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Barabba biography
Barabba is the name given to this one album project, led by former CIRCUS 2000 and LIVING LIFE guitarist Marcello "Spooky" Quartarone. Together with several musicians from the Italian JRF scene (Arturo Vitale and Giovanni Vigliar from ARTI E MESTIERI; Piercarlo Bettini, Sandro Gianotti, and Gianni Bianco from LIVING LIFE; and Max Aimone from VENEGONI & CO.), Spooky composed this religious work entitled "Canti del Vangelo Secondo Barabba" ("Songs from the Gospel According to Barabbas"). The musicians were joined by several Christian students providing some of the vocals.

Concerning the project, Spooky had this to say: "The Gospel According to Barabbas is the Gospel read by young people in difficulty, not with words but with facts of their lives. The album is a song in two voices: the lives of these young people are intertwined with the life of Christ and becomes a cry of hope."

Musically, the work does not resemble the previous style of the musicians, but is one of the more experimental, avant-garde type entries in the Rock Progressivo Italiano archives. There is acoustic and electric guitar, piano, keyboards, violin, bass, drums and several percussion elements. There is a Middle Eastern feel in several portions, and the vocals alternate between male, female, and group. The album was never released on CD and only had a limited press of LPs. This is one of those obscure gems that needs some digging to find, but is well worth the effort.


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2.52 | 6 ratings
Canti del Vangelo Secondo Barabba

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 Canti del Vangelo Secondo Barabba by BARABBA album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.52 | 6 ratings

Canti del Vangelo Secondo Barabba
Barabba Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Obscure one-shot Italian project, led by ex-Circus 2000 and Living Life guitarist Marcello Quartarone, based on religious themes and reputedly containing lyrics written by children.The line-up was impressive with Maurizio Gianotti on sax, Piercarlo Bettini on keyboards and Gianni Bianco on bass, all members of Living Life, Venegoni & Co.'s drummer Max Aimone and Arturo Vitale/Giovanni Vigliar on sax and violin respectively, coming from Arti & Mestieri.Their sole album ''Canti dal Vangelo secondo Barabba'' was released on the unknown Elledici label, which seemed to be a publisher for the Catholic Church.

This is not your typical Italian product and considering the fact that most members had a strong Jazz background the listener would expect something close to Progressive Jazz Rock, but that's not the case here, because ''Canti dal Vangelo secondo Barabba'' blends religious-inspired vocal textures with jazzy improvisations and strong psychedelic and Folk influences in a rather disjointed work with a tendency towards experimental forms along the lines of early ALAN SORRENTI or FRANCO BATTIATO, who's first works seems to be the closest comparisons.A couple of pieces are quite interesting with haunting Mediterrenean soundscapes combined with strong Fusion instrumentals in tight electroacoustic arrangements, but the vocals are questionable with dark narrations and choirs throughout.Violin and acoustic guitars explores more folky territories, while Bettini's organ and electric piano next to the saxes deliver the occasional jazzy touches.However the overall mix is not very cohesive, although the music content is quite strong.Rural passages break into stretched jazzy lines, followed by minimalistic movements.And add to all these the ethereal female choirs.Deep inside, this album has some great potential and the Fusion vibes in particular are pretty interesting with decent sax and bass work.But the coherence is just not there, so this could be fully appreciated, presenting a very unusual sound with unrelated music sources.

Rare and obscure Italian Prog/Folk/Jazz Rock.Very loose and weirdly melodramatic, I can see Avant Prog fans enjoying this a lot more than lovers of Italian Prog.Recommended for collectors of experimental prog enviroments...2.5 stars.

 Canti del Vangelo Secondo Barabba by BARABBA album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.52 | 6 ratings

Canti del Vangelo Secondo Barabba
Barabba Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Another obscure and original RPI gem

While early RPI bands loved their British heroes, particularly the dark, difficult, and heavy textures of VDGG and Deep Purple in my opinion, they took the influences of those bands and created highly diverse and original material throughout the following years. As the site genre definition notes there's a unique sound stamp, musical depth, and independence to the RPI bench which becomes apparent after you listen to the hundreds of lesser known albums...get past believing that PFM alone represent RPI. The genre is very far from wannabe British clone. Here is another of so many cases in point. Barabba is an obscure Turin-based project spearheaded by Circus 2000 guitarist Marcello "Spooky" Quartarone and features musicians from Arti & Mestieri, Living Life, and Venegoni & Co. Quartarone's music was married to lyrics written by students in an attempt to create a conceptual album based on Gospel themes. Little other information is out there concerning the project, though be sure to review Todd's bio for what he dug up.

This is one of my favorite kinds of Italian rock album: relatively minor obscurities which flew below the radar of the larger symphonic bands but are just as fascinating to me. Things like Paciana Story and Nascita Della Sfera are wonderful while getting almost no attention. They are truly fun to delve into despite being generally lower in production quality, often sounding like hobbyist projects to some degree. Here the musicians have some decent chops but it sounds like the vocalists may be primarily amateurs, especially the female choir vocals. They are not bad however and are very enjoyable to me. The music is sort of a dark and strange fusiony thing with some spaciness and occasional folk elements, with a most wonderful and obvious Italian flavor. There is also a good shake of the avant-garde seasoning so prevalent in many of these Italian oddities. It's weird and unconventional, but given we're talking 1977 here I'll take this over Locanda Delle Fate in a heartbeat personally. Primary instruments are guitar/bass/drums but there are nice string parts and the ambitious layered vocal arrangements for a bold presentation. Aside from some trippy synth noises the album is very light on keyboards, yet its strangeness somehow tempers how much you miss it. Bits of jazzy brass and frequent acoustic guitar presence round out the unusual concoction. The religious themes of the lyrics are obvious even to those of us who don't understand Italian. As strange as something like Jacula but without the darkness pervasive in that music.

If you are a hard core fan of the RPI musical genre you will want to hear this. I love it even though it is something of a niche recording. The wonderful album cover art is pure 70s RPI which is worthy of its own book of album art.

Thanks to Todd for the artist addition.

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