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Angelo Branduardi - La pulce d'acqua CD (album) cover


Angelo Branduardi


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.83 | 22 ratings

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4 stars Angelo Branduardi is a classically trained violinist and composer, and while he has a fairly extensive and varied discography it's probably his mid-seventies work that is of most interest to fans of Italianate prog. On ''La Pulce d'Acqua'' he deploys novel combinations of unusual instruments in order to exploit the largely folk-styled music. It's a mainly song oriented album that mixes traditional elements with the splendour of early music; the combination of ethnic instruments and Renaissance/Baroque orchestral parts makes this a wonderfully rich experience. I think I'm correct in saying that an English version of the album (''Fables and Fantasies'') was also released, with lyrics by Pete Sinfield.

Fast forwarding to the end of the album, closing track ''La Bella Dama Senza Pietą'' has a strong psychedelic feel with its blend of sitar and Middle Eastern-sounding strings. Elsewhere, Branduardi's symbiotic mix of traditional and modern bears exotic fruit thanks to a pool of talented musicians. Songs like ''Il Ciliegio'' and ''La Lepre Nella Luna'' have something of a West Coast feel, the former through its slide guitar and the latter due to its use of harmonica. But this album is principally based on Italian folk and ''La Sposa Rubata'' features pan pipes and violin, while the uptempo ''Il Poeta di Corte'' is fortified by its use of launeddas.

The launeddas are traditional Italian pipes and they provide the main impetus for the album's largest scale piece, ''Ballo in Fa Diesis Minore'', where the two main themes interweave to uplifting effect. There was a Christmas tradition in Italy whereby mountain shepherds would visit the towns to play their bagpipes (zampogna) in return for food or in order to earn a little extra money. December was the month of the zampognari, the name given to the bagpipe players, and they heralded the arrival of Christmas and even featured in traditional Nativity scenes. So while Branduardi uses launeddas here rather than zampognas, along with the strings and other wind instruments they add to the festive feel of this track and make it sound quite seasonal.

''La Pulce d'Acqua'' pretty much epitomizes the folksier side of RPI, and should appeal to fans of acoustic music and chamber pop.

seventhsojourn | 4/5 |


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