Saturday, 19 January 2013

LANGUAGES AND SOUNDS

Rêverie began life in Milan in 1996 on the initiative of composer and guitarist Valerio Vado with the aim of performing an original “ethnic-progressive” music inspired by European and Mediterranean culture, a mix of traditional Italian Renaissance and Baroque music with up to date sounds. After three interesting demos and a good live activity, in 2008 Rêverie finally released a self-produced debut album titled “Shakespeare, la donna, il sogno” with a line up featuring Valerio Vado (guitars, keyboards, backing vocals), Fanny Fortunati (vocals, percussion), Fulvia Borini (flute, mandolin), Alberto Sozzi (clarinet, keyboards, banjo, flute), Daniele Defranchis (guitars) and Mariella Mancuso (cello). 
 
Reverie 2007

Most of the pieces on “Shakespeare, la donna, il sogno” (Shakespeare, the woman, the dream) come from the soundtrack for a theatre play of the same name written by Stefania Amato, Fanny Fortunati, Valerio Vado and Mariangela Zabatino. The play is set in Elsinore, in Denmark, where a company of musicians perform music from the Renaissance. At a given moment one of the musicians, by accident, evokes the spirit of Yorick, a joker at the ancient court of Elsinore, who comes to life again and tries to bring back to life also a “dark lady” lost in his memory. To do so he tries to remember his beloved woman through the verses of Shakespeare... Well, the soundtrack for this play features some English traditional tunes from the XVI-XVII centuries revised and arranged by the band and some original tracks in the same style. The overall sound is prevalently acoustic and if you like bands and artists such as Amazing Blondel or the Italian minstrel Angelo Branduardi I'm sure you'll like this album as well! 
 

The short instrumental opener “Willson's Wilde” sets the atmosphere followed by “Sonetto 18” and “Sonetto 8”. The English lyrics, as you can guess, are taken from Shakespeare's sonnets and interpreted by Fanny Fortunati's delicate vocals... “Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly? Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...”. Another nice short instrumental, “A Toy”, leads to two more sonnets, “Sonetto 47” and “Sonetto 147”, then the instrumental “Passamezzo antico” introduces the last two tracks taken from the play, “O Mistress Mine” and “Sonetto 130”. 


The album features two more tracks not related with the play, “Plurestantay memoroj” and "Kiam alvenos la fino”, sung in Esperanto and credited as bonus tracks. The atmosphere of the last two tracks is different from that of the previous ones and they sound a bit like fillers here, even if they do not waste the final result.

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In 2011 Rêverie released on the independent label Downbridge Publishing their best work so far, “Revado”, with a line up featuring Valerio Vado (guitars, keyboards, backing vocals), Fanny Fortunati (vocals, percussion), Fulvia Borini (flute, mandolin), Alberto Sozzi (clarinet, keyboards, didjeridoo), Daniele Defranchis (guitars, bass) and Laura Balbinot (cello). The overall sound here is richer than on the previous work and the result of the recording sessions is a well balanced mix of influences ranging from classical music to prog, from folk to Kosmische music. “Revado” was released as a double album with a first disc sung in Esperanto and a second disc featuring the Italian version of the same pieces. The lyrics in Esperanto were written by Andrea Fontana and in my opinion the band managed to explore the sound of this particular language in a very effective way. The Italian version of the same pieces allows an interesting comparison with the sound of the Italian language while in the booklet you can find also a translation of all the lyrics from Esperanto into English checked by the London Esperanto Club. 
 
Reverie 2011

The opener “La tradezerta komercisto / Il mercante del deserto” (Trader across the desert) takes you on a long journey through hot, exotic landscapes following the tracks of timeless merchants and travellers... “All around, a world of waves / The winding caravan creeps along the dune-edge / Wind burning on my face / No rocks here / But in the heart appears a stony will to live / Burnished by the sand...”. The music is evocative and full of warm colours, ethnic and classical instruments embroider flying carpets of notes as the soaring vocals lead the way. When you finally reach an oasis you can get lost in your dreams under a shady palm while time begins to slip from your hands as if it was sand in an hourglass.

