AN IDEA, ONE FESTIVAL
The idea of having Italian and internationally-known artists in the many a square of the Province of Pisa: fully-talented artists, very often with no links with the records market, meet on the same stage valuable local musicians. The idea of a blueprint of concerts that are not only culture, entertainment, and publicity of local resorts for touristic interest; they are all of them together.
A very simple idea, indeed, but ver hard to be made. The belief of an agency with a hundred of associates (getting bigger from day to day) shared by the Local Councils Authorities, by the Province administrators, by some privately-run organisations and sponsors, and, above all, by musicans and technicians, have made this idea be true and the Festival be on.
“Musicastrada Festival” began six years ago in Pontedera; it had the partnership of five, then seven, now eighteen Local Councils ! From Valdera, Valdicecina, Lower Valdarno. They are areas in which there is still much to be discovered, landscapes, natural sites, history, for the residents too. Music is just another further step forward.
“Union makes people stronger”, thus, in a seriously difficult economic period as the one we are experiencing now, we are able to plan a festival in which it is embarassing to recommend a single event.
The programme of this year’s edition is really exciting and complete, even if we keep on steady aiming at the original objective with the music genres we love: folk, jazz, blues, ehtnic, and contaminations.
From the solo performing to the big bands, all the performers in agenda, we believe, have something to say which is never ordinary, definetely enjoyable. Each musician will have the task to involve the audience with their concerts in the small squares of old village centres, places with notable, highly-historical, scenographic features in a direct contact with the people who will be able to feel the “breath” of the artists. We ask you a careful reading of the “Musicastrada” 6th Edition programme and eventually join us at the festival concerts, which are totally free; and that is rare nowadays !
This year, the festival is dedicated to Jimmy Smith, Jim Capaldi and Atul Prasad Gautam, three wonderful musicians who have recently died.
CONCERTS AND EVENTS PROGRAMM
In the last decade this saxophonist, composer and arranger has established a commanding presence in the jazz idiom. His work gracefully erases the borders between fields of music. In 2002 he was recognized in Downbeat Magazine’s 50th Annual Critics Poll TDWR (Talent Deserving Wider Recognition) categories for tenor sax, soprano sax and jazz artist of the year. He was also sighted as a “new jazz star” in the July issue of US World News Report.
Michael’s tenure with John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards spans over a decade and includes numerous record dates, TV appearances, a live concert film from Berlin and film soundtracks like the Grammy nominated score for Get Shorty. Blake was co-founder of Slow Poke, a band including world-renowned slide guitarist David Tronzo, bassist/guitarist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen. Their meeting on a summer afternoon in Brooklyn brought forth a CD, Slow Poke at Home. Their debut label release Redemption is a sublime journey by one of NYC’s coolest bands.
Our partnership with “Club Europe” (an English Agency) is still on. A young big band (50 bandplayers!!!) are playing evergreens, from the great jazz and pop hits to film soundtracks.
Paolo Amulfi, born in Florence, started studying the guitar at the age of 10, then he devoted to rock and blues guitar hits. From 1987 to 1993, he was a teacher of electric guitar at the “Lizard School” in Fiesole, lecturing in rock and blues. In 1994 he formed “The Blues Power Band” and performed in clubs and festivals, particularly in Northern Europe. He displayed his great guitar-skill by playing tunes of top artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton. He also edited three methods for guitar playing for Berben Co.: “The Electic Blues”, “Classic Sound” and “Rhythmic Guitar”. For many years he has worked a studio musician playing in records, soundtracks, and tours of famous Italian artists: Anna Oxa, Gianni Morandi, Marco Masini, Maurizio Vandelli, Federico Salvatore, Marco Baroni……..His recent coming back to his true first love, rock-blues, is a great news for guitar-playing, guitarists, and the fans of one of the most influential music of the previous century. He has recently recorded his first CD with original compositions.
The “Maggiaioli di Bagnolo” (a small country village in the province of Prato) are a group of 20 musicians, authentic researcher of the traditions of Tuscan folk music, orally handed over from the rural countryside (The word “Maggiaioli” comes from “Cantamaggio”, an old tradition of vocal groups from Maremma). The group is composed by one guitar, 2 accordions, drums, a not-well defined instrument called “Harp with bells” and a chorus of 14 elements (7 women, 7 men). A tradition, Tuscan folk music, kept alive thanks to this kind of groups. Highly recommended!!!
