Riccardo Tesi & Banditalia,
(Felmay, 2005)

Riccardo Tesi and Maurizio Geri, longtime bandmates in Banditalia, appear as an inseparable, unified musical force. Once again on this latest recording, Lune, the Tuscan melodeon player Tesi and vocalist-guitarist-percussionist Geri have together worked some of their magic for us.

With 12 tracks, five vocal and seven instrumental, this CD brings the Banditalia oeuvre up to date. Banditalia also includes Claudio Carbone (sax) and Ettore Bonafe (vibes and percussion), who feature on this CD, along with numerous guests, including Daniele Mencarelli (bass) and Marco Fadda (percussion) on most tracks.

Tunes range from peppy instrumentals penned by Tesi, such as "Brughiere" and "Scapoli," to more contemplative Geri contributions such as the title track. Ginevra di Marco sings on "Ninna Nanna," and this female vocal makes a nice addition on a song that has a bit of a lullaby feel to it. The opening track, "Assedio," shows Geri's smooth vocals at their best, conveying a memorable, evocative melody. Another velvety vocal track is "Valzer della povera gente," featuring a string quartet and Patrick Vaillant's mandolin.

Things do take an odd turn at the end, with a couple of dance remix tunes -- an odd addition to a folk album -- with "Maggio" and then an instrumental, "Tevakh," neither of which fits the sound of the album, and are perhaps more of an afterthought. The heavy beat on these cuts might turn off some listeners -- others might find them refreshing.

Athough not as wonderful or daring as Tesi and Geri's recent folk revival disc Acqua Foco e Vento, this is an upbeat, musically sound creation. One expects no less from this veteran ensemble, and Lune, on the whole, does not disappoint.

review by
David Cox

3 November 2007

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