Tuesday, 27 September 2011

TOSCANA (part 1)

And now we cross the northern part of the Apennine Mountains and go to TOSCANA and its capital FLORENCE, the cradle of Italian Renaissance. This is the city of artists and personalities such as Dante Alighieri, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Sandro Botticelli, Niccolò Machiavelli and Amerigo Vespucci just to name but a few. In the past this city gave us prog bands such as I Califfi, Campo di Marte, Sensations’ Fix, Bella Band, Triade, Standarte, Hopo, Chiave di Volta and Il Trono dei Ricordi. Campo di Marte’s leader Enrico Rosa (MySpace) is still active and every now and again he still performs the old tracks of the band, along with some new stuff. He also started a new jazz blues project called Link XII (MySpace).


Founder member of Il Trono dei Ricordi, Alessandro Lamuraglia (MySpace) now is a composer of soundtracks for cinema and TV commercials while his brother and co-founder of the band, Paolo Lamuraglia, started a prog folk project called Carmains Ensemble (MySpace). The best known contemporary prog band from Florence are Nuova Era (MySpace), formed in the eighties and kept alive by keyboardist and leader Walter Pini.


In Florence we can also listen to the Gothic prog Goad (Official Website), the dark, hard Sancta Sanctorum (MySpace) and Funeral Marmoori (Facebook), the psychedelic Alchemy Daze (Facebook) and London Underground (MySpace) and the folk oriented Bizantina (MySpace) whose repertoire features original tracks and traditional songs from the Mediterranean area re-arranged by the band. Bizantina’s latest work is a musical called Orlando tarantato, inspired by the pupi siciliani.


Other local bands that deserve mentioning are Le Porte Non Aperte (MySpace), L'Albero del Veleno (Reverbnation), Stazione Lumière (Facebook), Magredea (MySpace), Biofonia (MySpace), D.S.B. (MySpace), Enima (MySpace), Finister (Facebook), Etesii (MySpace), MotoreImmobile (MySpace), Seldon (MySpace), Merging Cluster (Facebook), Sunday Sheebs (MySpace), the experimental folk Gargamella (MySpace) and the psychedelic Ombra Esterna (MySpace).


But Toscana is not only Florence and in the other cities of the region we can find some interesting prog bands too. From Figline Valdarno come Basta! (Reverbnation) while another town near Florence, Sesto Fiorentino, is home to a heavy prog band called Juglans Regia (MySpace). Juglans Regia started their activity in 1992 as a metal band (under the name of Raising Fear) but their style changed over the years taking a more progressive direction. In 2008 they released Visioni parallele, their best work so far, featuring some guest musicians on keyboards and back vocals that helped to enrich the overall sound.


Heading west we pass through PRATO, home to the experimental Laboratorio del Sogno Lucido (MySpace), Orchestra d'Oblio (Facebook) and the psychedelic Raven Sad (MySpace). Then we go to PISTOIA where we can find some interesting prog folk bands such as L’Apprendista Bardo (MySpace) and Les Griotes (MySpace), then the young, interesting Intarsia, formerly known as Il Giardino del Mago (Facebook), the psychedelic La Favola di Esis (MySpace) and the melodic Fantasia Pura Italiana (MySpace). Pistoia also gave us the best known accordionist Riccardo Tesi who in tha past started a prog folk project called Ritmia. South of Pistoia lies Empoli where we find a promising band called Opra Mediterranea (MySpace).


Then we head north west and pass through the small town of Altopascio where we can listen to a young Christian metal influenced prog band called S91 (MySpace). Finally we reach LUCCA, birthplace of composers as Giacomo Puccini, Francesco Geminiani and Luigi Boccherini, where we can listen to a particular singer-songwriter who could be of some interest to prog fans, Emanuele Bavieri (MySpace).