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LA PULCE D'ACQUA

Angelo Branduardi

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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Angelo Branduardi La pulce d'acqua album cover
3.84 | 18 ratings | 6 reviews | 33% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing


1 - Ballo in fa diesis minore (7:03)
2 - Il ciliegio (4:10)
3 - Nascita di un lago (4:05)
4 - Il poeta di corte (3:47)
5 - Il Marinaio (4:08)
6 - La pulce d'acqua (4:47)
7 - La sposa rubata (3:58)
8 - La Lepre nella Luna (4:59)
9 - La bella Dama senza pietà (6:39)

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

Angelo Branduardi: Violin, Guitar, Pan-pipes
Gigi Cappellotto: Electric Bass
Bruno De Filippi: Sitar, Armonica, Ocarina
Massimiliano Di Carlo: Cetra
Franco Di Sabatino: Keyboards
Maurizio Fabrizio: Piano, Guitar, Guitar Ottavino
Roberto Puleo: Buzuki, Slide Guitar
Andy Surdi: Drums, Percussions
Guest: Luigi Lai to the launeddas
Musical editions Musiza s.r.l

Releases information

Polydor

Thanks to micky for the addition
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ANGELO BRANDUARDI La pulce d'acqua ratings distribution


3.84
(18 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
33%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
39%
Good, but non-essential (22%)
22%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

ANGELO BRANDUARDI La pulce d'acqua reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Angelo Branduardi, the Lombardy-born 'minstrel' of Italian music, released his fourth album, La pulce d'acqua, when the great tide of Italian prog was already ebbing away. In spite of that, this album is probably one of his most progressive efforts, combining Branduardi's usual blend of folk and medieval influences with more ambitious songwriting and more complex instrumentation. Too often lumped together with the myriad of 'cantautori' that have graced the Italian music scene for the past forty years, Branduardi has always been much more than a simple singer-songwriter - a highly trained musician, with a solid theoretical background (I heard him speak at a conference, and was really impressed by his knowledge), as well as a passionate researcher into the various manifestations of world music. This would be reason enough to have him included in the PA database - as a matter of fact, a lot of his material shares the same sources as the music produced by many renowned British and European folk-rock outfits.

La pulce d'acqua sees Branduardi accompanied by a number of excellent musicians, some playing unusual instruments like the Pan pipes, the bouzouki, and the distinctively-sounding launeddas, the Sardinian bagpipes. This unique instrument, evocative of the Mediterranean island's stark landscape, features prominently in the album's opening track, Ballo in fa diesis minore, inspired by a Baroque dance, where Death speaks and declares itself everyone's lord and master. Il ciliegio is instead based on a famous English folk ballad, The Cherry Tree Carol, also performed by The Pentangle on their Solomon's Seal album (though with a different music - Branduardi's version is definitely more upbeat). The sprightly title-track features a rich orchestral arrangement, as well as the perky sound of the piccolo and other woodwind instruments.

On the whole, the album is consistently well-performed, with all the participating musicians on top form. The majority of the tracks are not particularly experimental, and keep within the song form. However, what I consider to be the highlights of the album are nothing short of stunning. Besides the aforementioned Ballo in fa diesis minore, the haunting ballad La sposa rubata (inspired by an ancient Breton folk song called Satan's Bride, based on the motif of the bride kidnapped by a supernatural being on her wedding day) sees a particularly inspired vocal performance by Branduardi, who also plays the Pan pipes; while album closer La bella dama senza pietà is an authentically progressive offering, dark and sinister with its plodding beat. And no surprise... The song is based on one of the most genuinely disturbing pieces of poetry I know, John Keats' La Belle Dame Sans Merci (of which the song's lyrics are an excellent translation), the story of a knight ensorceled by the titular 'beautiful lady without mercy', and condemned to a lingering life-in-death. The song's haunting beauty is further enhanced by the exotic sound of the sitar, particularly effective in the coda. Branduardi's vocals go from measured, almost whispered, to passionate and emotionally-charged; a grandiose string section completes the picture.

