MAU MAU are one of the most interesting groups to have emerged on the Italian ethnic rock scene.
Active since 1991 the Turin group founded by Luca Morino (guitar and vocals) chitarra) and Fabio Barovero (vocals, keyboards and accordion), aided and abetted by Camerun percussionist Bienvenu Nsonga, have forged an original sound, much imitated in Italy, combining multiple musical languages with driving, infectious rhythms. Assimilating and metabolizing sounds from all over the world, MAU MAU are back with a new studio album, Dea, fruit of a long sojourn in Brazil between Salvador de Bahia and San Paolo in search of new exotic inspiration, a search which then took the group back to Southern Italy, in particular Salento (resulting in the track, La casa brucia, made in collaboration with Sud Sound System) and then on to Paris. The lyrics, however, remain firmly anchored in the Italian social and political scene, though they opt for poetic allusion over empty sloganeering. But there’s no shortage of digressions either, particularly in the numerous songs on the album that venture into the female universe. Dea is a disc that marries poetic lyrics to the group’s well-known sound (the interweaving of vocals and percussion, the collective atmosphere whose rough and ready veneer masks considerable musical sophistication, the subtle electronic inflections) propelled by warm and languid tropicalia-style beats, Seven years on from Safari Beach (discounting the live parenthesis of Marasma general), MAU MAU show themselves to be still at the top of their game, full of vigour and verve both musically and lyrically. Dea is an album of international scope, which fact alone makes it a precious commodity on the Italian music scene.