Wednesday, 28 September 2011

SICILIA

It’s time now to challenge Scylla and Charybdis crossing the Strait of Messina. We begin in this way our visit to SICILIA, an island and an autonomous region of Italy. First we visit the city of MESSINA, where William Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing is set. Here we can listen to Addamanera (MySpace), a band that blends folk and psychedelia in an original way, then to the solo project of Antonino Rampulla (MySpace), to the young Moon Fire (MySpace) and to some post rock bands such as Denied Light (MySpace) and The Morning Light (MySpace). Not far from Messina lies the town of Milazzo home to Taberna Mylaensis (MySpace), a band that should be of interest to folk prog lovers and active since 1975.


Then we head south along the coast until we arrive at the small town of Santa Teresa di Riva, near the beautiful ancient town of Taormina, where we can listen to Conqueror (MySpace), an excellent contemporary prog band that in 2010 released a beautiful concept album, Madame Zelle, inspired by the adventurous life of a woman called Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, also known as Mata Hari.


Still heading south, we pass through the town of Acireale, almost at the foot of Mount Etna, where an interesting emerging band called Mechanical Butterfly (Facebook) come from. In another town near the volcano, Belpasso, we can listen to an excellent band called Malibran (MySpace). Malibran began life in 1987 and in 2010 they released a very good new album entitled Trasparenze.


Next stop is CATANIA, the birthplace of opera composer Vincenzo Bellini. This is where prog artists and bands as Franco Battiato (Official Website), the neo prog Edith (MySpace) and the emerging Bill In The Tea (MySpace) come from. Still heading south we pass through SIRACUSA, a city founded by the ancient Greeks and rich in history. Its most famous character is the inventor Archimedes. Here we can listen to a particular, theatrical “folk metal” band called Fiaba (MySpace).


Then, heading south west we reach RAGUSA, the ancient Hybla Heraea, where we can listen to Randone (MySpace), an excellent band that in 2006 released an amazing concept album inspired by the history of this city, Hybla Act I. Our next halt is in the nearby town of Modica, in the Hyblaean Mountains, where we find an interesting folk prog band formed in 1994, Mas-Nada (MySpace).


We head north west now directed to the heart of Sicily, to CALTANISSETTA, where we find an emerging prog band called Neamatis (MySpace) while in the nearby small town of Mazzarino we can listen to Viola Drunken (MySpace), a band that blends hard rock and psychedelia with Italian “canzone d’autore” and touches of seventies prog. Their second album was released in 2009 and it’s a conceptual one, Di fate e streghe (Of Fairies and Witches).


Then we set our course south west, to AGRIGENTO, best known for an archaeological site, the Valle dei Templi, which inspired an album by prog jazz band Perigeo, La Valle dei Templi, featuring a beautiful art cover. This area, in the imaginary city of Vigata, is the setting for the crime stories of Commissario Montalbano, a character created by the famous Italian writer Andrea Camilleri. This is where a dark and “catacombal” prog project called Ultima Missa (MySpace) come from.


We head north west now, to the seaport town of Marsala, a place usually associated with Giuseppe Garibaldi and his Expedition of the Thousand and best known for its Marsala wine. The town is home to two prog bands, Braindead and Il Castello delle Uova (MySpace), while in the nearby city of TRAPANI we find a prog project called TP Overdrive (MySpace) and Un Certo Jhò (Facebook). Then we head east and conclude our visit to Sicily in its capital, PALERMO. In the seventies the city gave us Era di Acquario while today here we can listen to two very interesting contemporary prog bands, Bright Horizon (Facebook) and Coral Caves (MySpace). Worthy of mention are also the Canterbury inspired Homunuculus Res (Facebook) and the young Indicative (MySpace).