Luca Bassanese & La Piccola Orchestra Popolare (Italy)

Italian Manu Chao

There has never been a more unusual career than that of Luca Bassanese. Ecologist and independent artist, Luca regularly fills public spaces and concert halls around the country with his mix of poetry, Italian folk music and electro-Balkan sounds. His performances with La Piccola Orchestra Popolare will put you in a good mood and make you want to dance, move your feet and lose yourself for a moment in a third reality. This is what happened to thousands of people in 2018 at various European festivals like Paléo in Switzerland, Esperanzah! and Dranouter in Belgium, and Vidor Festival in Hungary.

The artistic director of ‘Le Grand Soufflet’ festival in France wrote: “The minstrel, activist, poet and musician Luca Bassanese slays austerity by summoning Trans-alpine fanfares and tarantellas in a grand Fellini operetta, in a style that is both folk and world music. A musician who grew up with the records of the great Fabrizio de Andrè, and enlivened by the powerful folklore of the two shores of the Adriatic (the Italian and the Balkan), he fanned the embers of social engagement with klezmer hints of brass or heady gusts of opera buffa. What Luca Bassanese proposes to us is a modern spectacle, Circassian and ruffling, a new cornerstone in its work of restoration of the great Italian popular music.

The best songs of his repertoire (12 albums since 2005) are part of Luca Bassanese’s new show, supplemented by new compositions produced by Stefano Florio, manager of the Buenaonda label. Over the years, Luca Bassanese has collaborated with numerous Italian and foreign artists, including, to name a few, the Original Kocani Orkestar of Macedonia, the Berber artist Bachir Charaf (nicknamed The Voice of the Desert), and the satirical artist Antonio Cornacchione. On his latest album also appears Jacopo Fo (son of the writer, playwright, director and actor Dario Fo, Nobel Prize for Literature) and the Choir Mondines de Bentivoglio. Luca is also a regular host of the prestigious Carnevale di Viareggio. Among the official recognition for his artistic and activist engagement, Luca has received several awards (Targa MEI, Premio Recanati Musicultura, Marcello Torre National Award, etc.).

Luca is without question one of the major characters of the new committed Italian popular music. His colourful shows are accessible to a wide audience, including family and children.


Line Up

Quartet
Luca Bassanese – lead vocal, tammorra, guitar, bass drum
Stefano Florio – guitars, bouzouki, effects, vocals
Massimo Tuzza – drums
Elodie Lebigre – vocal, dance

Sextet
Luca Bassanese – lead vocal, tammorra, guitar, bass drum
Domenico de Nichilo – trumpet
Stefano Florio – guitars, bouzouki, effects, vocals
Paolo Cecchin – bass, vocals
Massimo Tuzza – drums
Elodie Lebigre – vocals, dance


Discography

2019 Liberate l’Elefante! Venite Gente Pim Pum Pam, CD, Ola Ola Music
2019 Live at Paléo Festival Nyon, CD, Ola Ola Music
2017  Colpiscimi felicità, CD, Buenaonda
2015  Quando piove tutti cercano riparo tranne gli alberi che hanno altro a cui pensare, CD, Buenaonda
2014 L’amore (è) sostenibile, CD, Buenaonda
2013 Popolare contemporaneo – per l’acqua, per la terra per la dignità dei popoli, CD, Buenaonda
2012 La Rivoluzione, CD, Buenaonda
2011 C’è un mondo che si muove!, CD, Buenaonda
2010 Il Futuro del Mondo, CD, Buenaonda
2008 La Società dello Spettacolo, CD, Buenaonda
2006 Al mercato, CD, X-Land
2005 Oggi che il qualunquismo è un’’arte mi metto da parte e vivo le cose a modo mio, EP, X-Land


Press

“A minstrel show, full of music and fantasy, where italian Commedia dell’Arte meets Fellini’s magic world.”
Cabaret Sauvage@Le Bal Rital, Paris (FR)

“Luca Bassanese accompanied by the Piccola Orchestra Popolare, a passionate exhibition of strong scenic and musical impact. The actor, musician and ballad singer proved again to be one of the most interesting exponents of the Italian popular music world. “
Michele Fumagallo, Il manifesto (IT)

“The street orchestra accentuates the athmosphere with Bassanese the “philosopher”, outright and addictive.”
Andrea Laffranchi, Corriere della Sera (IT)

“In Paris, Place d’Italie, a crowd gathered and danced to the rhythm of the hectic tarantella of the Italian artist Luca Bassanese and his group. Congratulations to Luca whom we want to hear again in many public places of the city!”
Nadia Khouri-Dagher, Babelmed.net (IT, FR, UK)

„I was there… spectacular concert of Luca Bassanese and his band, magnificent, fantasy, poetry…“
Bruno Moio, Radio Aligre, Paris (FR)

Suonno d’Ajere (Italy)

Canzone Classica Napoletana

Three passionate musicians, born and bred in the city of Naples, have come together to prove once and for all that the tradition of Neapolitan song writing is still as moving and relevant as it has ever been.

