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OSANNA

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Osanna biography
Founded in Naples, Italy in 1971 - Disbanded in 1979 - Reformed in 1999

OSANNA is classic seventies Italian prog. The basis of their sound is original heavy guitar rock often in combination with amazing flute solos. Additionally, more spacey, Pink Floydian parts and quiet interludes with acoustic guitar and flute can be heard as well. There are plenty of mood changes and surprises that make this music very dynamic and interesting.

Their first three are masterpieces in their own right. The superb "L'Uomo" in which heavy rock and spacey jazz are only a few of the styles included, the soundtrack "Milano Calibro 9" and their best "Palepoli" which is so bizarre and complex, beginners may be too dazzled by the array of styles presented. "Palepoli" covers a wide range of styles, moods, and tempo variations, and OSANNA handle these diverse modes of playing superbly. This eponymus masterpiece can be compared to BANCO DEL SOCCORSO or PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI An ultimate classic!

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OSANNA discography


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OSANNA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 162 ratings
L'Uomo
1971
3.65 | 99 ratings
Preludio, Tema, Variazioni, Canzona [Aka: Milano Calibro 9 (OST)]
1972
4.24 | 438 ratings
Palepoli
1972
3.55 | 99 ratings
Landscape of Life
1974
3.17 | 51 ratings
Suddance
1978
2.40 | 19 ratings
Taka Boom
2001
3.56 | 55 ratings
Osanna & David Jackson: Prog Family
2009
3.46 | 78 ratings
Palepolitana
2015
3.18 | 9 ratings
Il Diedro del Mediterraneo
2021

OSANNA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.36 | 9 ratings
Osanna Live Uomini E Miti
2003
3.92 | 17 ratings
Rosso Rock - Live in Japan
2012
3.50 | 2 ratings
Pape SatÓn Aleppe
2016

OSANNA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.88 | 10 ratings
Tempo
2013

OSANNA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.50 | 9 ratings
Le Pi¨ Belle Canzoni Degli Osanna
2006

OSANNA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
There Will Be Time
1972

OSANNA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Osanna & David Jackson: Prog Family by OSANNA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.56 | 55 ratings

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Osanna & David Jackson: Prog Family
Osanna Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by DangHeck

3 stars Their second disc after their return to recording, released 2009, this features the reeds work of David JACKSON, by then formerly of the great VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR. Interestingly enough, it was the first VdGG album without him, Trisector (released a year before this, in 2008), which was one of the last I've most recently listened to--I reviewed it just 3 days ago. Also featured here is eventual (10 years later) Jackson collaborator David CROSS (of KING CRIMSON fame) on violin.

The nicely titled Prog Family starts off with the solemn then fiery "Tema", which rolls smooth on into "Animale Sena Respiro", reborn a very modern-sounding Prog number. I was just listening to a track by CHICAGO ("Once Upon A Time"), and I can't help but think of them now since this is such an apparently big ensemble. Everything is nicely mixed and mastered, clear and purposeful from the onset. Fusion, classic and modern Prog (thanks to the newest and youngest additions to the band proper), and dramatic Italian idiom all present! I forgot until this point that this album covers a lot of ground from previous Osanna material. A compilation of rerecordings, really (the majority of the album). For me, for much of these tracks this is my first time hearing them.

If anything is hokey or they seem too 'comfortable' haha, I'm noting appropriately, but really everything is so well performed. No surprise here. Much of it is fresh. "Mirror Train" is one, for instance, where for every part I wasn't such a fan there were, say, 4 things that were so satisfying and beautiful they won me over. There were unfortunately a number of tracks in the middle and backend that lacked this charm. I'm realizing I'll have to hear much of these then in their original form in due time (who knows when I'll get to it?).

The first bit of Jackson getting his chance to shine is on "L'Uomo". But also met, particularly on the second verse, with beautiful string ensemble.

The first apparently newly released track here is "Fuje 'A Chistu Paese", which to my ears at times sounds like the fusion of Italian Prog and Zeuhl. Very rhythmic and at times jazzy, but also has a tribal sort of nature to it. In the middle section, most dies down and then revamps with this really awesome, lively synth lead, joined by guitar to the gallop of the drums. The next track first recorded on Prog Family is "My Mind Flies", a quieted and quick interlude of sorts. Then it was "Solo Uniti", which had a really great melody and the jangle of acoustic guitar(?) and great guitar-strings leads [Unfortunately this track and a few others had some digital breaks and skips... Strange.].

Other tracks of special note are "Vado Verso Una Meta", some excellently performed Heavy Prog (notably featuring violin lead), and "Theme One", one of my favorite compositions (for BBC Radio 1, written by George MARTIN) covered I would think famously by VdGG.

