Monday, 26 September 2011

LOMBARDIA (part 4)

From Lecco, heading north east, we go now to SONDRIO, a town situated in Valtellina, in the heart of the Alps, which during the seventies gave us a band called La Pentola di Papin. Today it’s the time of the jazz-rock sound of Fetish Panda (MySpace) and of the young, promising The Cinema Show (Facebook), the latter from the near town of Tirano.

From Sondrio we head south to BERGAMO, the birthplace of the famous opera composer Gaetano Donizetti. Today in Bergamo opera and prog can merge with the operatic vocals of tenor Mauro Ghilardini and his prog opera project Minstrel (Official Website). In the past Bergamo gave us bands such as I Raminghi, Madrugada, Perdio and Mo.Do. Now we find bands such as the excellent La Torre dell’Alchimista (Official Website), Prowlers (MySpace) and Tilion (MySpace).

Prowlers’ and Tilion’s keyboardist Alfio Costa (MySpace) recently also started two side projects, one is the symphonic Colossus Project (MySpace) that in 2010 released a debut album on Musea Records while the other is the more experimental Daal (MySpace) featuring Roman drummer Davide Guidoni.

Bergamo is also home to two interesting folk rock bands, Lingalad (Official Website), a band inspired by the work of J.R.R. Tolkien who in 2010 released a good album on Lizard Records, La locanda del vento, and the folk-metal Folk Stone (MySpace). Other local bands that deserve mentioning in my opinion are Sandcastle (MySpace), Timeline (Facebook), Empyreum (MySpace), Heliantus (MySpace) and Darshan (MySpace).  

Not far from Bergamo lies BRESCIA, known as the “Leonessa d’Italia” (the Lioness of Italy) after ten days of popular uprising that took place in the city in the spring of 1849 against Austrian rule. From here in the seventies there came a band called Dalton. For prog lovers now Brescia is the city of bands such as Notabene (MySpace), Corte Aulica (MySpace) and other projects of drummer and composer Gustavo Pasini, such as Lithos and Alma Sideris (MySpace). When visiting Brescia, have a break and listen to some good music while having a drink or eating something at the Canterbury Café, the owner is Gustavo Pasini himself.

From Brescia come also one of the most interesting emerging bands of the Italian prog scene, Del Maiale Non Si Butta Via Niente (Facebook) who are working on their debut album, then Moogg (Official Website), Phoenix Again (MySpace), Psycho Praxis (Facebook), the prog folk La Cantina di Ermete (MySpace), Desma (Reverbnation), Born Idol (Facebook) and Diamante (MySpace), heavy prog oozing love for Uriah Heep. Chiari, a town nearby Brescia, is the birthplace of musician, composer, producer and former PFM member Mauro Pagani (Official Website). Well, in Chiari there was a bakery called Forneria Marconi that inspired the name of the most famous Italianprog band. In 2009 Mauro Pagani also wrote a novel set in the Italian prog scene of the seventies, Foto di gruppo con chitarrista.

Back west now, to PAVIA, 35 km south of Milan, which in the past gave us I Numi, Armonite and a band linked to the right wing movements called Acroama (MySpace). Well, Acroama recently reformed and are working on new stuff. Today here we can also listen to a band called A Lifelong Journey (Facebook), to the prog folk of Andrea Vercesi (MySpace) and, from an area called Lomellina, to a young band called Corvi di Pietra (MySpace).

Nearby Pavia, in the town of Vigevano there are the headquarters of the independent label Ma.Ra.Cash Records, specialized in prog. Vigevano is also the hometown of bands such as Mary Newsletter (MySpace) and Jester’s Joke. Then, east of Pavia lies LODI where we can listen to Sintonia Distorta (Facebook) and Liquid Clock (MySpace), a band that have been active since 2007 blending jazz/rock and funky grooves with many other influences. In 2010 they released their first self-produced album, Sense of self.

Still heading east we reach CREMONA, best known for its musical instrument manufacturer: this is the city of the Amati family, Guarneri and Stradivari. Here we can listen to prog bands and artists such as Mappe Nootiche (MySpace), Freeway Jam (FacebookHoverplain (Facebook), Master Prova (MySpace) and Mario Cottarelli (MySpace) while the nearby town of Crema in the recent past gave us a band called Vedda Tribe.

Still heading east we conclude our visit to Lombardia in MANTOVA, the city of the classical Roman poet Virgil. Here there are based bands such as Moongarden (MySpace), Submarine Silence (MySpace), Blaze (Facebook), Obscura (MySpace), Catafalchi del Cyber (MySpace) and the psychedelic Baba Jaga (MySpace).

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