Sancto Ianne
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Sancto Ianne
FolkClub Ethnosuoni

cd cover Formed in 1995, from Benevento, in the shadow of the southern Apennines, Sancto Ianne won the "Folkontest" 2001 for up-and-coming Italian folk bands. An invitation followed to perform at the Festival Interceltique de l'Orient in Brittany, where they earned the Dagan Celtic Cidre award as the outstanding new non-Celtic group. Relative newcomers to the Italian neo-folk revival, the ensemble comprises Gianni Principe (lead vocals, castanets), Ciro Maria Schettino (classical guitar, violin, flute, bombardo or double-reed shawm, tin whistle, mandoloncello, vocals), Gianni Cusani (guitar, acoustic bass), Alfonso Coviello (tammorre or large Italian tambourine, tamburella, timpano, djembe, darbuka) and Sergio Napolitano (accordion, percussion), with guests Pina Pascarella (voice), Umberto Aucone (soprano sax), Raffaele Tiseo (violin) and Angelo Cioffi (programmed bass).

Schettino contributed seven of the band's nine originals, including the title track's swinging groove, the infectious guitar hook and natty verve of "'A Mugliera 'e Masaniello," and the driving, percussive, whip-saw violin workout of "'E Bolle d'a Malvizza," invoking the tarantella-possessed soul of regional Campania song. Principe's resonant, enveloping vocals, cultivating the insolent, devil-may-care panache of politically inspired south Italian folk song, gives the group a menacing edge, which infiltrates one's sonic awareness by degrees. They offer tales of class oppression, injustice, famine and popular resistance that speak to the notorious plutocracy of the present as easily as they might to any antecedent authoritarian regime. Then when the time is right, and closing with a nod to their folk inspiration, Sancto Ianne uncorks fresh interpretations of two traditional songs, the fuzzy ethereal vocals and modal phrasing of "A Muntevergine," and a lively, liberating "Italiella." Sancto Ianne's energetic essay of the latter summons up the dashing, lifelong revolutionary spirit of Garibaldi and the Risorgimento, a time whose restless egalitarian spirit, clacking castanets and thundering tammorre in hand, is here and now, once more abroad. - Michael Stone

The band's web site:

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Audio (p)(c)2002 FolkClub Ethnosuoni, used by permission

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