The ethereal “Kiam alvenos la fino / Quando verrà la fine” ( When the end comes) is melodic and dreamy. This piece was included in the previous album and here you can find it in a new, improved version. The lyrics depict Death not as the end of your life but as the beginning of a something new, still unknown... “When the End comes, it will be sweet like breath of wind on summer morning / The dear faces of my loved ones will slip away like fading dreams / And I shall be alone...”.

 
“Arkana belulino / La belle dame sans merci” (Arcane beauty) is darker and features electric guitar solo passages, lively percussion patterns, mellotron touches and a mysterious atmosphere. The lyrics depict a strange love story between a man and a beautiful dancer, a dangerous woman with a magic smile... “You have entered my life on the waves of mystery / And now I remember no more whether ever I knew your hidden origin...”. Once the man is under the spell of the woman he has no escape, the beautiful creature is biding her time, ready to strike... “Now you kiss my neck with unhesitating force / See, a stage exit / A life cut short by bites...”.


“Plurmiljaraj knaboj / Ragazzi millenari” (Boys across millennia) has a strong Mediterranean flavour and tells the story of two boys, Ishmael and Isaac, two brothers separated by a wall that prevent them from understand each other. It's a metaphorical way to depict the never ending conflict between Israel and Palestine... “Our brotherhood is shattered thanks to despair / I so wish that he would call me... But these calls cannot be, because of the wall...”.

“Danco de l' maro / Danza del mare” (Dance of the sea) begins softly, with the sound of the waves in the background and beautiful vocals soaring from the sea... “From a dark wave of the sea / Suddenly flickers like a tinkling bell / The light of the free spirit with taste as bitter as sea...”. Then the rhythm takes off and you can set your thoughts free while dancing with the sea. This piece reminds me every now and again of Angelo Branduardi and blends in some way Renaissance classical music with touches of Latin folklore. 



“Plurestantaj momoroj / Via dei ricordi” (Lasting memories) is a new version of another track included in the previous album. An electric guitar solo, sound effects and an uneasy mood lead to melodic vocals that revive the memories of an old journey, precious pictures that can still fill your soul with warmth and make you hear the sound of the wind and an echo of forgotten voices... “Would the impressions leave some room where newly hope could grow? / Within the lasting memories, is there clue to the way ahead?...”.

“Koto kay lumo / Fango e luce” (Mud and light) is melancholic and dark. The music alternates acoustic and electric passages while the lyrics deal with the mysteries of our brain and some philosophical issues such as free will and knowledge. Maybe freedom is just a dream and the forces of Mother Nature are stronger than our will... “Even if I could foretell the workings of the brain by some mighty computer / Would that really mean that every choice of mine is just self-delusion?...”. 
 

“Pluvas rosmareno / Piove rosmarino” (Rosemary rain) is a dreamy, melodic love song where ancient myths and visions seem almost coming to life in a surreal, ethereal atmosphere and the borders between dream and reality are blurred... “No longer can frontiers mark difference between two mingled seas / Which through love and through divinity have become an Ocean...”. 
 
The long, complex “Silkovojo / Via della seta” (Silk road) is a suite divided into three parts. It describes in music and words a dreamy journey along the Silk Road, from Europe to the ancient city of Kashgar, in Western China... “Weighed down with dreams, I crossed the sea / And now I wander quietly among the dunes in a still atmosphere / This is my reality / Only such dreams light up life / Like lamps lighting us from within / To guide our wandering on the Earth...”. An excellent track!

The instrumental “Oceano / Oceano” (Ocean) concludes the album. It's an experimental, “cosmic” piece written and performed by Alberto Sozzi featuring about six minutes of sound effects and evocative clarinet lines. It adds more colours to a very interesting album that, according to the band, should be considered as a tribute to the eternal need of looking for new horizons.

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