 Taka Boom by OSANNA album cover Studio Album, 2001
2.40 | 19 ratings

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Taka Boom
Osanna Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

3 stars In 1999, after a hiatus of more than twenty years, founder members Lino Vairetti and Danilo Rustici decided to bring back to life the music of Osanna re-arranging the old repertoire of the band for some new live performances. In 2001 Osanna released a new studio album, entitled "Taka Boom", on their own independent label AfrakÓ with a new line up featuring Lino Vairetti (vocals, guitar), Danilo Rustici (electric and acoustic guitar) and Enzo Petrone (bass) with Gennaro Barba (drums), Gigi Borgogno (electric guitar), Vito Ranucci (sax) and Luca Urciuolo (keyboards) plus the special guest Enzo Avitabile (vocals). It contains some new arrangements of pieces from the seventies Osanna's albums and two brand new tracks...

"L'uomo" opens the album with a surge of energy. This new version of Osanna's debut album opener is brilliant, more aggressive than the original one and with an almost rapped section emphasizing the lyrics. The following "Ce vulesse ce vulesse", is a piece from "Suddance" ("Ce vulesse") that here is revitalized with the addition of a second part ("Canta chi¨ fforte"), harder and angrier than the original one...

The dreamy "Medley acustico" bounds a short excerpt from "Palepoli", "Oro caldo", with "My Mind Flies" from "Preludio, tema, variazioni e canzona" and "L'amore vincerÓ di nuovo" from "L'uomo". The effect is interesting, but you can't really resume and condensate such pieces in just five minutes and I feel that something is missing here...

The ironic, funny "Taka Boom" is a new track dealing with the risks of internet addiction leading to a virtual life disconnected with reality. On line you can find everything, you can burn every book and every film because you don't need them any more, even sex can be experienced on line and pleasure stored in a file... Until the body of your virtual partner, hacked by viruses, will blow up!

Next comes another medley, "In un vecchio cieco - Vado verso una meta", with two pieces from "L'uomo" that were bound also on the 1971 album (although in a different order) and here are in some way simplified and played in a more straightforward way. Then the canzona from the second album in its new dress, "There Will Be Time", leads to "Medley Train" where a piece from "L'uomo", "Mirror Train", is enhanced with a new middle section featuring rap style vocals in the dialect of Naples, "Treno senza stazione" (Train without station).

The new versions of "'A zingara" (from "Suddance"), "Oro caldo (Fuje 'a chistu paese)" (an excerpt from "Palepoli") and "Everybody's Gonna See You Die" (from "L'uomo") follow and lead to another new track "Colpi di tosse", a song "of rage and nostalgia" featuring the narrative and rap vocals of the guest Enzo Avitabile interacting with Lino Vairetti's melodic lines and including quotes of "Fog In My Mind", from "Landscape Of Life". A short acoustic version of "L'uomo" ends the album.

On the whole, a good work that takes Osanna into the new millennium but not an essential one.

 Il Diedro del Mediterraneo by OSANNA album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.18 | 9 ratings

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Il Diedro del Mediterraneo
Osanna Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars Considered one of the greats of 70s Italian prog, OSANNA was quite inspirational in its heyday for not only performing a heavy form of progressive rock mixed with the band's native folk music flavors from their home city of Naples but also for their unique live shows which inspired the face painting copycats like Peter Gabriel of Genesis. The original lineup was pure magic having released four strong albums with the epic "Palepoli" considered one of the greatest Italian prog albums of all time but after the diminishing returns of the following "Landscape Of Life" the original lineup imploded and band leader / vocalist Lino Vairetti struggled to keep the momentum. After the okayish "Suddance," OSANNA ceased to be.

The original lineup featured a chemistry that could not be replicated but that didn't stop Vairetti from trying. After all the great prog revival of the 1990s ensured that 70s music was making a comeback and many a band were attempting to finally cash in on their past efforts. For some bands it was quite a successful endeavor but for OSANNA, it just seemed like one stumble after another. The gawdawful "Taka Boom" in 2001 signified a desperate return without any of the finesse that made the original recordings so inspiring. This continued with the 2009 "Prog Family" and then the lackluster attempt to reinterpret the classic "Palepoli" with the 2015 "Palepolitiana."

That should've been the end of the road but here we are in 2021 and Vairetti has reunited with his old bandmates that made the early years of OSANNA so memorable in order to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of "L'Uomo," the debut album which appeared in 1971. The new album is titled IL DIEDRO DEL MEDITERRANEO (The Dihedral of the Mediterranean, a dihedral angle is the angle between two mathematical planes) and features eleven new tracks with the classic lineup of Lino Vairetti (vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards), r Elio D'Anna (flute, saxophone), Danilo Rustici (guitar, organ, vocals), Lelo Brandi (bass) and Massimo Guarino (drums, percussion). This is the first batch of new tracks these guys have mustered up in decades but how good is it really?

