Opa cupa (read: opa tzupa), is an urgent call to the dance of South-East European gypsies. This musical project got started in the south of Italy (Salento) and is directed towards the research of the repertoire of Balkan music. All the music and lyrics are written by Cesare Dell'Anna, who mixes vibrant jazz and typical traditional band music from South Italy, creating something new and original. Don't call this project Balkan, because is it something more than that.
Musicians coming from different cultures (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Algeria, Bulgaria, Morocco, Romania and South Italy) gather around the leader: Cesare Dell'Anna (trumpeter), and creates a truly festive atmosphere. The irregular rhythms are strongly influenced by several styles, creating a vibrant
kaleidoscope of sounds and brilliant moments of pure musical- and technical interpretation. Opa Cupa also incorporates ethnic experiences, resulting in a fusion and elaboration of fast <estams> and <horos>, with irregular and odd rhythms.
Moments of improvisation have been introduced into the popular structures where a jazz attitude takes advantage in the articulation of the phrase, clustering suddenly, <in-tune> situations dissonantly performed by the brass band.
The musical elaborations become the theme of the party, accompanied by ancient epic songs and slow ballads accelerated according to the gypsy style.
Opa Cupa's second record "Hotel Albania" (an 11/8 Records production) fully represents the style, element and sound changes that the Salento- Afro Balkan band has made since the release of their first record "Live in Contrada Tangano". The new record has many guests: the trumpet player Riccardo Pittau (Sardinia), Ivo Iliev, sax (Bulgaria), Marian Serban and Relu Merisan, cimbalom (Romania), DJ Trinketto, turntables (Salento, Italy), Guergue Gueguev, percussion (Bulgaria), Eugene Luca, trombone (Romania), Irene Lungo, voice, Mauro Durante, percussion (Salento, Italy), Fabrice Martinez, violin and Alexandra Bejaurd, fisa (France), the Albanian pianist Ekland Hasa, the outstanding presence of great clarinettist Yasko Arghirov and his accordionist Slavko Lambov (Bulgaria) in a live track fortuitously improvised at Albania Hotel during the summer of 2002. The new tracks keep a strong liaison with the Balkan tradition, even if they are being enriched even more by a medley of Salentinian and African music traditional sounds, obtained by playing Salentinian bell tambourines, and Algerian karkabu and beendire.
In some tracks of the new Opa Cupa record, jazz patterns are unexpectedly mixed with traditional gypsy irregular tempo, while DJ Trinchetto harmonizes his bizarre tricks on the record player with the strong impact of woodwind and brass, which play some Balkan traditional pieces with "ska upon irregular tempo" arrangements.