Saturday, 24 September 2011

LIGURIA (part 1)

Probably the best departure point for a journey through the current Italian prog scene is GENOA. Genoa, the capital of the Italian region LIGURIA, also known as the city of the Lanterna because its lighthouse is one of the landmark of the city, is not only the place of birth of Christopher Columbus and of violin virtuoso and composer Niccolò Paganini but also the home city of many prog bands. The best known are I New Trolls (Official Netclub) who started their career in 1966 influenced by beat and psychedelia. In 1967 on their debut album Senza orario, senza bandiera, which is usually considered the first Italian concept album, they collaborated with two other great artists from Genoa, singer-songwriter Fabrizio De Andrè and composer and producer Gian Piero Reverberi. In 1971 they turned to progressive rock and later to pop.

Nowadays I New Trolls continue to keep alive their repertoire with excellent live performances even if they have now split into two branches with old and younger members playing in two different line-ups. The first one is La Leggenda dei New Trolls (Official Website), featuring founder members Vittorio De Scalzi and Nico Di Palo, who in 2007 released an interesting new album with an orchestra, Concerto Grosso, The Seven Seasons.

In 2011 historic New Trolls members Gianni Belleno and Giorgio D’Adamo joined La Leggenda dei New Trolls with the aim to work on a new “Concerto Grosso” with composer Luis Bacalov. Concerto Grosso N. 3 was released in 2013 but after the recording sessions Giorgio D'Adamo and Gianni Belleno left the band while Nico Di Palo and Vittorio De Scalzi went on under the name La Storia dei New Trolls (Facebook).

The other branch is Il Mito dei New Trolls (Facebook), featuring historic members as Ricky Belloni and Giorgio Usai, more focused on the pop side of I New Trolls’ repertoire although on stage they also perform pieces from the progressive period of the band. Well, the history of I New Trolls is rather complex. In 1973, after the first New Trolls split up, former members of the band formed three new different groups: New Trolls Atomic System, Ibis and Tritons. In 2008 Maurizio Salvi, former member of I New Trolls and Ibis, tried to bring back to life one of these offshoots with a new line-up under the name Ibis Prog Machine (MySpace) while in 2011 he teamed up with Gianni Belleno and formed Uno Tempore to revive the prog soul of I New Trolls. In 2013 they released an album titled Do Ut Des under the name UT New Trolls (Official Website).

I New Trolls are not the only prog band from this city formed in the late sixties and early seventies still in activity. Delirium (Facebook) are alive and kicking too and in 2009 they released an excellent brand new album called Il nome del vento. By the way, former member of Delirium Ivano Fossati (Official Website) after leaving the band started a successful solo career and is now one of the most appreciated Italian singer-songwriters.

Another historic band in activity are Latte e Miele (Facebook) that reunited in 2008 for an international tour, a live record and new projects. Nuova Idea are back too on the initiative of drummer Paolo Siani who in 2010 gathered around him other old members of the band and some friends for a new album on Black Widow Records, Castles, Wings, Stories and Dreams featuring old stuff rearranged and some new tracks. The name of this project is Paolo Siani and friends featuring Nuova Idea (Official Website).

Other bands that were formed in Genoa during the seventies and that recently came back to life are Picchio dal Pozzo (Official Website), Osage Tribe (Facebook) and Garybaldi (Facebook). Historic names from the seventies progressive rock scene from Genoa are also Gleemen, Bambibanda e Melodie, J.E.T., Duello Madre and La Famiglia degli Ortega. They’re not active any more, but you never know!