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Hunka  Munka - Dedicato A Giovanna G. CD (album) cover


Hunka Munka

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Here's a rarity for those wishing to go deep into the classic Italian period. Hunka Munka's one full length album from 1972 features rather high-pitched vocals, lots of piano and organ, acoustic guitars, and fairly straightforward pop-rock songs with a light prog touch. Hunka Munka is the moniker of keyboardist Roberto Carlotto who was considered quite talented and innovative. I wasn't able to unearth much more information about this artist than Mandi did in his bio.

"Nasce un Giorno" opens the album with playful bouncy piano followed by strumming acoustic and vocal reminding of Adriano Monteduro & Reale Accademia di Musica's collaboration perhaps. "Ruote e Sogni" is the proggiest song opening with organ and drum fills. It builds gradually and features some pretty decent drum work. There is a heavy rock section in the second half with wild drums and guitar against the Hammond background. It gets fairly intense for a bit. "L'Aereoplano d'argento" is a piano based pop song that could be likened to an early Billy Joel song, like something from Streetlife Serenade or Cold Spring Harbour except with much higher vocal range. "Cattedrali di Bambu" is a nice track blending majestic orchestrations with acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies. It will be over the top cheesy for some sounding a bit like Tai Phong. There is some leftover 60s influence here too of things like The Iveys/early Badfinger. "Anniversario" begins with organ and single drum beating like a heartbeat until bass joins. Echoed vocals and organ ride atop the still very minimal rhythm arrangement. The vocal harmonies get quite ambitious leading into a section with some acid flavored electric guitar and space rock vibe. This would be another area that moves briefly from pop-rock to proggier ambitions. "Lo Cantero Per Te" begins with strings and piano introducing a heartfelt longing vocal. This turns into a slow ballad that will be sappy to many who hear it but I don't mind it. "Intermezzo #1" is a short piano vocal bit. "Giovanna G" is a catchy bit of funky folk sounding very 60s and like a mellower "South Bound Suarez." "Intermezzo #2" is another short vocal but this time to organ instead of piano. "Il Canto Dell Amore" is another pop ballad with flowery drama and orchestration but the arrangements are really quite nice. "Muore" is a silly McCartney-like ditty to close the album.

This is a fun little album combining the lighter pop side of Italian prog with a dose of the "Magic Christian" era Badfinger sound and the grandiosity of Tai Phong's vocal style. It is well done and enjoyable if that description sounds appealing to you, but it will not be enough to satisfy heavy Italian fans or heavy prog fans in general. The sound quality is adequate on the mini-lp sleeve reissue but not spectacular. The BMG reissue features the toilet seat lid that opens up like on the original vinyl. This is far from an essential title but a modest recommendation for fans of the lighter Italian side.

Report this review (#155176)
Posted Tuesday, December 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars With a name like Hunka Munka, a 1972 release date, and a toilet bowl on the cover, you'd probably expect some drugged out psych-beat stuff here. But it's actually a very nicely done combination of over-the-top melodic and operatic art songs with rock and pop. Sort of like orchestral proto-prog. The thing that probably bugs some people is the sappy and orchestral melodicism, and the crooning vocals, but that's really part of the whole Italian pop tradition. There's not a lot of complexity here, but it's a really nice album overall, with some truly outstanding melodies, though again they can get so saccharine that that might be a bad thing for you. I was really surprised how much I liked this one given the reviews and ratings it gets.

After listening to this one again for the first time in a few months, I had to up my rating from 3.5 to 4. This is really one of the better Italian albums I've heard recently. It's a shame it doesn't seem to get the praise I think it deserves.

Report this review (#156230)
Posted Saturday, December 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Hunka Munka? What is that?

That was my first reaction when i see the name of Hunka Munka for the first time, it was a year ago while i was chatting with my friend also member of PA Cucacola54 and he was listening to it, i asked what the hell is Hunka Munka, and that is how i got into this.

An extrange nickname indeed, oh sorry i skipped that, Hunka Munka is not the name of a band, but an Italian (and talented) musician called Roberto Carlotto, who i don't know why did he choose this terrible nickname, and if i am not wrong, according to my memory, he was also member of I Dik Dik later.

So Hunka Munka released just one album, this one of course, called Dedicato a Giovanna G, which has a total time of 35 minutes divided in 11 short but nice songs. Let me tell you that Carlotto is the keyboard player and the man who provides the vocals, there were two more musicians who helped him with the drums and guitars/bass, one of them was Ivan Graziani, the other one i don't remember his name.

This album is a combination of soft prog moments with some folk roots, but also there is a poppish feeling on it, this is not the kind of RPI albums that you will love because of it's musical content, i mean, it is an obscure and rare album that is worth listening if you like the RPI movement, but if don't, you may consider this as just another one hit wonder thich actually was not a wonder.

