Just on time for his upcoming 60th birthday on July 22, Riccardo Tesi has plenty of reasons to be happy: Italian ethnomusicologist Neri Pollastri has recently presented his biography UNA VITA A BOTTONI. Concerts and tours with his main projects Banditaliana, Bella Ciao and the accordion quintet Samuraï will lead the Tuscan accordion master all across Europe during the summer months. And the special birthday news is that Riccardo’s present success story Bella Ciao featuring Lucilla Galeazzi and Elena Ledda has been selected for a showcase at this years WOMEX in Santiago de Compostela. Auguri maestro!
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.
Solo Lucilla Galeazzi vocals & guitar
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
Allegria & Libertà Lucilla Galeazzi & vocal quartet Ialma (BE) – acc – perc
2015 Bella Ciao, Lucilla Galeazzi/Riccardo Tesi/Elena Ledda etc (Visage Music)
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)
„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!“
„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.“
And more good news from Freiburg: Also Riccardo Tesi and his Banditaliana have been selected for a showcase at the 2016 edition of the Kulturbörse. Auguri ragazzi!
The Portuguese vocal acrobat is currently venturing in new fields with the formation OGRE: Maria João’s new CD Plástico (release date D-A-CH on 04.09.2015, Espuma Preta / O-Tone Music / Edel Kultur) is a hybrid of jazz and electronics, leaving all musical genre boundaries behind. A sound between the digital and analog world, held together by an extraordinary voice.
The Italian keyboard wizard Riccardo Tesi brings the classics of the Italian folk revival to life with Bella Ciao (Visage Music) – in collaboration with the great Italian female voices of Lucilla Galeazzi, Elena Ledda and Ginevra di Marco.
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.
Jérôme Casalonga – composition, vocals, sax, clarinet
Laurent Barbolosi – violin, trumpet, vocals
Jérémy Lohier – accordion, vocals
Marco Tindiglia – guitar
Ricardo Barbera – bass
Francesco Petreni – drums
2012 Carnavale (Casa Editions)
2007 Camina (Casa Editions)
2004 Luna (Casa Editions)
1999 Lucia (Casa Editions)
1997 Zamballarana (Casa Editions)
“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
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
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)
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)
“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
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.
2015 Swing a Sud
2012 Tito Tariero
2007 Ancora Un Ballo
2002 A Cielo Aperto
1996 Manouche et Dintorni
“The music is nostalgic in a charming way and sounds enjoyably old-fashioned…. Maybe Django Reinhardt would sound like this today.”
Folkworld (D), 2015
“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 (F), 2012
50 Years Italian Folk Revival
Lucilla Galeazzi, Elena Ledda, Riccardo Tesi and others
BELLA CIAO is historically known as the show that marked the beginning of the Italian folk revival. It was the first of a series of didactic concerts created by the Nuovo Canzoniere Italiano, which brought the rich heritage of folk songs collected between 1954 and 1964 to a wider audience. From its very first performance in June 1964 at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, which aroused violent disputes, comes the work of all musicians who nowadays with great success bring Italian Folk music to stages all over the world.
Fifty years later the greatest show of the Italian folk revival has been rearranged with a formidable cast, consisting of some of the finest and most renowned Italian folk musicians of our time: Lucilla Galeazzi, Elena Ledda, Alessio Lega and others have come together to revive the old heritage with contemporary influences, directed and orchestrated by accordion player Riccardo Tesi, one of the most brilliant and rigorous protagonists of today’s world music scene.
Today, the old partisan and labourers’ songs of BELLA CIAO do not only retain all their expressive power, but they have acquired a new urgency in the globalized world for their values of liberty, peace and civil rights. BELLA CIAO is a lesson of democracy that directly originates from the people. A historical narration unravelling through music, sounds and words, carried by the most important voices of Italian social and political singing of the past 30 years.
Lucilla Galeazzi – vocals
Elena Ledda – vocals
Ginevra di Marco – vocals
Alessio Lega – vocals, guitar
Andrea Salvadori – guitar, arrangements
Gigi Biolcati – percussion, vocals
Riccardo Tesi – accordion, arrangements, musical direction
2015 Bella Ciao (Visage Music/Galileo MC)
“It’s always moving when musicians playing historical and well-defined traditional tunes are able to strike the same chord in everyone who’s listening to them, even if those listeners have different origins and cultures. … they unveiled a central page of the Italian folklore in front of the Womex audience, showing the imaginative drive which those songs still harbour.”
Rhythm Passport (UK), 2016
“The music creeps mercilessly under your skin as it did 50 years ago.”
Moors Magazine (NL), 2015
„While talks and acts of war multiply, this ‘lession in democracy from the bottom’ reminds us of what we need most: peace.”
Les Inrocks (FR), Dix Disques pour refaire l’Europe, 2015