Agricantus, one of Italian world beat historic bands, is back on the road again. With their new line-up, the band is better than ever. I went to one of their concerts recently, and all is there: the energy, the alchemy between the performers, and a more acoustic sound. In fact, the music swings like crazy. Catch them now and spread the word!
I have been listening to music for more than 40 years, from traditional music to jazz, from progressive rock to electronica. And I've seen many great concerts, both of big names and smaller ones.
In the middle of the nineties, during a trip to Rome, I remember buying a compilation CD of Italian music. One of the tracks was from the multi-award album Tuareg by Agricantus. I found the combination of sounds, voices, instruments amazing. This band was able to transport the listener to unknown territories. Hailing from Palermo, Sicily, they had traveled to the desert and immersed themselves in the local culture. Then, they recorded some material with local musicians and female singers. This happened long time before a trip to Mali became a fashion among world and roots music aficionados. .
At this stage, I wanted to see the band live. I traveled to Matera where they had a concert. Unfortunately, the gig was canceled at the last minute. It's only in 2008 that I finnaly got a chance to see the band live. It was for an intimate concert (300 people) held on a wine farm. The performance was impressive including a high level of virtuosity. The mix between melodic songs, kicking tunes and techno-ambient atmospheres was terrific. It was really lovely and, like me, the audience remained enthusiastic.
In 2012, I got to know personally one of the founders of the band, Mario Crispi. He told me a bit of the situation of the band and that they were looking for a new direction. They were not out of steam, and were working on a new album. Turnari (CNI) was released in 2014 and can be considered a transtion album. There are some really good tracks on the album and the band demonstrated they had still something to say. Despite I loved the album, which is a collection of songs in Sicilian language, I thought it was lacking some emotional warmth.
Then, in 2017 I received a call from Mario. He was inviting me to come and see their new live performance 'Akoustikos'. As the concert was taking place not that far from my home in Sicily, I decided to go. What a wonderful surprise!
With the amazing Anita Vitale on lead vocal and Rhodes piano, and with Enzo Rao on violin, the band presented their new material in a more acoustic and jazz format. Very interesting, well-crafted and highly enjoyable however!
Agricantus are: Mario Crispi (archaic wind instruments, vocals, effects), Mario Rivera (bass, vocals), Giovanni Lo Cascio (drums), Anita Vitale (lead vocal, piano, effects), Enzo Rao (violin).
Booking enquiries (2017/18):
Eric E. van Monckhoven
article posted by:Eric van Monckhoven, Music4you + World Music Lab