Well first of all i'm always suspicious of a classic band making a so-called comeback many decades after its prime. I mean if they couldn't even sustain their magic in their prime, how are we to believe they are capable of doing so in their advanced years? The short answer is that they haven't however IL DIEDRO DEL MEDITERRANEO is hardly a throwaway album either. While this mellowed out affair is most a tribute to the past there first four tracks "Spirit," the title track, "Ti Ritrover˛" and "L'Uomo del Prog" are all pretty good with classic OSANNA feistiness that juggle intricate melodic developments with alternating softer and heavier guitar passages. While not quite up to the standards of the early years, the tracks are certainly better than anything in recent attempts to reinvent the classics.

Unfortunately beginning with "Tu," the album starts to go into easy listening territory with syrupy ballads and too mellow for its own good chill pills. Despite some moments of keyboard bliss and a guitar solo or two IL DIEDRO feels like a ship that's run ashore. There are also too many spoken word narrations on here. The opening "Spirit" and "Zuoccole, Tammorre e Femmene" require some Italian language comprehension skills to understand but luckily they're short and to the point. The most rocking "Zuoccole e Tammorre" brings back some much needed rock heft but unfortunately becomes a dueling sort of gypsy standoff between Lino and a female vocalist however the track does bring back some of the local folk flavors of southern Italy. Likewise the final two tracks stick to rock mode but unfortunately they sound fairly generic.

While not a total waste of time i can't say i find IL DIEDRO DEL MEDITERRANEO to be a compelling listening experience. While certainly more competent than some band's latest efforts (do you hear me Yes?), for an OSANNA album this one soars in the mid-range of interest. It's great to hear these veterans together again cranking out some original music however the entire time i'm hearing this it just makes me ponder the old what if contemplation of what their music would've sounded like had they not had such internal conflicts around the time of "Palepoli." Unfortunately that was not meant to be. I can't say i'm over thrilled with this latest OSANNA release but it certainly isn't horrible either. Unfortunately there is WAAAAY too much excellent music to explore in 2021 so this will surely be forgotten rather rather quickly and tolerated only by diehard fans of the band's classic era. Definitely not the comeback that reignited the flames of yore.

 Rosso Rock - Live in Japan by OSANNA album cover Live, 2012
3.92 | 17 ratings

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Rosso Rock - Live in Japan
Osanna Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars According to the liner notes, "Rosso Rock" is a tribute to 1972 Osanna's album "Preludio, tema, variazioni, canzona", soundtrack of the film "Milano Calibro 9". It was released in 2012, exactly forty years after the original release, and features a new version of the 1972 album recorded live at the Club CittÓ in Kawasaki, Japan in November 2011. The line up features Lino Vairetti (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Gennaro Barba (drums), Pasquale Capobianco (electric guitar), Nello D'Anna (bass), SasÓ Priore (piano, organ, keyboards) and Irvin Vairetti (vocals, Mellotron, synth) that for this special concert interacted with the Tokyo Vielle Ensemble Orchestra...

For this event the band did not to try to play the old material in a philological way but worked on the old stuff weaving new orchestral arrangements, where necessary changed the original sequence of the pieces and with some cuts and additions reshaped them giving form to a cohesive and coherent suite. If the original set list might sound a bit fragmented, here all the separate sections follow one to each other without breaks and in perfect harmony...

A sparkling version of "Preludio" opens the suite followed by the dreamy "Tema". Then the calm "Variazione V - Dianalogo" (2:24) and the fiery "Variazione VI - Spunti dallo spartito n. 14728 del Prof. Imolo Meninge" precede "Variazione I - To Plinius" and "Variazione II - My Mind Flies". A new, heartfelt, vocal part sung in Italian entitled "Tempo" (Time) appears before "Variazione IV ? Cortile", then "Variazione VII - Posizione Raggiunta (1:30)", "There Will Be Time" and "Preludio Reprise" close the suite along with the greetings to the Japanese public. In the suite there's no room for the Jethro Tull hints of "Variazione III ? Shuum..." of the original version or the iconic "Bouchet Funk" (a piece included in the soundtrack but not on the 1972 album) but, in my opinion, the result is excellent anyway.

