Skip to main content

Southern Italian Trance on Ludovico Einaudi’s Taranta Project (Ponderosa Music; US release: May 4, 2015)

From a media release:

From Salento to the World: The Global Soul of Southern Italian Trance on Ludovico Einaudi’s Taranta Project
(Ponderosa Music; US release: May 4, 2015)

Buy the CD

Salento is the heel in the boot of Italy, part of the region known as Puglia, kept dry and dusty by the hot wind that crosses the Mediterranean from the Sahara and North Africa. Long before the Roman Empire existed, Salento was a Greek province, and the traditions and culture run deep here. None more so than the taranta, a musical form connected to the tarantula spiders often found in the fields. Their deadly bite could reputedly only be cured by the trance-like dance. All of that forms the heart of Taranta Project, the new album by acclaimed composer, conductor, and pianist Ludovico Einaudi (Ponderosa Music; US release: May 4, 2015).

His aim was to bring the taranta to a more universal level by connecting it with music from West Africa and Turkey. It explores tradition while keeping it firmly of the core of Taranta Project; the unmistakable hypnotic rhythm of the taranta provides the foundation of everything. “In 2010 and ’11 I was invited to direct a concert that’s happened for the last 15 years in Salento,” Einaudi explains. “It drew 100,000 people and we toured it the next year, recording what we did. After that we did more in the studio, and the result is that Taranta Project has a studio sound, but with all the energy of a live performance.”

“I started by working with a regional orchestra,” Einaudi recalls. “There was accordion, percussion, and mandola. Then I brought in Ballaké Sissoko with his kora. And on the other side I had Justin Adams on electric guitar and Juldeh Camara on one-string ritti fiddle and vocals.” That was just the beginning. Mercan Dede added electronics, Turkish percussion, and ney flute, while the Roma Film Orchestra brought sweeping grandeur to the piece.

In this music, the sands are constantly shifting: On “Nazzu Nazzu,” desert blues dances with taranta in a fiery mix, powered by a raw guitar riff. The breathtaking “Preludio Nar-I Sehar” builds across 10 minutes, from reflective piano and violin to Arab percussion before resolving into a glorious cascade of notes in a kora improvisation. And everything closes with the quiet gentleness of voice and piano on “Nuvole Bianche.”

From the ancient, otherworldly polyphonic harmonies to the rich orchestral harmonies that climax “Santu Paulu Finale,” it’s a disc of remarkable adventure and breadth, weaving a web between countries and histories while keeping the sensibility of Salento intact. The music of Taranta Project captures not only the head but also the heart.

Einaudi is no stranger to mixing classical and roots music, to finding profound emotion in intellectually complex composition, or to collaborating with people from around the globe. He was a pupil of avant-garde composer Luciano Berio and has written works for modern classical chamber groups and orchestras as well as recording solo on piano. Knighted in Italy for his music, this is the most ambitious labor he’s undertaken.

“After I put the musicians together,” he says, “the big work after the rehearsals and the concerts was to select just an hour of it for the album. I wanted to stay close to the reality of the music without changing too much, to put myself into the music of taranta.”

Certainly those who worked with him feel he succeeded in his aim. “He took the tradition and he gave it a fresh seasoning from the future,” notes Mercan Dede. “He created a perfect balance.”

“It’s less foursquare than most European folk music,” observes Justin Adams. “Repetition is such a big part of it and it goes deep into your soul, both when you’re playing and when you’re listening to it. Ludovico makes it go from the epic to the intimate.”

Past and present come together with beauty and primal force, elegance and passion. And the Taranta Project has changed at least one life – that of Ludovico Einaudi. “Before this experience I thought I was a boy from northern Italy,” he admits with a smile. “After it, part of my heart is in Salento.”


Popular posts from this blog

Film News - imagineNATIVE Embargo Collective at the Berlin Film Fest

Hot Off the Presses:
(and gosh, doesn't that expression sound quaint these days?)

to have its European Premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival 2010
(Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin 11.-21.02.10)

(Toronto, February 3rd, 2010) The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is pleased to announce the official selection of the festival’s Embargo Collective programme for the Forum Expanded section of this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. This programme of works was commissioned by the imagineNATIVE festival for its 10th anniversary and will have its European premiere Monday, February 15th, 8.30pm at Cinema Arsenal 2 and a repeat screening Wednesday, February 17th, 4pm at CinemaxX 6.

Curated by imagineNATIVE’s Artistic Director Danis Goulet, the Embargo Collective is an international group of seven Indigenous artists at the forefront of the changing global landscape of Indigenous cinema. Inspired by Lars von Trier’s The Five Obstructi…

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …

Guitar Rock | Happy Freuds - Echo Of Sounds Independent: May 31, 2019

Guitar Rock
Happy Freuds - Echo Of Sounds
Independent: May 31, 2019
Stream/Buy on Bandcamp
Stream it on Spotify

With tight musicians and intriguing lyrics, Happy Freuds delivers high energy guitar rock with stylistic flair on Echo Of Sounds, their debut release. Produced with a minimum of overdubs or fixes, the album consists of a mix of original material, rearrangements of works from others and selected, less known, classic rock.

A kinetic rhythm section is the bones of the music, offering interesting patterns that augment sometimes unexpected harmonic changes. It's brainy rock, in other words, meant for music lovers who can appreciate the quality. Teo's vocals are raspy and expressive, growly when necessary - perfect for the musical mode. Teo also covers lead guitar, adapt at ear worm leads, with a tone that can be clean or dirty as required

Their sound ranges from straight up hard rock in tracks like The Mountain to the pop-flavoured acoustic Background Noise and folky To …