An unusual combo band (double bass, vocals and guitars) in which three promising musicians (a kept promise!) of Italian Jazz trace back to the history of modern music, with original compositions, and from the American Songbook (“Summertime”), Rock (“My Generation”, “Message in a Bottle”, “Smoke on the Water”) up to the South-American (“Insensatez”), on the leadership of Giulio Stracciati (defined by Ralph Towner, in “Downbeat”, as “one of the most interesting Italian guitarists”) who plays electric and acoustic guitar, and bouzouki !!! Together with Michela Lombardi, vocalist and songwriter with a sensibility and a Joni Mitchell’s vocal timbre is able to to take on Aretha Franklin’s soul shades and Bonnie Raitt’s bluesy style.
Her philosophy in the selection of the repertoire is, instead, Cassandra Wilson’s tunes; first choice for melodies and texts beyond the integralism of genres and visrtuosity. Faithful to Massimo Urbani’s saying: “Avantgarde is feelings”
And, eventually, the rhythmic precision of Silvia Bolognesi, double bass player from Siena, new highly-appreciated talent of the Italian jazz music. She is a teacher at the prestigious institute “Siena Jazz” and also gigs with Pietro Tonolo and Stefano Cantini.
Sugar Ray Norcia has been a successful artist since the first half of the ‘70s. In 1979, with one of the greatest blues guitarist, Ronnie Earl, formed the amazing band, “Sugar Ray and The Bluetones”.
His sincere personality and his deeply-rooted vocal qualities have affected his artistic training and made his voice come out as an incredible mix of Chicago Blues-Soul-Swing-R&B-R&R-Country styles .
Sugar Ray’s voice has clear, hot, rich tones that make his phrasing be so natural and become simple the most difficult tunes. In September 1991, Sugar Ray joined “The Roomful of Blues”, with whom he toured around the world as a front-man performing more than 200 concerts a year.
“The Rico Blues Combo” are worth having a special mention. They are one the oldest and most long-life bands in Italy. By counting the miles driven from one to the other side around Italy, the total amount corresponds to some world travels.
They have made three albums (“White Whiskey”, in 1997, best CD of the year for the critics, “Sleepy Town” in 1999, which opened them the doors of Europe, and “Live at Murphy’s” in 2002) and many European tours. From the very beginning they have got on well both on the human and musical side with Sugar Ray, since their European tour in Summer 2004; everything is ready to melt the musical heritage of Afro-American to Italian origins of the bandmembers; Norcia included.
An event open to everybody ! Ordinary listeners, fans, and musicians. Three of the best performers of their instruments, will gig in Pontedera for their new tour.
Michael Manring: a virtuous performer of the electric bass, a notable heir to Jaco Pastorius, a true experimentalist of the fretless bass (with no keys), the one who has introduced a new set of bass tunings. He was appointed to the Grammy Award.
Paolo Giordano, an acrobatic acoustic guitar-player, his talent is soon noticed; in the 1990s, he was a bandmember of Lucio Dalla’s “Cambio” tour (Dalla, then, defined Paolo “one of the best European guitarists) and recorded in Biagio Antoniacci’s “Il Mucchio”. He also performed in the International Guitar Master of Turin, with Pete Seeger and Egberto Gismonti, Albert King, Leo Kottke, and many more, and the festival “Time Zones” in Bari with Ralph Towner.
Paolo’s music, also influenced by his classical studies, goes beyond the former sources of inspiration even if they can be easily traced back in soft melodies and evoked images. His extraordinary technique, which has aroused the appreciation of the gotha of international music critics, is never for its own sake, instead it is functional to feelings and emotions that Paolo wants to communicate.
Jacqueline Perkins is a singer born in South Carolina (U.S.A.). Her mother was a piano player, her father played the trombone, her sister is a refined violinist. At the age of nine she started playing the piano, at 11 the guitar, the following year the viola.
At 18 she attended university and started singing; she got a degree in Languages and Singing. A Rotary Foundation Grant allowed her to come to Italy, firstly in Siena and in Rome, where she studied the Opera singing, then in Perugia, and eventually in Parma where she has lived since 1995.
