Approximately one year on from the release of his debut album, U Ciuccio (Felmay fy 8090) MASSIMO FERRANTE is back with another collection of pieces culled from the folk heritage of Southern Italy.
With his trusty twelve-string and his inimitable voice, a voice that is strong though never strident, and muscular and passionate enough to do justice to the songs of the Mediterranean, FERRANTE interprets a repertoire of music taken from a variety of geographical and stylistic areas. Navigating between personal memory and new discoveries FERRANTE finds the right balance, interpreting his material in such a way as to bring out the similarities and differences of songs with a decidedly rétro flavour. FERRANTE’s versions steer clear of uniformity and the flatness of a generic Mediterranean, managing in fully exploiting the many nuances and shadings of a composite, heterogeneous cultural region that is nonetheless not without its patches of common ground. His new CD RICUORDI includes songs of protest and other social themes, stornelli, legends set to music, songs of celebration, singer storyteller numbers and dance tunes. Their sources are numerous, ranging from old LPs or tapes bought from village fetes to ethnomusicologists’ collections, while often FERRANTE relies purely on memory, recalling and reproducing songs heard in his youth while playing bingo with his aunt or during festivals and other community gatherings. And there’s no shortage of surprises either, such as his reworking of Georges Moustaki’s “En Méditerranèe” a French ballad from the early 1970s whose chiaroscuro atmosphere FERRANTE captures perfectly; or a somewhat jazzed-up version of “Rosso colore”, a migration song composed by the late and much missed Pierangelo Bertoli. Among the numerous first rate guest musicians who contributed to the recording are Francesco Migliaccio (accordion), Enrico Del Gaudio (drums), Roberto Giangrande (double bass), Francesco Banchini (clarinet), Rino Saggio (flute and sax), Leonardo Massa (cello), whose finely executed parts are brilliantly interwoven in FERRANTE’s seductive, exquisitely produced arrangements. For FERRANTE’s art consists in making universal material that only the most superficial of listens could deem to be the fruit of local cultures.