Tuesday, 27 September 2011


And now we head south west, to CAMPANIA and its volcanic capital, NAPLES. The Music of Naples is famous all over the world, especially the Canzone Napoletana that has become a true genre of melodic song in itself. The city gave us prog artists and bands such as Cervello, Città Frontale, Uno, Nova, Fabio Celi e gli Infermieri, Gigi Pascal e la Pop Compagnia Meccanica, Luciano Cilio and Saint Just. Saint Just’s former member Jenny Sorrenti (Official Website) is still active and is trying to revive the band under the name Saint Just Again (MySpace). Other Saint Just former members Tito Rinesi (MySpace) and Toni Verde (MySpace) are active too as solo artists. In particular, Toni Verde is behind a new project that should be of interest to prog lovers, a rock opera called L’arca di giada. The debut show was scheduled in Rome on December 2, 2010. Jenny’s brother Alan Sorrenti (Official Website) is still active too but now he’s far from prog and he’s best known for his works as a pop singer.

The best known historic prog band from Naples are Osanna (Official Website), formed in the early seventies and still active with a renewed line-up led by founder member Lino Vairetti and in perfect shape on stage. In 2009 they released a new album, Prog Family featuring new arrangements of their old pieces with the help of David Jackson from Van Der Graaf Generator who appears as a special guest. Another Osanna former member, bassist Lello Brandi (MySpace) recently released an album featuring some blues oriented new tracks and some old Osanna pieces revisited.

Other Neapolitan bands from the seventies still active today are Il Balletto di Bronzo (MySpace), with a new line-up featuring their old keyboardist Gianni Leone, and Napoli Centrale, the band led by saxophonist James Senese (MySpace). By the way, for a short period the line-up of Napoli Centrale featured on bass Pino Daniele who is now one of the most famous Neapolitan artists.

The contemporary scene from Naples also features some very interesting new bands such as I Pennelli di Vermeer (MySpace), a band formed in 2003. All the members of the band were fond of painting, so they decided to call their project “I Pennlli di Vermeer” (that means Vermeer’s Brushes) in honour of the Dutch painter Vermeer (1632-1675). This passion for painting can also be found in their music, a wonderful patchwork of different influences and styles ranging from symphonic rock to ska, tango, baroque and nursery rhymes. La primavera dei sordi (The springtime of the deaf), their first full length album was released in 2008 on the independent label La Canzonetta and the result is excellent: the ten tracks were composed mixing together different colours like in painting, combining shadows and light with sarcasm and irony. The lyrics are full of double meanings and are often sung in a very particular, theatrical way.

Other interesting modern bands that deserve mentioning here are the aggressive Gecko’s Tear (MySpace), the Mediterranean flavoured Malaavia (MySpace), the symphonic Grimalkin (MySpace) and the excellent prog folk project of guitarist and composer Riccardo Prencipe called Corde Oblique (MySpace). Naples also gave us a metal influenced band called Presence and their vocalist and solo artist Sophya Baccini (MySpace). In 2009 Sophya Baccini released her first solo album, Aradia, featuring a long suite about the friendship between two women, Aradia and Elide, and its importance for the way of life and full self realisation of the protagonist Aradia.


Among the local emerging bands which also deserve a mention are Controtempo (MySpace), Gorgeous (MySpace), Zion (MySpace), Barnum's Freak (Facebook), the neo-prog VisionAir (MySpace), the jazz-rock Amigdala (Reverbnation) and the excellent folk jazz Slivovitz (MySpace) who in 2009 released a very good album on the American label MoonJune Records, Hubris. The nearby town of Marigliano is home to the metal influenced Nuova Ipotesi (MySpace), featuring female vocals and a lot of energy.

Heading south along the Tyrrhenian Sea coast we pass through the beautiful Amalfi Coast to reach our next stop, SALERNO, where we can listen to the solo project of Marco Grieco called Macromarco (MySpace) and to some emerging prog bands such as Goyah (MySpace), Camera Chiara (MySpace), Connie e le Visioni Sonore (Facebook) and another band called Lothlorien (MySpace) to not be confused with the band of the same name based in the Marche. In the surroundings we also find bands such as Indagini su un Cittadino al di Sopra di Ogni Sospetto (MySpace) and Borgo Antico Resurrection (Facebook), from AngriMobius Project (Facebook), from Sapri and Magni Animi Viri (MySpace), from Battipaglia. 

Heading north we go now to AVELLINO, in an area called Irpinia. Prog artists and bands such as Notturno Concertante (MySpace), Guernica (MySpace), Locus Amoenus (Facebook) and Oderigi Lusi (MySpace) come from here. For the next stage of our journey we head north west, to CASERTA, best known for its Royal Palace. Here we can listen to the psychedelic Psychopathic Romantics (MySpace) and to a young prog band called Agasias (MySpace) while the nearby town of Capua is home to another young emerging prog band called Dama del Lago (MySpace) that after a period of hard studio work managed to record an interesting debut album called “Echi d’acqua” (Echoes of water) under Creative Commons licence.

Heading east, we conclude our visit to Campania in BENEVENTO where we can listen to prog bands such as Algebra (MySpace), La Bottega del Tempo a Vapore (Facebook), The Echos (Reverbnation), Oniric (MySpace), La Rua Catalana (MySpace) and Potsdamer Platz (MySpace) and to the Mediterranean prog fusion of guitarist Gio’ Gentile (MySpace). Here there are also based the folk rock oriented Sancto Ianne (MySpace) and Enrico Falbo (MySpace), a multi-instrumentalist who recently released a debut self-produced solo album inspired by “elfish landscapes”, Canti Silvani, that should be of some interest to folk prog lovers. Enrico Falbo is also a member of a post rock band called Il Cielo di Bagdad (MySpace).