The other tracks on the album were recorded at ISL Studio in Naples with the help of the Gianluca Falasca String Ensemble and some guest musicians such as Roberto Petrella (acoustic guitar), Stefano Longobardi (keyboards, vocals) and Gianni Biondi (vocals). "Fiume" (River) is a rearranged, convincing version of the piece from 1974 album Landscape Of Life while the following "O culore 'e Napule" is a brand new track sung in the dialect of Naples that celebrates the bounds between the musicians and their home town with its sun, sky, sea, music, traditions and endemic problems. The closer "Rosso Rock" quote Peter Hammill's "The Light Continent" and tries to paint the air with the red colour of blood, rock and fire. For this last track the band shot a beautiful video...

On the whole, a great work full of emotions and excellent music.

 Suddance by OSANNA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.17 | 51 ratings

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Suddance
Osanna Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars OSANNA are considered one of the best bands to emerge from the fertile Italian prog scene of the 1970s known not only for their excellent blend of various musical genres but equally for the live performances that made them stand out from the pack from the getgo. This band from Napoli formed all the way back in 1970 and was known for changing things up radically on each album with the 1973 magnum opus "Palepoli" still considered one of the greatest masterpieces of the entire progressive rock world however when it came to the followup "Landscape Of Life," the band was riddled with tensions and basically disintegrated in the midst of the recording sessions.

It probably should have been the end of the band for good but after a reconciliation, the majority of members decided to give it another shot and recorded the band's fifth album SUDDANCE only with long time keyboardist Elio D'Anna having been replaced by Fabrizio D'Angelo and bassist Enzo Petrone taking the place of Lello Brandi. SUDDANCE was a commercial flop although the music critics did seem to show some love for it. The album is very much like its predecessor in that it basically meanders all over the place only more so without any particularly memorable tracks. The opening "Ce Vulesse" immediately sets the album apart from any previous works as a pure jazz-fusion piece more in the vein of bands like Brand X than anything from the Italian scene.

While OSANNA had always incorporated jazz into its works, the saxophone squawks and fusion chord progression became even more pronounced on SUDDANCE although the folky Mediterranean flavors still seeped into the works. The album is noticeable less rooted in hard rock with less guitar heft thus making it the mellowest overall album in the band's 70s run. Despite the excellent instrumental performances of the band rounded off with Lino Vairetti's instantly recognizable vocal style, SUDDANCE does sound a bit more on the commercial side with less progressive meanderings and more focused tight-knit jazz-rock composiitons. The album is laced with funk grooves, clean guitar riffs and jazzy drum rolls with only the slower folky pastoral tracks deviating from the pattern. Some rock still emerges from time to time but only for fleeting moments.

Add to that the album's longest track "O Napulitano" which is just shy of 10 minutes doesn't quite have the music mojo to really justify its length which is pretty much the problem with the album as a whole. In comparison to the band's first three albums this one is quite dull indeed but if evaluated on its own terms it's not all that bad however there is no doubt indeed that OSANNA had fallen from grace and had become mediocre rather than top world quality of the Italian prog scene. For true fans such as myself, you will inevitably get to this album as it does represent the last leg of the band's original journey before all those rather lackluster reunion albums that would follow in the 21st century but as an OSANNA fanboy i do have to say that this is indeed the weakest of their original 70s run and i'm quite thankful that they realized that the magic was gone and time to move on.

 Landscape of Life by OSANNA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.55 | 99 ratings

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Landscape of Life
Osanna Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars OSANNA was certainly one of the Italian prog bands of the 1970s that stood out for its eccentric approach for crafting quality prog. By blending a mix of hard rock, folk, blues, jazz and Mediterranean folk flavors, this band not only stood out from the crowded scene with its eclectic hard driving idiosyncrasies but was known for putting on wild theatrical shows that actually predated Genesis with all the face paint stuff. The band was equally known for its fiery performances which placed them in the forefront of Italy's explosively creative progressive rock scene of the early 1970s.

Since the band's formation in 1970, guitarist / keyboardist / vocalist Lino Vairetti and his buddies found that perfect middle ground between the world of early heavy rock, progressive folk and the more pastoral Genesis inspired symphonic prog but always had a knack for inserting bizarre avant-garde outbursts which made these guys one of the most unpredictable bands that was a crowd pleaser for the intensity in the live shows and was a favorite at events such as the Avant-garde Music Festival and New Trends in Viareggio.

The band catapulted to the top of the Italian scene with its first two albums "L'uomo" and the unfinished soundtrack music of "Milano Calibro 9" but with the third album "Palepoli" which showed the band firing on all prog firepower, OSANNA crafted one of the most stunning masterpieces of the entire progressive rock scene of the 70s much less that of Italy. The album has well stood the test of time and remains highly influential for its audacious approach of fusing the local folk flavors of its native Napoli into the incessant prog workouts with hard rock heft however it seems the band wasn't destined to carry on such greatness and began to falter with its fourth album LANDSCAPE OF LIFE which followed two years later in 1974.