Suonno d’Ajere means “The Dream of Yesterday” and refers to a famous song title by Neapolitan cantautore Pino Daniele. The trio was born in 2016 from the need to know and enhance what Naples has produced in its vocal musical history. Despite their different musical backgrounds, from jazz to light music, from popular to classical, the members of the group have always been confronted with Neapolitan song, remaining deeply fascinated. They intend to restore dignity and depth to this tradition by exploring all the repertoire from 1600 to the present day, proposing arrangements that combine stylistic rigour with a contemporary approach. The choice of instruments recalls the popular Posteggia formations from the early nineteenth century, street and bar musicians loved by common people as well as by aristocrats, but the execution is of a far more refined and sophisticated approach, often far from the street versions. The result is a flamboyant mix between popular and classical that has always been the cornerstone of Neapolitan music.

Suonno d’Ajere are the recipients of numerous awards (including the First Prize at SanremoCantaNapoli Festival as well as a performance at Biennale di Venezia for the soundtrack of La Chimera documentary) and much critical acclaim for their performances of existing songs as well as their own original compositions. In 2019 they released their debut album Suspiro.

“Neapolitan song is not a relic for museums, nor a mummy without oxygen. Its scores are no holy pells but a legacy to be celebrated.” Suonno d’Ajere


Line Up

Irene Lupe Scarpato – vocals
Marcello Smigliante Gentile – mandolin, mandola, mandoloncello
Gian Marco Libeccio – classical guitar


Press

“breathtaking musicality …. one of the best albums of the year.”
Mirjam Jessa, ORF Ö1, AT

“Suonno d’Ajere clearly believe in the songs and the mother tongue of the Gulf of Naples.“
Napoli Today, IT
„This group gives me hope for our forgotten classical repertoire.“
Salvatore Palomba, poet and writer, IT

„Suspiro is neither vintage nor anachronistic, but the intelligent balance between philology and the temptations of our time.“
Il Mattino, IT

„Suonno d’Ajere reassure!“
Radio Napoli

Elina Duni (Albania/Switzerland)

La Fille de l’Air

Born into a highly artistic family in Tirana, Albania, in 1981, Elina Duni made her first steps on the stage as a singer aged five, singing for National Radio and Television. In 1992, after the fall of the communist regime, she settled in Geneva, Switzerland, with her mother, where she started studying classical piano and thereafter discovered jazz. She went on to study on the jazz programme at Hochschule der Künste in Bern. During this time, she formed the Elina Duni Quartet with Colin Vallon on piano, Patrice Moret on double bass and Norbert Pfammatter on drums. This project represented a return to her musical roots, a combination of Balkan folk songs and jazz.

After two albums, Baresha (2008) and Lume (2010), both on Meta Records, the quartet went on to release for ECM in 2012, Matane Malit (Beyond the Mountain) and in 2015, Dallëndyshe  (Swallow), which were praised by the wider European media for their lightness as well as their subtle manner of exploring Albanian folklore. In 2014, Elina Duni released her first album as a singer-songwriter in Kosovo and Albania, entitled Muza e Zezë (The Black Muse).

In 2017, Elina Duni was one of the winners of the Swiss Music Prize, and in 2018 her first solo project Partir was released on ECM: In nine (!) languages she presents old folk songs, chansons and ballads of farewell and separation, accompanying herself on guitar, piano and frame drum.

For her latest project Songs of Love and Exile Elina is joined by guitarist and BBC New Generation Artist Rob Luft, one of the rising stars of London’s flourishing contemporary jazz scene. Luft’s playing incorporates echoes of West African high-life, Celtic folk and textural minimalism. His joyously original sound finds an ideal counterpart in Elina Duni’s vocals. Their first common album Lost Ships will be released by ECM Records end of 2020.

