FalÚ," written to immortalize times spent with friends in Trentino, conveys a deep, human character. Towards the end of the concert, a grouping of traditional dances, under the name of the "Suite 14 Agosto" unifies musical pieces from all the regions (Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and the south) in an expression of the special character of the instrument, accentuated with the help of singers and tamburello (tambourine). The concert ends with the slow, slightly meditative "Una Gita Scolastica" that formed part of the soundtrack for a Pupi Avati film, dedicated to Marc Perrone who was one of the people responsible for the renaissance of the diatonic accordion.

Although the introduction is also in English, unfortunately the details on each of the tunes or songs is only in Italian. It is a pity, because they are really useful in clarifying the working process of the Trio. Three wonderful musicians, music from three regions of Italy that is full of character and joie-de-vivre, one expressive instrument; this record delivers what it promises, managing to point to the quality of a "forgotten" instrument by performing some of the best-known traditional Italian music, arranged in a program that keeps the interest high. This is a textbook example of a project that is about the quality of the music and not about the performers' egos. - Nondas Kitsos

CD available at cdRoots

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