This was a tumultuous time for the band as the various members started to squabble over the direction of where the music should go and therefore instead of crafting a proper followup to the perfection prog known as "Palepoli," OSANNA retrograded back to the less progressive hard rock band that incorporated jazz, blues and folk flavors on LANDSCAPE OF LIFE. Luckily the band hadn't quite lost all its creative mojo yet and was still able to craft satisfying prog rockers that implemented all the tricks and trinkets of heavy guitar riffs alternating with more pastoral symphonic prog sounds along with jazzy saxophone squawks, folky flute runs and plenty of organ, piano and mellotron.

While clearly a major step down from "Palepoli," LANDSCAPE OF LIFE isn't a terrible album in its own right and more comparable to the band's debut "L'uomo" only a little looser and less cohesive in quality. Unlike its predecessor that featured two side-swallowing single tracks and only a short intermission to separate them, OSANNA's fourth album is a collection of seven shorter tracks that rely on hard rock compositional dynamics as the blueprint to build upon. There seems to be two versions with the same tracks but different track order depending on if you have the original vinyl LP or the CD reissues and i have to say that it was wise to change the order because opening with the mopey pastoral title track belied OSANNA's rock and roll energetic drive.

For the most part LANDSCAPE OF LIFE is pretty good with only a few clunkers like the short but pointless "Promised Land." There is definitely a feeling of devolution on this album though as it's a weak followup to "Palepoli" and it certainly took a while for this one to sink in but after more careful attentive listens, LANDSCAPE OF LIFE is a decent album albeit in a more straight forward hard rock style with a few proggy moments as opposed to the unabashed prog jugular of the predecessor however it was clear that OSANNA had lost its momentum and it would only get worse from here.

3.5 but i'll round up cuz damn this is OSANNA!

 L'Uomo by OSANNA album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.67 | 162 ratings

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L'Uomo
Osanna Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by zeuhl1
Collaborator RPI Team

4 stars Osanna's debut album from 1971 is often overshadowed by the monumental later follow up, Palepoli. Even I had this pushed to the back of my to do list until I ran into an original copy online and jumped. I am glad I did, as this album is far more complex than I'd been led to believe.

Album opener Introduzione is a show stopper for a beginning-a song that transitions through several sections. It starts out as something that would have fit very easily on Hawkwind's contemporaneous second album In Search of Space-acoustic guitar driven proto space rock. Powerful sax riffs, great vocals, unexplained explosions to transition, and an underpinning of acid madness make this album fairly unique in Italian prog. Drums and guitars can wander but things never get too far from control. Some might point to pre Benefit Jethro Tull as a touch point, and that isn't that far off in some places, but overall Osanna have developed a sound that is all their own. These guys are a more harder edged and harder rocking version of Tull or any Italian bands extant at the time. A powerful evolution of pop into something distinctly Italian, albeit in this instance with a heavy dollop of acid in the mix. Yet they don't really fit in with the proto prog organ and guitar driven bands of 1971 very well, as they can dip into jazz and space rock adeptly. Already Danilo Rustici and Ellio D'anna on guitar and sax are already a force to be reckoned with on the scene. Side one is four songs, but really functions as a suite. The band also switches back and forth from Italian to English, but with the heavy reverb on the vocals one might not even notice this is happening.

Side two starts with a straightforward rocker Vado verso una meta. Second song In Un Vecchio Cieco features some of the most amazing complex vocal interplay heard in Italian rock, but disappears quickly much like many of their ideas seem to-there are so many to get into a song, some ideas are just not allowed to linger. Sometimes they dissolve into laughter in the recording booth at the absurdity of it all, only to confidently drop into third gear and deliver some very convincing British hard blues rock (Everybody's Gonna See You Die) at the drop of a hat. Finishes with the same acoustic guitar and In Search of Space electronics we came in on side one with. Wild and wooly stuff-early Hawkwind and early Tull filtered through early Plastic People of the Universe isn't too far off.

One of the more underrated linchpin albums of the early Italian prog scene, this album has it all-virtuoso sax and flute, a guitarist that can deliver riffs that explode out into the universe and acoustic guitar work that can bring you deep into yourself. It's highly recommended to all RPI fans, Hawkwind fans and fans of heavier prog. Great stuff.

So many sunsets......tonight....