“I come from a family who has already fought against fascism, this is why I abhor any kind of nationalism. Societies who seal themselves off, are fearful societies. We all have to learn again how to fight for things that we have come to see as a given and take for granted.” (Elina Duni)


Current Projects

Elina Duni Solo “Partir”
Duo Elina Duni & Rob Luft
Trio Elina Duni & Rob Luft feat. Fred Thomas
Quartet Elina Duni Band


Discography

2020 Lost Ships, ECM
2018 Partir, ECM
2015 Dallëndyshe, ECM
2014 Muza e Zezë
2012 Matane Malit, ECM
2010 Lume, Lume, Meta Records
2008 Baresha, Meta Records


Awards

2020 Freiburger Leiter, Germany
2017 Swiss Music Prize
2015 Diaspora Award, Embassy of Kosovo, Switzerland
2013 Kult Award for “Matanë Malit”, Tirana, Albania
2012 Jazz Pott Award, Essen, Germany
2010 Pro Helvetia “Priority Jazz ” for Elina Duni Quartet, Switzerland
2008 HKB Prize, Bern, Switzerland
2008 “Coup de Coeur 2008” Bern, Switzerland
2007 Friedl Wald Prize, Switzerland


Press

“Duni’s soaring, sensuous singing has a clarity and purity that recalls, say, Yanka Rupkina, but it is tellingly infused with jazz elements such as light scatting and sparing but effective melodic improvisation.”
London Jazz News, UK, 2019

“… Each of her songs turns into a convincing recital, a profound homage to sincere humanity.”
Kulturkomplott, DE

“This album is all of a piece. Tuned in a pensive tone, although it is about departure. But this departure is not frivolous or euphoric, and Elina sings about it with earthy presence and mastered strenth.”
Neue Züricher Zeitung, CH

“Her voice is pure and clear and of ever more transparent intimacy. She does not cling but lets you go off to something at the same time melancolic but also full of hope and relief.”
Kulturtipp, CH

Lucilla Galeazzi (Italy)

The Pasionaria of Italian Folk

Currently the most active and worldwide well-known Italian folk singer, Lucilla Galeazzi’s career as a soloist or included in projects by other famous artists keeps her constantly on tour all over the world. After many years with Giovanna Marini’s Vocal Quartet and Christina Pluhar’s L’Arpeggiata, she keeps on singing and touring with her own musical projects, spreading worldwide the Italian oral tradition of popular music.

Lucilla Galeazzi was born in Terni, a small inustrial town in Umbria. Starting as a pop singer, soon she approached popular music after a fortunate encounter with Umbria anthropologist Valentino Paparelli and with oral historian Alessandro Portelli, both already engaged in ethnomusicological research in Umbria and central Italy. In 1977 she meets Giovanna Marini and joins her Vocal Quartet, knowing a consequent international success. In 1986 she meets Roberto de Simone and takes part in his great show “Stabat Mater” performed at the Opera Theater in Naples and on tour in New York and the USA. In 1987 she founds the musical trio Il Trillo, with Ambrogio Sparagna, barrel organ, and Carlo Rizzo, tambourines. With this trio she goes beyond the mere re-statement of musical oral tradition.

Lucilla has performed on the big opera stages in Naples, Berlin, Hamburg and New York and worked with many stars of the international folk scene such as Elena Ledda from Sardinia, Maria del Mar Bonnet from Mallorca, Portuguese Fado singer Teresa Salgueiro, Argentinian Mercedes Sosa and Rai singer Cheb Khaled from Algeria. Together with the French jazz musicians Michel Godard und Vincent Courtois she founded the critically acclaimed Trio Rouge, and for many years she toured around the world as a member of Christina Pluhar’s Baroque ensemble L’Arpeggiata.

She is one of the voices of Bella Ciao, the Italian all star project around organetto maestro Riccardo Tesi, which 50 yeras later restages the historical partisans’ and workers’ songs of the Italian Folk revival of the sixties and seventies. Recently Lucilla has also started to present her own productions: In 2014, she writes and promotes two major theatrical-musical shows dedicated to the First World War: Doppio Fronte. Oratorio per la Grande Guerra, with renowned Italian actor and performer Moni Ovadia, and Il fronte delle donne. In 2016 she writes and plays the show La nave a Vapore, devoted to the history of the great Italian migratory movements. Her latest adventure is Alegria e Libertà, an international co-production with the Galician-Belgian vocal quartet Ialma,  Didier Laloy on accordion and Carlo Rizzo on tamburello.