The album kicks off with Nasce un Giorno, it is just an opener, like an introduction, short song with soft music and some vocals. Ruote e Sogni is on the other hand, the longest song of the album, almost 6 minutes and it has a predominat keyboard sound, actually like a church organ which is accompanied by an excellent drumming, it has some time changes, and the vocals are very melodic, there is a part of the song when you will be caught by the music especially when it gets heavier, which is not the essence of the album L' Aeroplano D'Argento shows what i stated earlier in this review, after the previous song with a heavier style and being a prog song, this song turns to be a totally pop song, not bad at all, but there are better. Next one is Catedrali di Bambu is a very nice song that has acoustic guitars and a magnific orchestration, this song is VERY RPI, and i am not referring exactly to the progressiveness, but to the sound itself, some of you know what i mean, sorry if i'm not clear but anyway, this is without a doubt one of the best moments of the album, and one of my favs as well. Anniversario begins with a calm mood, the music creats an atmosphere that alng with the vocals and a constant bass bit, provokes a state of peace on you. Then there are some kind of repeated vocals, like an echo and sounds cool actually, the second part of the song is instrumental and it suddenly fades out, but actually after a few seconds it resurrects, pretty nice song. Io Cantero per Te starts with some kind of classical arrangments followed by some heavier guitars, then when the vocals enters, the song becomes really soft and again with a poppish feeling, i could even say it becomes in a ballad, but despite having nothing to do with prog, the people who love the Italian language, will love this song. Intermezzo No.1 , with this song we are reaching the final 10 minutes of the album, there are 5 songs but short ones, this is just piano and vocals, nothing to be proud of. Giovanna G. features again some acoustic guitars and this has a faster tempo which reminds me to some 60s american music, a ... jaja. Intermezzo No.2 is another one-minute song with organ and vocals, nothing more. Il Canto Dell'Amore sadly doesn't return to the proggy side of th album, it follows the same poppish line as the previous songs, anyway it is not bad but i thought it would feature more challenging moments. Muore Il Giorno is the song that closes the album with a very nice mood, actually it is a happy song with some vocals harmony and a poppish feeling again.

Well, i do not consider this as a bad album, but i was expecting something better of course, talking about prog rock, this album has just a few moment which can be count ith one hand's fingers, so i would only recommend it to die hard RPI fans, and those who simply want to discover more and more music. My final grade is 2 stars, just for fans.

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#182162)
Posted Wednesday, September 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Hunka Munka is actually a pseudonym used by Varese-based keyboard wizard Roberto Carlotto,who had collaborated with many Italian bands in the past (among them ANONIMA SOUND LTD.) before releasing a personal single in 1971,followed by his first and only full- length release ''Dedicato a Giovanna G.'' the year after.

Why this album is so seriously underrated remains a total mystery to me.This one belongs among the most beautiful and classy organ-driven prog gems released back in 70's Italy.It is an album full of intricate organ playing,monster string arrangements and romantic Italian vocals,recalling early LE ORME and other Orchestral Proto-Prog acts like I DIK DIK.At moments the band even falls into the Heavy Symphonic category with intense guitar playing and bombastic organs in the vein of MUSEO ROSENBACH and what possibly prevents other people to rate it higher and enjoy it more are a couple of short ballad/beat tracks far from the afore-mentioned styles,which are only the exception.

I loved this album from the first listening,the emotion that it brought to me can not be described with words and,thus I can't rate it lower than 4 stars...Excellent,masterful and romantic organ- smashed classic Italian Prog this is!

Report this review (#456351)
Posted Friday, June 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars A rare album, this one.

Take Angelo Branduardi's vocals and add church organs to these vocals. Write some church hymns or re-arrange and modernise some old ones like Angelo Branduardi did for his Futuro Antico series. Add some Emerson, Lake and Palmer like compositions too and you are close to this album.

The keyboard and church organ sound is close to Keith Emerson's sound too. But the overall sound is 100 % Rock Progressivo Italiano with nods to the likes of Banco and PFM.

There are some light hearted pop music compositions I do not approve off. The strings arrangements are cheesy to say at least and is meant for the pop and housewife audience out there. There are no real great tracks here too. But this is still a very good album which deserve a bit more exposure. That is now given.

3 stars

Report this review (#581058)
Posted Saturday, December 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Roberto Carlotto, under the "Hunka Munka" moniker, released his first and only solo album in 1972. A good album with many memorable moments, Dedicato a Giovanna G. also has its share of forgettable ones and can only garner a 3-star recommendation. Still, this is an underrated and under-appreciated gem that would be an excellent addition to an Italian Prog collection, but superfluous for the average prog fan. Hunka Munka ultimately create an Italian Pop album with progressive tendencies, and remind me a lot of I Dik Dik (the group Carlotto would later join) - particularly Suite per una Donna Assolutamente Relativa.

The first thing to grab your attention is the album cover. The die-cut toilet bowl lid actually opens up to reveal a candid shot of the musicians. Joining Carlotto are Ivan Graziani on guitar, and Nunzio Favio on drums. Both provide serviceable contributions, especially Favio, whose playing recalls Carl Palmer pretty distinctly. I would even argue his drumming here is superior to anything he did with Osage Tribe. As is the case with much Italian Pop of this era, some of the songs are also orchestrated and accompanied by sappy strings and brass. Luckily this augmentation doesn't last too terribly long, and in some cases actually adds a cheerful tone to the album. The main disappointment is the amount of repetition in the less than three tracks are essentially different takes on the same tune, a la Papillon for those familiar with Latte e Miele. This repetition just makes the listener feel cheated and belies the relatively lengthy run time [Although the album is a mere 35 minutes, the average Rock Progressivo Italiano album from this period was typically 30 minutes or even less].

Of the 11 tracks, highlights include "Ruote e Sogni," a Keith Emerson-sounding piece and the longest on the album. Expect grandiose pipe organ, bombastic drumming, and passionate singing...a real treat and probably the best song here. "L'Aeroplano d'Argento" is a lot of fun and makes you want to just get up and dance! "Cattedrali Di Bambu" has a much more somber tone and is quite dramatic and memorable. These sequential tracks provide the real meat of Dedicato a Giovanna G. and will be the most rewarding. This album is worth seeking out eventually, but not immediately essential. The only version currently available and in print is the AMS/BTF vinyl reissue; it may be best to wait for the CD or a more affordable digital version to become available again.

Report this review (#875688)
Posted Friday, December 14, 2012 | Review Permalink

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