4 stars

 Palepoli by OSANNA album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.24 | 438 ratings

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Palepoli
Osanna Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by zeuhl1
Collaborator RPI Team

5 stars I originally ran across this in the late 80's on its Japanese first CD issue. I only had a handful of Italian prog beyond PFM at that point, and had never heard of Osanna. At the time, I thought it was sort of a chaotic version of Jethro Tull, but delved into some unexplained madness from time to time. Thirty years later, I found this on vinyl, and dug out my CD to drive around to while playing the LP at home on the real sound system. What I found was that I had missed out on one of the most original Italian bands to come out of the RPI scene.

Like contemporaries Hawkwind in the UK and Plastic People of the Universe in Czechoslovakia, Osanna were into face painting, costumes and a theatrical bent to their rock and roll. Oh, and like those bands, sounding 'pretty' never is in the equation. Opener Oro Caldo has field recording sounds with acoustic percussion and flute on top. Are we in North Africa? A dark alley in Naples? It is but a short atmospheric introduction to the instant jolt of being thrust into the middle of a full on tarantella party already in progress that fades in rock and roll style. Pulsing and throbbing bass underpins a twin guitar attack backed by furious drumming. Some nice backwards guitar effects (rarely seen in RPI) transition us to a quieter room outside the lively party we visited in the opening sections. Acoustic guitars and flute create a gentle early Genesis pastoral mood. This is one of the few moments of pastoral RPI on the album, but already Osanna show they are capable of operating on a pretty high level-different styles can confidently come out of nowhere, where other bands in 1972 trying this can sound awkward shifting gears from one section to another. King Crimson and VDGG moods are brought in by a bit of chanting and heavy mellotron which kicks off another rock journey courtesy of guitarist Danilo Rustici. He duels in a breakneck section with flautist Elio d'Anna reminiscent of Jethro Tull after a quick shot of stimulants. David Jackson would be a strong influence on d'Anna, especially on side two. A lengthy heavy guitar solo transitions us unnoticeably to the second song (going by the LP lyric innersleeve), Stanza Citta. Distorted vocals a la Peter Hammill give this song a heavy VDGG feel. Their ability create that wailing that makes a song teeter on the edge of being out of control is captured nicely here. A transition to acoustic guitar with harpsichord and synth is only a brief interlude before another dose of even heavier VDGG madness-at this point they are almost closer to the Plastic People than Van der Graaf. If this riff was on a VDGG album, it would be hailed to this day as one of their crowning achievements-clattering nearly out of tune with synthesizers gurgling atonally but quietly...suddenly things go quiet. A backwards version of the beginning of the album fades in and out Beatles style while the acoustic accompaniment from the first minute of the album give us a symmetrical outro. Acid madness you rarely see in an Italian band. Overall, side one has thrown a mind boggling array of styles at the listener. A bit too harsh for pastoral fans, but my god this is some impressive stuff. How had I missed this 30 years ago? (answer: didn't listen all that closely)

Side two is where the fun really begins. Starting with a dark riff straight from the Plastic People's sax driven bag of tricks, the side long Animale Senza Respiro is the centerpiece of the album-it is easy to compare this to Plague of Lighthouse Keepers in a way, but this song goes far beyond the powerful madness of that classic. Atmospherics kick in quickly with gentle singing and arpeggiating guitar that with the addition of mellotron comes as close to PFM as they get on the album. More sax freak outs (nice through wah pedal-a Jackson and Nik Turner trick back in the day). A quick shift to a riff lifted from Wake of Poseidon keeps things moving. I need to stop here and point out that although many other bands are listed as reference, Osanna are greater than their parts. A little electronic breakdown from Space Ritual leads to an unrelated beautiful little pastoral acoustic guitar and vocal that bears little resemblance to the organized madness we have experienced so far. But we are once again dropped into the Hawkwind space cavern. (I had a friend who swore this was the Italian version of Hawkwind circa 1971, and Palepoli was his go to lava lamp watch the walls melt album much like Space Ritual was for the UK in the 70's). More delicate pastoral guitars, vocals and gentle flute and mellotron create another quick oasis of peace, but with these guys, it is usually the calm before the storm. Some beautiful choral harmonies show these guys could really sing well, though we don't get much more of a glimpse of the group vocal talents past this section. We aren't much more than halfway through this 22 minute song and a ridiculous amount of moods, tempo shifts, instruments and ideas have been thrust out-more than most RPI bands would use in a whole career. Heavy guitar comes back and the furious hybrid of VDGG/Plastic People takes over-with a raucous hint of what Area would bring to the table only a year later. A roller coaster multi vocalist tongue twister brings a strong Plastic People vibe over the opening theme of side two. It seems we are done, but a somber solo church organ leads to the final section grand finale like you would get in a movie. You have been on a full sensory overload trip. Stunning in conception.