Current Projects

Solo Lucilla Galeazzi vocals & guitar
Duo Quanti Canti Lucilla Galeazzi & Stefania Placidi (vocals & guitars)
Trio Trad Lucilla Galeazzi vocals / Marcello Vitale guitar / Carmine Bruno percussion
Trio Rouge Lucilla Galeazzi vocals / Michel Godard tuba / Vincent Courtois cello
Festa Italiana Lucilla Galeazzi & Quintet
Alegria & Libertà Lucilla Galeazzi & vocal quartet Ialma (BE) – acc – perc


Discography

2018 Alegria e Libertà, Lucilla Galeazzi/Ialma/Didier Laloy/Carlo Rizzo/Maarten Decombel (Homerecords/Galileo MC)
2015 Bella Ciao, Lucilla Galeazzi/Riccardo Tesi/Elena Ledda etc (Visage Music/Galileo MC)
2013 Festa Italiana, Lucilla Galeazzi (Helikonia)
2010 Ancora Bella Ciao, Lucilla Galeazzi (Helikonia)
2010 Sopra i Tetti di Firenze, Lucilla Galeazzi/Riccardo Tesi/Maurizio Geri (Manifesto)
2006 Amore e Acciaio, Lucilla Galeazzi (Zonedimusica)
2005 Stagioni, Lucilla Galeazzi (Buda Musique)
2004 Trio Rouge, Lucilla galeazzi/Michel Godard/Vincent Courtois (Intuition)
2004 All’Improvviso, Lucilla Galeazzi & Christina Pluhar/L’Arpeggiata (Alpha Production)
2002 Renaissance, Philippe Eidel & Lucilla Galeazzi (Naive)
2002 La Tarantella, Lucilla Galeazzi (Alpha Production)
2001 Lunario, Lucilla Galeazzi (C.N.I.)
1997 La Via dei Romei, Ambrogio Sparagna & Lucilla Galeazzi
1997 Cuore di Terra, Lucilla Galeazzi (C.N.I.)
1993 Giovà il Servo del Ré, Ambrogio Sparagna & Lucilla Galeazzi (BMG)
1992 Il Trillo, Lucilla Galeazzi / Amrbogio Sparagna / Carlo Rizzo (Thelonius)
1984 Anninnia, Paolo Damiani & Lucilla Galeazzi (Nueva)



Press

„These ancient melodies, witness to the rich culture of Italy’s storied past, are made new again through Galeazzi’s exquisite voice and engaging style. Galeazzi’s arrangements of Italian songs and dance melodies celebrate the beauty and vitality of the Mediterranean’s multicultural heritage.“
Carnegie Hall Promotion, USA

„Lucilla’s voice has a wide field to offer: harmonious and quiet, sad and melancholic and also very powerful and intensive. The album is full of southern emotions. Great work!“
Folkworld, DE

„Lucilla Galeazzi has a voice of amazing clarity, versatility and beauty. This collection of songs allows that voice to shine. Lunario is full of conflicting feelings and expressions that are magically bridged by the simple power of the songs.“
Rootsworld, USA


 

Samuraï Accordion (Finland/Ireland/Italy/Spain)

The Ultimate Squeezebox Experience

The name’ Samurai’ is no coincidence, nor is TE or 手 (Japanese for “hand”) as an album title. It is a look at ancestral Japan, at our collective imagination. The Samurai was a noble warrior at the service of a cause, as these 5 magnificent musicians are, at the service of the accordion, in order to give it all its ‘ letters’ of nobility.It is necessary to be body and soul at the service of the instrument to reach this level of virtuosity, finesse and musicality. These five have done so and this new opus shows us how the breath produced by such hands is clever, stealthy, fine, expressive, contemporary and traditional, strong, powerful, always in the right place, surprising…. Quite an art… The Samurai in Japan was a master in the art of warfare, our Samurai are masters in the art of music, a sacred battle!

This fabulous talent-studded programme – with some slight line up changes since their first album – includes no less than five of the most dazzling exponents of the squeezebox in Europe. They have all made a huge contribution to advancing the cause of the diatonic accordion, each in their own sphere: Riccardo Tesi from Tuscnay is the grey eminence of the new Italian musica popolare. He represents the rise of Italian folklore in the seventies, whereas Simone Botasso is one the most important exponents of the young contemporary Italian scene. Highly energetic Kepa Junkera from the Pyrenees has completely renewed the accordion on the crossroad between France and Spain. Markku Lepistö belongs to the most renowned virtuosos of Finnish folk music and teaches at Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and Irish grandee David Munelly has toured around the world with the most important groups of more or less traditional Irish music.

In common with the characters pervading the imaginary universe of the Japanese, these players have succeeded in combining a variety of styles to create a bold and expressive musical experience. Ingeniously melodic, brilliantly tonal, an invitation to savour an intimate atmosphere or relish a session of wild dancing: these musicians with an impressive list of credentials offer us a spectacular and extremely beguiling event.