From the mists of the melancholic and fertile Padana Plains, Italy calls for Europe. From unexpected distances, precise echoes come back; they tell about other peoples, plains, feelings. The long journey of this trio starts from the Eastern-European sound that, growing and moving as a second skin, at each step renews its stylistic blend, from the exotic suggestions to unique feature. During its journey, horizons widen, take on new influences on the way, update with tasty flavours, rich creative energies. Through centuries, they run after the routes of the great human movings, the pilgrims’ roads or the transhumance, the headlong roads to escape – deportations, Biblical exodus, bivouacs – the free paths of nomadic coaches, or old theatre companies – packed earth, tower-rounded towns, dances on country barnyards – and the slow folk trails for new lives, cattle carts, steamships…From the hat of our three illusionists, waterfall quotations come out, so that we can realise that everything was already on the air, the sunny Mediterranean mix, the Balkanic flavours, the chilly tastes from overseas, meet with a gypsy temper, the Northern sources tie up to gaudy tarantellas; the beautiful Italian tune gets back its more inspired dimension. We too, by chance, feel our shoes well-set to the ground. We are surprised to listen to their proposals which we did not know we wanted some flavours of Italy in the 60’s, some amazing feelings of village carousels; and then duck skins, and shivering hairs, and desire to listen again as we have found out that we had already listend to them, long-before having ever done it.
After the “dazzling” meeting of last year that (with the help of the good Tuscan cuisine, a couple of glasses of red wine…), thanks to Tagete Edizioni it has become true a book dedicated to his life (“A Life in Swing”). Our friend Gianni will gig with his trio. During the performance, his book will be on sale.
Gianni Cazzola is a real myth of jazz drumming, and in fact he has been considered, for over 40 years, one of the most talented Italian drummers. In his long and brilliant career he has played with many of the most famous Italian and international jazz muscians: Lee Konitz, Gerry Mulligan, Bob Berg, Tommy Flanagan, Phil Woods, Ray Brown, Steve Grossman, Steve Lacy, Billie Hiolliday, Paolo Fresu, Massimo Urbani, Sarah Vaughan, Eddie Gomez, Chet Baker…
Alexian, real name Santino Spinelli, is a gypsy rom who lives in Lanciano in the Abruzzi. During his career he has performed in Italy and abroad. He has recorded 4 instrumental and voice albums . He has been in many radio and TV programs on local and national radio stations. Many regional and national papers and magazines have published articles on him. He has given lectures in international meetings on the problems of the Rom community. On July 21, 2001, he was elected, the only Italian, to the Parliament of the Interantional Romani Union (I.R.U.). On July 10, 2003, he was appointed as its Vice-President. He has obtained important awards for his literary activity. From April 4, 2002 he has been professor of Language and Culture of The Romani People at the University of Trieste, in the Faculty of “Lettere e Filosofia”.
He was also appointed as the World Ambassador of the Romani Arts and Culture, and Commissioner for Foreign Affairs.
These two virtuosi of guitar and fiddle like to do their own thing, when they’re not earning their crusts in big bands, jazz-rock, pop and soul gigs and the likes of Whippersnapper and the Albion Band. Joe has been playing since he was in the pram and has a PhD in circus skills and mad banter. Kevin has been around a bit longer and has played a few more notes. Musically they’re tighter than two coats of paint. Expect anything!
As it happened in 2004, our agency sets up tours of great international artists. In fact, after last year’s incredible trio, “The Sukarma” (Nepal), this year we are offering another great event, a real amazing show with wonderful artists at available costs.
Antonio Breschi, a piano player and and a composer, born in Florentine, but adopted -Irish, internationally-known as the inventor of the Celtic piano playing, the first musician to introduce the piano in flamenco music. And Gabin Dabirè, born in Burkina Faso, a cosmopolitan polinstrumentalist, who has already worked with Antonio Breschi in different projects, in a twisting sound going beyond cultural, social, and geographic barriers.
Two authentic musicians (not just players mastering a great instrumental technique) who are able to talk and tell stories of these world throu piano, guitar, voice and any other device…
He is a worldly-known harpist who has performed with Franco Battiato, Rossana Casale, Alice, Ivano Fossati, Teresa De Sio, Lou Dalfin, Franco Mussidda, The Gang, Claudio Rocchi, Armando Corsi, Carlos Nunez, Paolino Della Porta, Alan Stivell. In 1980 he set up his duo, Celtic Harp and Oboe, with Roberto Mazza. In June 1996 he worked for the collective creation of four chord instruments commissioned by the Museum of Concrete Arts of Mouas Sartoux (France) with the double bass player Barre Phillips, Patrick Vaillant (mandolin) and Serge Pesce. His music, so unique and magic, represents an imaginary universe which passes through us every day, our own tunes which, only for few moments, seem to be untold.
