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cd cover Tancaruja is an 8-member band that uses a local Sardinian dialect and an acoustic instrumental approach to deliver their own compositions.

Isettande was recorded in four places (Milan, Cagliari, live on a radio show in Milan and in a festival in Orisano) but that variety of location doesn't relieve the rather generic, somewhat ineffective ambience of the work as a whole. My perception of this album was of a continuous flow of words on top of a musical background that appeared stifled and weakened. This is in part due to the idiosyncratic lead vocals of Valeria Martini, rending the songs with an air of gravity reminiscent of Italian pop singers like Gianna Nannini.

Taken as a whole, this record fails to impress. Some of the songs, nevertheless, work well on their own, like the optimistic "Isettande," "Feminas," with its traces of regional polyphony, and the protest song "Chizzi Chizzi in Miniera". "Eni Ca," sung by Elena Nulchis (who does backing vocals on the other tracks), has a greater variation musically and is also recorded live, which seems to work better for this band than recording in the studio. Being the last song of the CD, it might be considered as a promise for the future.

There are traces of an interesting band in the making on Isettande and it would be enticing to hear their better songs on their own, catch them live or wait for their next album. The present album, however, is only for the most dedicated fans of Sardinian music. - Nondas Kitsos

CD available from cdRoots

Audio: "Feminas"
(c)2000 Ludos/CNI

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