Line up from 2017

Simone Bottasso (Italy)
Kepa Junkera (Spain)
Markku Lepistö (Finland)
David Munnelly (Ireland)
Riccardo Tesi (Italy)


Discography

2017 TÉ, Visage Music/Galileo MC
2011 Accordion Samurai, Homerecords.be


Awards

2011 Grand Prix International du Disque de l’Académie Charles Cros, Paris (F)
2012 Octaves de la Musique, Brussels (B)


Press

There are only five, not seven, accordion Samurai; they are, however, maginificent.
Songlines, UK

As you might expect there is some wonderfully sparkling virtuoso playing, but the frequent change of tempo, timbre and mood help to maintain interest.
fRoots, UK

TE’ combines a variety of styles to create an inclusive and engaging aural experience that fluctuates between reflective and robust, and ranges from lushly melodic and tonal to wheezily rhythmic.
Tony Hillier on the Australian Press

Zamballarana (Corsica/France)

Orchestravagante Corsica

Zamballarana come from Pigna, a little Corsican village and cultural hub in the Northwest of the wild and mysterious “Island of Beauty”:  In 1996 musician and stage designer Jérome Casalonga founded the group in the “Casa Musicale”, a legendary cradle of creation and artistic exchange.  In Corsican La Zamballarana is a slightly frivolous and unconventional woman – it is in this sense that the band makes the words and sounds of Corsican music dance. The sea is the origin of their Latin roots but also their way of inspiration in their encounters with the different cultures of the world.  Like jugglers these singers and musicians explore their own original mixtures, invent and weave new sound colours and juggle with styles, thus widening the field of our imagination.

The blend of archaic male polyphony with elements of jazz, oriental and latin music as well as the innovative way of playing traditional Corsican instruments such as the 16-string Cetrea, the drum Colombu and the flute Pivana result in a hot and danceable mix of styles which raises the unique Corsican musical tradition to global standards.


Line Up

Jérôme Casalonga – composition, vocals, sax, clarinet
Laurent Barbolosi – violin, trumpet, vocals
Jérémy Lohier – accordion, vocals
Marco Tindiglia – guitar
Ricardo Barbera – bass
Francesco Petreni – drums


Discography

2012 Carnavale (Casa Editions)
2007 Camina (Casa Editions)
2004 Luna (Casa Editions)
1999 Lucia (Casa Editions)
1997 Zamballarana (Casa Editions)


Press

“The great thing about the music of Zamballarana is that it is really authentic, delving into their region’s folk roots, and using it as a point of departure.”
Ruben Zahra, musical director Ghanafest, Malta 2013

“That’s a really good group from Corsica …. a really beautiful group.”
Elvis Costello, 2008

„Fresh and strong emotions!“
Le Monde de la Musique, F, 2005

“This music is profane without pathos, fresh and full of enthusiasm. Bravo!“
Trad Magazine, F, 2004

Riccardo Tesi (Italy)

Il Signore del Folk

For 30 years Riccardo Tesi has been one of the most imaginative players of the organetto, the diatonic button accordion. As an ethnomusicologist he has explored the liscio, the waltz of his native tuscany, the musical traditions of southern Italy, the Balkans, Madagscar, Africa or India as well as jazz or Nino Rota’s film music.

With his longtime project Banditaliana he melts all those elements into a colourful, refined and easily danceable art music which nevertheles remains deeply rooted in Italian tradition. Tesi has collaborated with numerous artists of the Italian and European world and jazz scene (Elena Ledda, Patrick Vaillant, Gianluigi Trovesi, Gabriele Mirabassi, Gianmaria Testa etc), and in 2002 he was awarded the “Voce d’Oro” Prize at the Castelfidardo International Accordion Festival for outstanding achievements on his instrument.

The fresh and sunny music resulting from Banditaliana’s kaleidoscope of sounds is regardless of categories, searching for innovation but sticking to its roots, as a wide synthesis of forms and rites drawn from the Tuscan tradition, Mediterranean flavours, jazz improvisation and songwriting. Original compositions, instrumental virtuosity, precious rhythmic grooves and refined arrangements represent the stylistic features of the group, that over the years has gained a reputation as one of the most interesting bands in the international world music scene and has achieved great success while touring Europe and Canada, regularly appearing at the most important folk&jazz festivals.


