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Italia features well-known singer-songwriters Giorgio Conte and Gianmaria Testa, who combine poetry and humor with stirring melodies and lovingly crafted compositions. Simone Lo Porto, Alessandro Pitoni, Alessandro Mannarino and Rossomalpelo frontman Serge Gaggiotti are all representatives of the contemporary Italian singer-songwriter scene. Lino Straulino returns to the traditional folk music of his native Friuli region in northeastern Italy for inspiration.
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The opening song, Simone La Porto's "Il Girasole" is an ode to the sunflower with a Brazilian flavor. Rossomalpelo's "Il Mare Mi Silva", Gianmaria Testa's "Balla con me" and Marco Calliari's "L'Americano" all have a delicious retro with an edge flavor, evoking postwar Italian music, but still rooted in the present day. Bandabardo's "Il Pricipiante" has a reggae vibe. Lino Straulino's "La Piccola Inglesina" sounds more like an old-fashioned Italian folk ballad. Rocco de Rosa's "Iquique" blends the jazz of Italy and Chile. While Lu Colombo and Maurizio Geri Swingtet's "Gina" is a ballad that's against alcoholism, the closing song from Alessandro Mannarino compares love with intoxication.
"Italia" is a savory compilation. It contains a simple pasta recipe, and it also serves a good cause. A portion of the profits goes to EMERGENCY,to help the victims of war, landmines and poverty. Live la dolce vita with this music!
"Putumayo Presents Italia"
A really sweet set of modern Italian pop, with a gentle acoustic, adult pop-folk edge. Forget about those old Italian icons of accordions and mandolins, unless they're in a sexy tango or a country-flavored tune: this ain't your stereotypical "old country" Italian collection. This set opens with Simone Lo Porto's entrancing bossa-Americana flavored "Il Giralsoe," and moves into jazzy folk by the band Rossomalpelo and a tango ballad by Alessandro Pitoni... There's wide stylistic variety here, but a similar mellow tone and rich musicality throughout, with echos of Tom Waits, Bill Frissell, and any number of French acoustic music revivalists. I'm not readily tapped into the Italian musical scene but this album was a pleasant surprise; the more I listen, the more I like it. No sign of Paolo Conte, but then again there's no Mina or any eurodisco, either. A nice selection of a rich, vibrant contemporary scene, definitely worth checking out. (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue Guide To World Music)