During side two I thought 'I wish there was just a little more guitar" followed by the quite reasonable observations "where would they put it, it's already so crowded in there". The only knock on this would be the recording quality-some instruments tend to unintentionally fade into the background and get lost in this very busy mix.

Dense, rich, widely varying and sanity challenging stuff... this is definitely not for the timid. One of the more challenging and certainly perhaps the most rewarding album in all Italian rock.

5 stars almost is not enough for how good this record is. One of the top 5 albums in RPI without a doubt, and any fans of VDGG or the Plastic People should run out and get this immediately.

 Palepolitana by OSANNA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.46 | 78 ratings

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Palepolitana
Osanna Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars While Italian progressive rock band OSANNA was one of the hottest tickets on the Rock Progressivo Italiano (RPI) scene in the early 70s, the band pretty much fizzled out after their landmark masterpiece "Palepoli" unleashed in 1973 which after its release band infighting and musical interests ripped them apart. After a couple less than perfect albums that followed they called it quits, however lead singer Lino Vairetti has been trying mostly in vain to resurrect the band's original lineup ever since with a couple of lackluster albums in the early 21st century under the OSANNA name with different lineups. It took me by surprise that a good 42 years after the release of their most celebrated album "Palepoli" that Vairetti would put together a totally new lineup under the OSANNA moniker and not only release an album of new material but include a second disc which is a completely new recording of their 1973 classic. Cleverly titled PALEPOLITANA, this new album is clearly making references to those glory days in the hopes of reviving interest if not a bonafide rekindling of the past. While OSANNA in their heyday never consisted of more than five band members, this new era of the band consists of six official band members with an additional five guest vocalists and musicians including David Jackson of Van Der Graaf Generator on sax and flute.

Needless to say, i have never been a fan of albums such as "Landscape Of Life" and "Suddance" as they were very much downers after the progressive rock brilliance of "Palepoli" which has weaseled its way into my top 100 album list of all time (if listening time counts for these things.) So awaiting a new OSANNA album has never really been on my radar as i count them as down and out and nothing, absolutely nothing could ever rekindle the magic afoot on the first three albums which culminated on their third. And just as i predicted, after all the expectations that just maybe the unthinkable be true, turns out was just a false alarm. That's not to say PALEPOLITANA isn't a worthy effort by any means but certainly not the return to past glories that propelled them to the top of Italy's prog scene. Like the albums of the old days, all lyrics are sung in Italian just like a good Italian prog album should be. In fact i swear that Italians have immortal vocal chords because Vairetti sounds like he hasn't lost one little iota of his vocal prowess over the four decades since OSANNA was at their peak.

Disc One consists of the album PALEPOLITANA and despite a slow symphonic start that gave me a gut wrenching fear that the album was recorded in a nursing home somewhere outside of Naples complete with aging groupies to pick up any dentures that may have been spit out in the making of the album, i soon realized that in many ways Vairetti still has his magic mojo as one track after another churns out rather well polished addictive melodies completely frosted with Neapolitan folk hooks, heavy rock embellishments and gutsy sax and harmonica solos that harken to the good old days for the band. In fact, musically speaking, PALEPOLITANA is the best thing that has been put out under the OSANNA name SINCE "Palepoli." The disc is a varied one with a preponderance of Italian folk fueled rockers like "Santa Lucia," tender ballads such as "Anni Di Piombo" and more progressive hard rocking numbers such as the title track that is the one that most reminds me of past greatness. Perhaps the most out of character track on the entire disc is the super sappy "Canzone Amara" which is a duet between Vairetti and Sophya Baccini which makes me think of a winner of Italy's version of American Idol or even worse yet the worst of American AOR from the 80s.

Disc Two is a completely reworked and recorded version of "Palepoli." Ugh, i dreaded listening to this one. I mean, i can understand re-recording an album that you got wrong in the past but why in the world would you want to mar your magnum opus? Granted they tagged this on more as a bonus disc rather than an album itself but still?. WHY?!!!! Ok, after the shock and awe of knowing one of my favorite albums was about to be "updated" and presumably "perfected," i took a deep breath and then i pushed play. OK. It starts out similar. The notes seem to be all the same. The band really can keep up with the demanding frenetic workouts that this album contains BUT?. it's not the same of course. First of all, I DID NOT WANT a remake of "Palepoli." I DID WANT a remastering though. The differences are stark despite the band's best attempts to remain as faithful to the original as possible. While Vairetti absolutely nails his vocal parts to a T showing him to be a singer of the utmost caliber, the main problem is that this version lacks the crazy freneticism and spontaneity that the original displayed in full force. This new version sounds way too polished and the production is far too slick for its own good with subtle atmospheric embellishments creeping in and castrated guitar licks where once hyperactive jittery freak outs once existed. I should be clear that this is beautifully done. If this was the very first time i ever heard this, i'd give it four stars as it blows away almost anything of recent memory in compositional prowess. However, this is not the very first time and this version just doesn't hold a candle to the original as it is far too calculated and a "light" version of the past glory.

