RootsWorld: Home Page Link RootsWorld: Home Page Link

Giuseppe Cusumano

Giuseppe Cusumano & Sciàllaba Orchestra
Onde dell' Egeo
both titles Teatro del Sole (

On this pair of recordings Giuseppe Cusumano, a violinist and composer from Palermo, creates an Atlantis of his own, where the four corners of the Mediterranean come together to interact and mingle.

cd cover The first piece on Sciàllaba uses nonsensical words from a joyful celebration of life, drinking and feasts by Giovanni Meli. It is called "windows on other seashores" and its air of open horizons and adventure acts as a filter that establishes a border between two different words (present and past, real and dreamlike, everyday and celebratory) and raises our awareness of those states.

His music can also act as a "theater of the sun," with a theatricality that positions the listener in the midst of a play (the play of life, perhaps?).

The lush orchestration of the music should be singled out for particular notice. Although some electronic instruments are used, the overall feeling remains that of a deeply organic sound, closer to jazz and classical music than anything else.

"Suite for a Little Fable" follows the tale of Pinocchio. This is a little more naïve than the preceding piece, appropriate to the tale of the boy-doll. It is a little more pensive as it tells the story of someone seeking his fate in this world. As would be proper for a fairy tale adventure, it is a bit old-fashioned, as well inquisitive. Although the jazz undertones make sure that it never belittles itself by appearing schmaltzy, this is music that is a joy to listen to; it just radiates good vibes and the joy of the composer.

Although the later recording is more developed on all those fronts, this record is a pleasant addition in the record collection of anyone who might be interested in the more ethereal part of the sound spectrum.

cd cover Cusumano follows with Onde dell' Egeo, a record that operates on an overall higher level. From the overture, with its freestyle vocals that sound both timeless and contemporary, onwards, this is a record that has a deeply rooted sense of adventure.

There are basically two parts to this composition, one that comprises of the first half of the record, and the second half, of a more improvisational character, that is related but not tied to the initial one.

The influences are so well integrated in the character of the music that instead of them appearing as loans, they help this piece attain a sense of eternal dignity. They make the "Waves of the Aegean" seem almost beyond time, as this music was composed in order to give voice to a vision that had tired of its ghostly substance and was eager to materialize in order to help us all perceive it better, a tired old sailor who was ripe for the shore. Maybe this is the reason why this music sounds so spellbinding at times.

The electronic influences that at times gained the upper hand in Sciàllaba have succumbed to the organic quality of the acoustic instruments on this record. The jazz influences remain strong, although they are still subservient to the overall character of the work, making this music approachable to those who have no courage for the endless improvisation of free jazz. Apart from charming, this music is also balanced, never sounding rough or half-made. For a young composer like Cusumano, this is another sign of his considerable talent.

Delicate, balanced and elegant, this music will make friends of whoever listens to it and it will guarantee repeated listening. The reason for that may be found in the definition that Giuseppe Cusumano has used to express what he tries to achieve on this record, quoting the words of Igor Stravinsky in the liner notes: "A real tradition is not the relic of a past irretrievably gone; it is a living force that animates and informs the present."
- Nondas Kitsos

You can find the CD and more audio samples at cdRoots
Onde Dell'Egeo

All audio is (p)©2001 Teatro Del Sole, and is used with their kind permission

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

Looking for More Information?

return to rootsworld

© 2002 RootsWorld. No reproduction of any part of this page or its associated files is permitted without express written permission.