Marco Chiavistelli is a songwriter who has been performing since 1973. He got reviews in the most important Italian music magazines (“Buscadero”, “Il Mucchio Selvaggio”). He has a personal music style which is not limited to the typical Italian-songwriting styles. He writes highly-committed and sympathetic texts to the “Third World” and Africa, whose history is an expert, against wars, poverty, without using ideological schemes, but a visionary and subjective language.
With influences from Segovia to Mississippi John Hurt, Ed has created his own “guitar voice”, well-known and worldly-famous. The depth of his compositions may give emotions to the listeners just with a note. Scott Alarik of “The Boston Globe”, explains it very well by writing: “Gerhard does not write instumental songs. He only writes songs which only a guitar can sing”. What distinguishes Ed’s music is his invention in the use of open tunings, which allow him a wide range of shades in a composition. His guitar virtousity, 6 or 12 chords, or Hawaiian Lap Steel, is always servicing beauty. He is in all the most important record collections for acoustic guitar, in videos or music scores. “The Breedlove Guitars Co.” have recently made a model guitar designed by Ed Gerhard, highly-demanded and a winner of “The Players’ Choice Award” of “Acoust Guitar Magazine”.
The musical route of Alta Madera is a “journey” starting from the Cuban tradition, to Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, ending up to Hispanic roots. The strong acoustic impact and the jazz language link their music experience to a direction that could be called “Acoustic Latin Jazz”. The typical sound of Alta Madera feature the lack of Latin Sound percussions, susbstituted by arrangements based on a rhythmic idea. The “journey” of Alta Madera moves through original compositions, filtereed with the artistic temper of the musicians; particularly Cuba, the native land of the violinist Rubèn Chaviano, but also the experience of the other musicians, Mino Cavallo and Filippo Pedol, who, even if from another land, they work together for a unique research: Latin Sound.
Eclectic musician, poli-instrumentalist, she composes and arranges, the music for her performances and for ambitious bands, orchestra and choirs. Born in Luxemburg, she studied the sax, specialising in Italy with Luca di Volo, crafty and all-round musician, with whom she worked in a duo for a decade, playing in Europe and making 4 CDs. She taught the sax for 7 years at the Music School of Fiesole. She attended drama workshops, jazz courses, seminars for singing, taking parts in compositions and arrangements for their shows, with orchestras and choirs. In recent years she studied other instruments and the use of the voice with different approaches and techniques. Eventually she has become more refined and powerful. For about two years, she has also been performing solo and playing the traditional tunes of nomadic peoples, her starting point for creating a new music of her own music which she is able to play with an extraordinary sensibility.
The Florentine Jacopo Martini is an extraordinary guitar-player who can play any style. Quite recently, after a long career in different modern jazz bands, he has devoted to perform manouche music. From these expererinces it came up the idea of reproducing Django Reinhardt’s music, using original tunes and a language influenced by his jazz background. Nico Gori is a famous Ialian jazz player (winner to “The Massimo Urbani Prize Award” in 2000) mediates the lexicon sweetening the lines of the strong swing sound. The quartet performs an unusual repertoire from Djiango Reinhardt’s tunes, Emile Stern’s, Leiber & Stoller’s, Cole Porter’s, Robert Kascher’s, Duke Ellington’s, the French Musette up to Martini’s original compositions.
The band’s name comes from a famous bolero of the 1930’s. It is composed by two guitar-players, Francesco Birardi and Gianni Biondi, Paolo Casu (percussions), and Sandrito Garbey (trumpet). They have a melodious mix of the voices and instruments, trying to ricreate the deep-feeling atmospheres of the bolero, son, and traditional Cuban music, particularly “Vieja Trova”, Compay Segundo’s and Buenavista Social Club’s style. Faitheful perfomers of this traditional music, “The Perfidia Quartet” is now famous as one of the best bands in the international music scene. Their music program ranges from classic boleros as “Reloj”, “Besame mucho”, “Dos Gardenias”, “Lacrimas negras”, to the Romantic themes and the “son” of the Old Cuba, up to more moving and catching tunes as “Candela”, “La Negra Tomasa”, “Moliendo Café”, “Maria Cristina”, “El quarto de Tula” and “Corazon Espinado”. Recently it has been recorded their first CD, “Cubanenado”, featuring their best hits.
