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MARIO BARBAJA

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Mario Barbaja biography
Mario Barbaja from Milan is another rather obscure artist from the 70s Italian scene, who made a little-known gem of an RPI album in 1972 called "Megh." His earlier album was described by ItalianProg.com as "a mainly acoustic work, based on guitar with some flute, sitar and percussion, in a sort of eastern-influenced psych/folk style", while later works were said to be much more commercial. "Megh" contained very unique singer-songwriter material and pumped it full of proggy attitudes, while employing a small army of superb Italian musicians of the day. The result is indeed an album with attitude, with a variety of styles and influences, and a solid, engaging dynamic. It featured some measures rock, folk, melodic pop, jazzy moments, and even avant music, in a work perhaps not obviously and overtly progressive, but enough so to be of great interest to RPI fans.
-Jim Russell/Finnforest

Mario Barbaja official website

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MARIO BARBAJA discography


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

2.82 | 2 ratings
Argento
1971
3.05 | 3 ratings
Megh
1972

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MARIO BARBAJA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Argento by BARBAJA, MARIO album cover Studio Album, 1971
2.82 | 2 ratings

BUY
Argento
Mario Barbaja Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by progadicto

3 stars More than a Folk than a Progressive album, Mario Barbaja's "Argento... Quando il Nostro Amore Diventa Libertą" it'sm a very romantic and quiet piece of 12 acoustic songs in which we can find some medieval inffluences, ballads and even Oriental sounds not just because the use of sitar but with the mixture of soft melodies into every song of the album.

Maybe "Argento..." doesn't had the musical weight of "Megh", the second and last album made by Barbaja, but it has some beautiful moments based on simple folk melodies leaded by acoustic guitar with a few sections in which we can also find flutes and othe strings instruments.

Some of the highlights are the opener Argento, La Canzone di Francesca (a beautiful and quiet ballad), Il Vento dell'Estate (maybe the best song of the album 'cos the lyrics and a soft and hypnotizing guitar melody), Il Mondo di Giulietta (a classic 70 RPI ballad!) and Nirvana, another soft but emotive acoustic song with some little prog moments...

Maybe not for every RPI fan, but without hesitation, a fine italian artist which has two of the most unknown Italian music gems of the 70...

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 Megh by BARBAJA, MARIO album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.05 | 3 ratings

BUY
Megh
Mario Barbaja Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Delightful soft-progressive, multi-styled obscurity.

Mario Barbaja from Milan is another rather obscure artist from the 70s Italian scene, who made this little-known gem in 1972. "Megh" contained very unique singer-songwriter material and pumped it full of proggy ingredients while employing a small army of superb Italian musicians of the day. The result is indeed an album with attitude, with a variety of styles and influences, and a solid, engaging dynamic. It featured some measures of rock, folk, melodic pop, jazzy moments, and even avant music, in a work perhaps not obviously and overtly progressive, but enough so to be of great interest to RPI fans. Following "Megh" Barbaja took to more commercial avenues but RPI fans would do well to hunt down this album at the least.

The album begins (and ends) with the sounds of childhood toys and haunting music box, giving the album a bit of an artsy touch, though I'm not sure if there is a lyrical concept to the songs. The music begins with some acoustic bluesy guitar work with a bit of a psych feel to it, then into clearly Italian folk territory on "Sono Stato" with its bouncy sing-along chorus. "Una Promessa" is an improvement with some lovely piano melody. "Tan" begins to show more progressive promise with some strange avant sound effects. "Non Dire Mai" is lovely soft-prog with mellotron behind it and romantic vocals. The two part "In Quella Citta" is the artistic RPI highpoint and centerpiece. The first part features warm acoustic rock with male and female vocals. The 2nd part is fantastic: an ambient, distant, longing piano begins, quickly changing to avant chaos. Flute and disjointed, trippy vocals join in. This changes back to the peaceful piano which is then joined by crying guitar leads and a thick, solid bass line. The song builds with alternating saxophone, violin, hand percussion, and assorted vocal weirdness. By the end of the song we are almost in Opus Avantra territory, but with a harder edge to the rhythm section. Then the prog edge gives way back to Italian melodic pop not so different from Battisti or Cat Stevens in "Sereno Qui."

In the end the album reminds me a bit of the recently reviewed Mario Panseri, along with artists like Claudio Fucci, even Giannini. It has a good mix of soft and rocking, mostly soft, with plenty of melody and measured doses of period weirdness. It is not here to compete with giants like Orme or Osanna in the hall of legends, but rather reside with the many lesser-known, less groundbreaking, but equally charming niches that prove what a well rounded experience RPI offers her fans. There are many, many interesting artists from the period who offered more modest variations to the grand sounds of the Bancos and Ballettos. They are not the place to start your RPI journey, but once you've heard the more obvious stuff, they still offer plenty of musical enjoyment.

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Thanks to Finnforest for the artist addition.

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