Overall, i'm conflicted about PALEPOLITANA. While my initial listen left me cold and i shelved it for over a year before i tackled it again, i have to say that a few more listens has left me with a warmer reception of it. I'm talking about the new tracks. The remake of "Palepoli" still rubs me the wrong way but i listened to it again for the sake of this review and while very well performed, seems by the numbers and lacks the fiery passion of the original. The main problem i have with PALEPOLITANA is not that it doesn't contain twelve beautifully crafted tracks that are catchy and well performed, it's more that OSANNA has always been a progressive rock band in my book and the progressive part is what's really on low flame on this one. This is more of a catchy pop rock type of album designed for some commercial crossover potential. While i'm not against that kind of music in any way, it has left me a little underwhelmed in this case simply because of the rekindled connections to the band's most prized contribution to the prog rock world. While i'm not sorry that i sought this out and have placed it in my collection, i at the same time can only consider this a very good supplemental album to my RPI collection and not essential in any way.

 Preludio, Tema, Variazioni, Canzona  [Aka: Milano Calibro 9 (OST)] by OSANNA album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.65 | 99 ratings

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Preludio, Tema, Variazioni, Canzona [Aka: Milano Calibro 9 (OST)]
Osanna Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Sandwiched between the group's energetic and eclectic debut "L'Uomo" and the progressive landmark album "Palepoli" which has immortalized them forever in the progressive rock history books was a short little album that has gone by two titles and barely clocks in over a half of an hour in running time. Originally released as PRELUDIO, TEMA, VARIAZIONI E CANZONA, this second album by OSANNA is actually a progressive rock soundtrack for the Italian film MILANO CALIBRO 9 which is also the second title that it has been released as. While credited as an OSANNA album proper as it is performed exclusively by the face-painting band from Naples, several of the tracks were written by the pianist and composer Luiz Enrique Bacalov who not only wrote several of the tracks but also tackled the arrangements as well as serving as director of the orchestrations.

Despite this not being a total-control type of OSANNA album and designed to serve the mood of the film (which i've never seen) it still sounds very much like the same musicians who performed on "L'Uomo" and "Palepoli." The film itself was based on the book of the same name CALIBRO 9 (meaning "caliber 9") and was about a small-time gangster who, once released from prison, had to convince the police, his friends and his girlfriend that he was going straight and done with the criminal world however everyone around him believes he has a stash of cash nearing the 300,000$ range hidden somewhere. The music is primarily instrumental with a couple tracks offering Lino Vairetti's signature vocal style. The music despite being suited for a soundtrack sounds very much like the eclectic OSANNA of the surrounding albums with Danilo Rustici's signature guitar riffing, Elio D'Anna's distinct flute and sax contributions and Massimo Guarino's equally unambiguous drum patterns.

Soundtracks are tricky beasts to rate and review since they are more often than not so inextricably intertwined with the theme and mood of the film in which they appear, so i personally have to have a connection with the music independently since a soundtrack without the film is and should be held up to scrutiny independently. This soundtrack to MILANO CALIBRO 9 certainly does just that. While i have no idea how it fits in to the movie itself, i actually find this one a beautiful listening experience. OSANNA may have fewer rocking moments compared to other albums as this one is very much a trade off of harder rock with symphonic classical orchestrated segments but it works quite successfully. While the classical parts may sound more like a generic soundtrack material, OSANNA more than adds enough of their idiosyncratic take on progressive rock so as to leave no doubt as to who the stars of this show are.

While based in a melodramatic classical style, OSANNA let's loose with raucous heavy rocking guitar and freaked out electronica. There are a number of effects like back masking that are quite effective and the OSANNA type song structures as heard on "L'Uomo" are plentiful. For me this one more than works as a musical statement outside of the context of the film's theme and delivers a very satisfying mix of stellar written tracks that take the approach of "L'Uomo" and create a fully formed fusion with classical soundtrack type score music. Nothing seems forced as the two styles play around together and except for the rather insipid ballad type vocal number "Canzona (There Will Be Time)" which ends the album, i'm actually quite fond of every other track. OSANNA would fizzle out quickly after "Palepoli" but on this one they still flaunt their musical mojo even if they weren't calling all the shots.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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