Two extra-musical features of the album also deserve a mention: the beautiful drawings by Mario Convertino (unfortunately, except for the cover, only visible in the vinyl version), and Luisa Zappa Branduardi's wonderful lyrics. Luisa is very gifted with words, and some of her compositions (including the lyrics to this album) have been translated into English by someone well-known to every prog fan, King Crimson and ELP lyricist Pete Sinfield.

This album will definitely appeal to anyone interested in medieval and folk music, even though it is not as dark and experimental as the likes of Comus. Anyway, if you are into Pentangle, Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention, you could do much worse than get to know Angelo Branduardi's fascinating musical world. Probably not easy to get hold of outside Europe (but to be found for very cheap in Italy), La pulce d'acqua makes nevertheless for a very rewarding listen. Four stars from this reviewer.

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Send comments to Raff (BETA) | Report this review (#205254) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
4 stars Parting the curtain behind the big 3 or so progressive ensembles to come out of Italy in the 1970s, one of course discovers a myriad of other agglomerations of varying longevity. But minimal research unveils solo performers who achieved considerable popular recognition in their day, at least in their homeland if not throughout Europe. At the risk of unfairly applying a broad brush, these artists would be in the crossover prog of RPI, even if most of their fans can't spell prog. I certainly don't profess to know more than a few, with FRANCO BATTIATO first coming to mind; admittedly his earlier work was more avant garde before he tasted mass success in the 80s. Following close behind is ANGELO BRANDUARDI, who is blessed with a better singing voice and comes across as Italy's answer to CHRISTY MOORE (a contemporary), with a folky, generally gentle and string heavy quality that grows and grows in my estimation. Top notch melodies that are both simple and challenging may have something to do with this.

While the album is generally placid, there are some uptempo tracks, with the 7 minute opener being the most impressive of these, replete with a bagpipe fashioned segment alternating with a decidedly celtic melody in the verse. It brings to mind Quebecois music of that era, such as LE REVE DU DIABLE, and also venerable Brits the ALBION BAND and even the Breton ensemble TRI YANN, but this is a lot more measured and subtle. Both "Il poeta di corte" and the title cut are lively ditties that graft stereotypical Italian music onto Branduardi's own branches, and evoke STEFANO TESTA's most impressive one-off. "La Sposa Rubata" and "Il Poeta di Corte" are slower pieces that might have a less patient listener hitting the next button, but they are worth the effort. Even the closing piece with its by then decade-old pyschedelic flourishes is enhanced by his own poignant violin, other strings and a traditional styled tune.

Quality and profound caring are graciously offered on this 70s release that is recommended to fans of classy soft folk rock and/or RPI aficionados.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#283624) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RPI
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 Pietà'' 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.

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Send comments to seventhsojourn (BETA) | Report this review (#359690) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars After the huge commercial success of his 3rd album who gave him notoriety to the mainstream public making a good album would have been difficult for every artist. Angelo Branduardi apparently didn't feel any pressure and likely invested part of the previous earnings in the production of his "La Pulce D'Acqua".

I remember we fans were having a lot of expectations about this album and it received also a lot of advertising including posters on the road, something that was not very usual actually.

The vinyl came out with nice watercolor paintings included in the package, one for each song. The cover sleeve is an example of them. This is another symptom of the increased popularity and the investment made by the major.

The album is opened by one of the still most famous songs of Branduardi: "Ballo in Fa Diesis Minore (Dance in F#-)" it's a song which takes inspiration from a medieval leid, the same which has inspired a Blackmore's Night song that's almost identical, and the lyrics are about the personification of Death, a typical medieval thing. This dance is a sort of exhorcism against Death "A turn of dance, another one and you're no longer Master of Time....".

"Il ciliegio (The cherry tree)" is a fairytale about a pregnant girl who asks a gardener to give her some fruits for her son then the tree moves a branch to her. It's the song I like more on this album.