An instrumental fusion of traditional instruments played in a contemporary style. The Appalachian Dulcimer, played through digital effects, creates an evocative soundscape that is enhanced through the use of a technique known as ‘two hand tapping’. This is combined with the spirited percussive rhythms of the West African Djembe, and the haunting vibrations of the Australia Didgeridoo. James and Melissa have been performing together internationally for the last eight years. A dynamic union of lilting melodies, resonant tones, and earthy beats that is truely a transcendent auditory experience. James originally hails from Ireland, but had a calling some thirteen years ago to travel and experience a little of what is out there. He now resides in Western Australia, where he originally met his partner in crime Melissa. James has been playing and performing in many different musical outfits and guises over nearly the past two decades.
Here he plays appalachian dulcimer and didgeridoo. Melissa is from Perth, Western Australia. She was drawn to percussion, and in particular the djembe, with its crisp dynamic and varied tone. Melissa has been involved in performance since the early nineties, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts at Murdoch University in Perth. Since graduating, she has been traveling and performing in Laliya.
The Tuscae Gentes Ensemble was born in 1992 from an idea of Daniele Poli. It is composed by musicians coming from different music experiences, both in Italy and abroad, in classical music and other musical genres. The name of the group is the key for favouring the meeting of these artists, that is the shared interested for Antique, Medieval, Renaissance music, performed on original instruments, often hand-made, and for Tuscan folk music, coupling the work of composition and performance, studies e research.
The turning point in the production of the band is the CD from the show “When The Blackberry Sings”, with songs and tunes from the seasonal migrations in Tuscany, from the Appennines and Corsica to Maremma; a very careful research, a retrieval, and a proposal of Tuscan folklore which has been acclaimed successfully both by critics and the audience. In the very last months: “Festival Tradizioni ed Oltre” in Pistoia, “Il giorno di Giovanna” at the G. Daffini Prize 2003 (won by Daniele Poli), radio emissions on “Notturno Italiano” on Radio Rai-International, live on Rai Radio 3, Radiotresuite, “Festival della Val d’Orcia”, festival of the percussions and many TV programs. In 2003 Daniele Poli and the Tuscae Gentes received the Montalcino Prize for the diffusion of traditional Tuscan folk music.
Sam Paglia is a leading figure of the exotic scene in Italy, that links the cult for film soundtracks and a well-defined trend for Beat and Lysergical sounds of the ‘Sixties”. He is able to mix a proper irony of soul, jazz and bossa nova. Sam may be defined the hero of a musical genre which is very next to Quincy Jones’s soundtracks, Billy Preston’s soul, Piero Piccioni’s Italian-made swing. The brand, “Godfather of Lounge”, truly fits him perfectly. His products are full of jazzy atmospheres in which the typical sound of the Hammond organ is used as an amazing machine of sound quotations, devoids of the dusty patches of past decades to be regenerated as a source for night shivers for new generations. Sam Paglia has recorded two albums for “Irma Records” with a good success both for critics and sales. Humour in his music makes Sam Paglia an incredibly-gifted musician and performer. Humour makes again and again the atmospheres of French Riviera nights transforming them in short film sequences in the cellar or alternating them to fragments of vague hints of cartoons. Having spent some of pass years in England as a cartoonist and being a great fan of Alberto Sordi’s comic style, Sam Paglia gives way to his musical imagination in reconstructing and quoting old sounds that are still alive. Sam now performs with a great Jazz singer, Sandrs Cartolari, a unique talented performer in the limited Italian singing scene whose strong personality makes up rare passions for vocal chords.
The Oriental dances are proposed in a special version, open to musical influences from the Mediterranea area of distant cultures, with the musicians, Paolo Casu, Luz Pierotto, Paolo Rafanelli and the dancer Ivana Caffarati. The band was formed in 2002. It performs original tunes, traditional and contemporary motives, and Oriental dances. The proposal is new and open to the influences of the Mediterranean area, and far distant countries. Their musical research tries to collect the suggestions of different traditions and intergrate them with the musical experiences which belong to the background of the bandmembers. They rielaborate traditional and modern tunes and rhythms, fragments and melodies with original compositions, both for dancing and listening. The coereographies interact with the arrangements of the tunes creating a show for a great visual and emotional impact, thanks to the costumes of the scenes which are personally designed by the dancer herself.
“The Chicago Blue Revue” was formed in November 1997. The band performs an electrifying mix of sounds and music inspired by a true Chicago Style of the ‘50s and Californian R&B vintage enriched with swing and R&R riffs. It is the first Italian band to perform in concert the blues style festival fashionable in the ‘50s and the ‘60s. Originality and freshness are the key-points of their performances.