Line up Banditaliana

Riccardo Tesi – accordion
Maurizio Geri – guitar, vocals
Gigi Biolcati – percussion
Claudio Carboni – sax


Current Projects

Riccardo Tesi & Banditaliana (quartet)
Duo Riccardo Tesi (acc) & Maurizio Geri (guit/voc)
Trio Riccardo Tesi (acc) – Maurizio Geri (guit/voc) – Gabriele  Mirabassi (clar)
Riccardo Tesi CAMERISTICO (quintett)
Riccardo Tesi PRESENTE REMOTO (sextet)
BELLA CIAO feat. Lucilla Galeazzi, Elena Ledda, Ginevra di Marco (sextet)


Discography (selection)

2018 Riccardo Tesi & Banditaliana “Argento” (Visage Music/Materiali Sonori)
2015 Riccardo Tesi & Lucilla Galeazzi, Elena Ledda and others “Bella Ciao” (Visage Music)
2014 Riccardo Tesi & Banditaliana “Maggio” (Visage Music/Materiali Sonori)
2011 Riccardo Tesi & Banditaliana “Madreperla” (Viavai/Materiali Sonori)
2010 Riccardo Tesi & Maurizio Geri “Sopra I Tetti Di Firenze” (Materiali Sonori)
2007 Rioccardo Tesi “Solo Organetto” (Cinq Planètes/Felmay)
2007 Riccardo Tesi “Presente Remoto” (Il Manifesto)
2006 Riccardo Tesi & Claudio Carboni “Crinali” (Felmay fy 8114)
2004 Riccardo Tesi & Banditaliana “Lune” (Il Manifesto CD140)
2003 Riccardo Tesi “Acqua Foco e Vento” (Dunya Records)
2001 Riccardo Tesi “Acqua, foco e vento LIVE” (VM301)
2000 Riccardo Tesi & Banditaliana “Thapsos” (Il Manifesto CD063)
1998 Riccardo Tesi “Banditaliana” (Il Manifesto CD028)
1995 Riccardo Tesi “Un ballo liscio” (Auvidis Tempo A 6242)
1995 Riccardo Tesi “Un ballo Liscio” (Silex Y 225056)
1994 Riccardo Tesi, G. Trovesi & P. Vaillant “Colline” (Silex Y 225048)
1993 Riccardo Tesi, K. Junkera & J. Kirkpatrick “Trans-Europe Diatonique” (Silex Y 225026)


Press

“A brilliant set of modern Italian folk with strong jazz and world music influences, mostly instrumental, but regularly interspersed with beautiful son.”
Heaven 2 on Maggio, NL, 2016

“Accordionist Tesi, saxophonist Claudio Carboni, guitarist Maurizio Geri, and percussionist Gigi Biolcati are all utterly masterful musicians, and the world’s their oyster. One can’t produce pearls without grit, however, which here takes the form of subtle but pointed political commentary.”
Straight.com on Maggio, Canada, 2014

“…exciting arrangements breathing new and fresh life into the old songs. This is one of those albums that grows onto you when listening to it again and again – probably, because some of the arrangements are rather complex. I am now at a stage of loving this album, listening to it again and again, falling for the charming spell that this music has in it, and discovering each time new details. So an album not only of cultural interest, but also highly enjoyable.”
Folkworld on Aqua, Foco e Vento, D, 2003

“Tesi has always been considered a master of his craft, a highly sought after session musician and a member of many of Italy’s best ensembles over the years, but with Banditaliana he is firmly in control and shows that while craftsmanship counts, artistry is the real test. Tesi passes, 100%.”
RootsWorld on Banditaliana, UK, 2003

Mostar Sevdah Reunion (Bosnia-Herzegovina)

The Pioneers of Modern Sevdah

Mostar Sevdah Reunion is an exquisite group of artists sharing the same passion. Some might say that they live for Sevdah and that could be the only cause of their existence. To decode and to represent this over 400 year old traditional music from Bosnia and Herzegovina is a difficult task to cope with. Despite all obstacles, MSR kept going.
The story begins in 1993 when Dragi Sestic, producer and former of the band, recorded an audiocassette with a couple of tracks that was distributed in limited edition among their friends. Those were the times of war in the Balkans and the reason for recording was just a getaway episode to forget for one single moment all the atrocities and suffering. Then, they gave the promise that “the whole world will know about Sevdah” – one day when war would come to an end. They fulfilled the promise and recorded their first album “Mostar Sevdah Reunion“ in 1998. Since that day they have been fascinating their audiences wherever they go.
Diversity in musical backgrounds and individual virtuosity in a collective that never performed two identical gigs in a row make them unique on the World Music scene. Working and recording with Saban Bajramovic ✝︎ “A Gypsy Legend” , Ljiljana Buttler ✝︎ “The Mother of Gypsy Soul”, Esma Redzepova “The Queen of Gypsies”, Boban Markovic , Naat Veliov and Amira Medunjanin they intend to show the variety of Balkan music and to give due respect to the finest and uncompromised authors of genuine Gypsy music.

