Giulia Millanta,
The Funambulist
(Ugly Cat, 2014)

Giulia Millanta is an eclectic musician, and previously her genre was hard to pin down. Not so with her new album, The Funambulist. It has a strong Americana sound; there are twangy electric and punchy acoustic guitars galore. But Millanta puts her own distinctive stamp on the genre, singing in four different languages in her impassioned style. This album seems like a perfect fit for a bohemian trail ride at dusk.

Millanta is a songwriter who doesn't pull punches. Her lyrics are forthright and often existential. "Could Have Been My Father" and "How Does God Sleep at Night" are two hard-hitting songs that challenge the listener to stop and think. The last track is a spoken word poem set to minimal music, telling the story of "The Funambulist" (tight-rope walker) who is afraid of heights. We can identify and live vicariously through this fearful but brave entertainer as they face their challenge, and it is with the same fascination that we join Millanta as she muses throughout the album.

Most of the songs are in English, but there is a good helping of other languages represented. Millanta is from Italy, but also performs in French and Spanish. These songs are strong points on the album. In "Ma Voix" and "Il Grande Fratello," the mixture of romantic languages like Italian and French with the western music is exotic and intriguing.

Millanta's singing can range from a stop-you-in-your-tracks powerhouse, to a meandering drawl unconcerned with holding the note, to a voice that's soft, sweet and smoky. But it is always passionate; the emotion is raw and unveiled. It may take some listeners off-guard, because there is not another singer that sounds like her. I can assure you that it grows on you quickly.

The album is a substantial improvement over her last one (which wasn't a bad album either) -- the songs are better crafted, and the album is more polished and unified in style. As Giulia Millanta continues to grow as a songwriter and musician, we listeners are more richly rewarded.

music review by
Patrick Derksen

18 October 2014

Agree? Disagree?
Send us your opinions!

what's new