"Hotel Albania" - Opa Cupa

Opa Cupa
Irene Lungo - Photo C. Luino


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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 latest 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.