The style of the band has changed since its early days, along with many of its members. Guitar and piano have joined violin and accordion as lead instruments, while a younger generation of singers has taken over as vocalists, but the music remains fluid, thoughtful, and an effective reminder that there is more to Balkan music than the high-octane brass bands and drunken stomping of popular imagination.

After their acclaimed 2013 concept album „Tales From a Forgotten City“, entirely dedicated to beautiful and troubled Mostar and her poets and singers, they now come back with something different, in line with the tradition of discovering and presenting forgotten and new talent. “The Balkan Autumn” (2018) features one of the best kept musical secrets of the region: Milutin Sretenovic Sreta is an incredible 70 years old crooner from Serbia who mixes Sinatra-like jazzy vocals with Spanish flamenco and Oriental maqams. Another new voice at Sreta’s side will be only 25 year old Antonija Batinic, the latest star of Sevdah music whose vocal abilities seem to be without limits. „The Balkan Autumn“ promises an exciting mix of experience and youth, energy and virtuosity.


Discography

2018 Mostar Sevdah Reunion Presents Sreta, The Balkan Autumn
2017 Kings of Sevdah, Live Album, Digital Release
2013 Mostar Sevdah Reunion, Tales From A Forgotten City,  SR-66021
2007 Mostar Sevdah Reunion, Café Sevdah, LC-12490
2005 Ljiljana Buttler & Mostar Sevdah Reunion, The Legends of Life, SR-66006
2003 Mostar Sevdah Reunion, A Secret Gate, SR-66002
2002 Liljana Buttler & Mostar Sevdah Reunion, The Mother of Gypsy Soul, SR-66001


Films

2013 Tales From A Forgotten City von Amir Grabus
2005 Sevdah – The Bridge of Bosnian Blues, BBC documentary


Press

“Deeply sad and beautiful.”
Hessischer Rundfunk, D, 2013

“This Balkan answer to the blues is transformed and updated by being matched against contemporary blues and jazz influences… …A subtle and intriguing band.”
The Guardian, UK, 2007

 

Amira Medunjanin (Bosnia-Herzegovina)

Sevdah meets Jazz: Bosnian Billie Holiday

It is not easy to find a single word in English that can stand for the Bosnian concept of Sevdah, although yearning perhaps comes closest. Like the Spanish Duende, or Portuguese Fado, it carries multiple meanings – love, hopeless love, endless love, a desire that chills and fevers the lover like malaria, and like malaria can never be shaken off – but in the end, it’s a way of life, and a narrative that tells the story of itself.

In her native Bosnia, Amira Medunjanin is adored as the new diva of Sevdalinke (Bosnian love songs). She was born in Sarajevo at the time when the popularity of traditional music in former Yugoslavia was at high tide, and Sevdah held a special place for her. The sevdalinke (sevdah songs) she learned from her mother were the most beautiful of songs. Her fascination with the oral tradition of Bosnia and Herzegovina led her to devote herself to creating a unique voice within Sevdah to explore its expressive capacity to the full. She had spent years searching to find people who shared her ideas about Sevdah, and for the best way to present it.

On her latest album Damar (2016), as in all her previous productions, Amira draws deep from the wellspring of Sevdah, the “beating heart” of Bosnian music, with revivifying ancestral Bosnian songs, whilst for the first time introducing new compositions to her artistic palette. A particular emphasis on acoustic guitar brings a subtle Iberian piquancy to Damar, and once again the great Serbian pianist Bojan Z  bestows his musical and production skills upon the endeavour.  With a quintet that suggests everything from flamenco to contemporary jazz – a flourish of guitar here, a provocative piano solo there – Amira Medunjanin transforms tradition into a powerful emotional statement, one that suggests her homeland but is not limited to it.

During the past few years Amira has been increasingly collaborating with classical Croatian orchestras (Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, Zagreb Soloists and Zagreb Philharmonics),  thus placing traditional music from the Balkans into a slightly new context. In 2017 she started working with the internationally renowned Norvegian chamber orchestra Trondheim Solistene, recording and performing together at the Arena di Pula in Istria/Croatia in August 2018. Shortly after this grandiose, sold out  event she releases Ascending, recorded in Trondheim and the Abbey Road Studios in London and produced by Amira herself with her long time musical companions Ante Gelo und Bojan Z. With this special, retrospective album the Bosnian diva celebrates her 15th stage anniversary and opens a new chapter in her musical career.