"Nascita Di Un Lago (Birth of a Lake)" is opened by trumpets and classical guitar. It's another fairytale that has its roots in the Greek mythology. Musically speaking is a classical Branduardi's ballad.

"Il Poeta di Corte (The Court's Poet)" is a sort of nursery rhyme, uptime and funny with the efffort of Lai's launeddas. It has the flavor of a medieval ballad. Another song which had a great success actually.

"Il Marinaio (The Sailor)" Is the usual theme of the woman waiting for her husband or lover to return from the sea. A love song that even with mandolin and violins doesn't sound traditional Italian. It's more close to Pentangle or the already mentioned Blackmore's Night.

The title track opens the B side. "La pulce d'acqua (the Water Flea)" is another madrigal- like ballad made with the use of medieval and folk instruments Together with Il Poeta di Corte reminds to a celebration in a castle.

"La Sposa Rubata (The Raped Wife)" Is a dark tale which takes inspiration from a legend directly coming from the myth of Orpheus. From a musical point of view is probably the strongest composition of the album. An excellent song based on classical guitar.

"La Lepre Nella Luna (The Hare in the Moon)" is another acoustic symbolic fairytale about a hare, a fox and a monkey.

To close the album Angelo placed another song about Death as the opener: "La Bella Dama Senza Pieta' (The Beautiful Lady With No Mercy)" has an hippy flavor thanks to the sitar. The most progressive thing of this album that's probably the most progressive album released by Branduardi on which the folk influence (British and Celtic folk, more than Italian) is less evident than usual.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#440288) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 29, 2011

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Neo Prog Team
3 stars A year passes and a new album comes for Angelo Branduardi, this time it will be 1977 and the title would be ''La pulce d'acqua'' (again on Polydor).The line-up of the album has strong connections to Italian Prog: Maurizio Fabrizio on piano and guitar, ex-Il Paese dei balocchi and Il Rovescio della Medaglia Franco di Sabbatino on keyboards, Roberto Puleo, who plays the bouzouki, was a later member of Murple, drummer Andy Surdi had previously played with Salis.The album was recorded at the studios of Fonit-Cetra in Milano.

Long tracks are pretty rare in Branduardi's discography, so the 7-min. ''Ballo in fa diesis minore'' needs a honorable mention, being a nice collection of modern Classical Music and Mediterrenean Folk sounds, showered by poetic Italian vocals by Branduardi and highlighted by an excellent Bruno De Filippi on ocarina, definitely a good turn by Branduardi regarding his conventional material.The rest of the album is typical of Branduardi's repertoire.Mostly sweet Chamber Folk songs with the standard aura of the Mediterrenean tradition, featuring lots of wind and string sections and the gentle, pastoral acoustics of Branduardi's guitar.The nice opener and the prog-inclined line-up may give hopes for some sort of a different style compared to the previous releases, but I guess 1977 was a hard year to start any musical experiments.The man still keeps a high quality on composition and orchestrations, maybe too many tracks sound like Orchestral Pop ballads in here, but the harmonies are lovely and the execution is flawless.Not much of a progressive content though I am afraid, ''La pulce d'acqua'' is closer to the Italian Singer/Songwriter stylings with elaborate melodies and a heavy acoustic sound leading the way.

I could actually write many lines for Branduardi.He released a ton of albums over the years with a Pop flair, always flavored by his love for Folk and Orchestral Music and adding experimental touches, while participating in many other albums be several artists.One of the charismatic figures of contemporary Italian Music without question.

''La pulce d'acqua'' follows the trends of his 70's steps.Acoustic, semi-orchestrated Folk with imaginative soundscapes and romantic singing.Recommended.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#1326258) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 19, 2014

Latest members reviews

4 stars "My name is death and I'm wearing the crown I'm your sole lord and master I'm so cruel, strong and rough all your walls can't stop me" ( I have re-translated this from a german translation to the opening track "Ballo in Fa diesis Minore" - "Dance in F# Minor" ). You don't expect a record tha ... (read more)

Report this review (#634865) | Posted by rupert | Thursday, February 16, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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