Dubbed “Bosnia’s Billie Holiday” by music journalist and author Garth Cartwright, the comparison reflects the way in which Amira turns Sevdah inside out, finding new contexts and forms within a tradition that is hundreds of years old. Amira Medunjanin was ranked among the Top Ten World Music Divas by the British magazine Songlines in 2017.


Current Projects

DUO Amira Medunjanin & Bojan Z (piano)
DUO Amira Medunjanin & Boško Jovic (guit)
TRIO Amira Medunjanin & Bojan Z (piano) & Zvonimir Šestak (double bass)
QUARTET Amira Medunjanin & Ante Gelo (guit) & Bosko Jovic (guit) & Zvonimir Šestak (double bass)
SEXTET  Amira Medunjanin & Bojan Z (piano) & Zvonimir Šestak (double bass) & Yurdal Osman Tokcan (oud) & Hakan Güngör (kanun) & Bosko Jovic (guit)
Amira Medunjanin & orchestra


Discography

2020 For Him and Her (Croatia Records)
2018 Ascending (Croatia Records/Town Hill Colony)
2016 Damar (Harmonia Mundi/World Village)
2014 Silk&Stone (Harmonia Mundi/World Village)
2011 Amulette (Harmonia Mundi / World Village)
2010 Zumra (Harmonia Mundi / World Village)
2009 Live from Jazz Fest Sarajevo (Gramofon)
2005 Rosa (Snail Records)
2003 A Secret Gate (Snail Records)


Press

“…powerful and passionate…“
The Guardian (UK) on Damar

“An exquisite album that affirms her status as Eastern Europe’s most potent contemporary voice.”
Nigel Williamson on Silk&Stone, Uncut, UK

“With Amulette, Medunjanin succeeds in doing what many of today’s artists have not: to incorporate Sevdah in the 21st century, adding new contemporary elements whiule retianing its originality; avoiding frustration for the older audience of traditional music while, at the same time, engaging a new one. Together, with her team of musicians, she has showed that tradition, in a new setting, can and must be appreciated and taken car of.”
All About Jazz

“The home of the soul is silence; from this silence beautiful music emerges. Amira’s voice touches that silence on one end of its range; on the other, it reaches transcendent emotional purity. Her voice is good news for those of us who need music to live.”
Aleksandar Hemon

Maurizio Geri Swingtet (Italy)

Swing Manouche all’Italiana

For many years we have known the man with the velvet voice as singer, guitar virtuoso and the author of some of the most beautiful songs of Riccardo Tesi’s Banditaliana – but only very few people north of the Alps will know that Maurizio Geri is also a band leader!

With his Swingtet he renders homage to the style of grandmaster Django Reinhardt, blending the typical Manouche technique with Swing and Italian cantautori tradition. The result is a unique sound that over the years has made the band Italy’s number one of Swing Manouche. Maurizio Geri Swingtet are also the only Italian ensemble that ever caused a stir at the genre’s most important festival in Samois sur Seine in France.

The Swingtet is Maurizio’s core activity around the heritage of Django Reinhardt. He has studied and played with Manouche artists, but without ever renouncing to his own roots. This means that he has learned Django’s lesson not only for the guitar and the repertoire, but above all in the dialogue between originality and belonging that had made of the master the great idol of generations of European, non academic musicians.

So far Maurizio Geri has released five critically acclaimed albumss. His musical approach is passionate and free, strict but open for innovation. Django’s heritage is presented in the disguise of Jazz, dance music and und improvisation, very European but at the same time full of respect for the Italian singer-songwriter tradition and Maurizio’s first musical love, the folk tunes of his native Tuscany.


Line up

Maurizio Geri – vocals, guitar
Luca Giovacchini – guitar
Michele Marini – clarinet
Giacomo Tosti „Giacobazzi“ – accordion, piano
Nicola Vernuccio – double bass

Discography

2015 Swing a Sud
2012 Tito Tariero
2007 Ancora Un Ballo
2002 A Cielo Aperto
1996 Manouche et Dintorni


Presse

“Light and mediterranean Gypsy Swing…fiery, tender and at moments wonderfully sentimental.”
Folker, DE

“The music is nostalgic in a charming way and sounds enjoyably old-fashioned…. Maybe Django Reinhardt would sound like this today.”
Folkworld (DE)

“Maurizio Geri is a refined and sensitive guitarist – his elegant phrasing combines poetry and musicality, he is never too restrained or outré, his notes always make sense…. a lesson for all Django apprentices.”
Djangostation (FR)