Global Village Index | my email | music sources | Review Index
Distributed by Disque Concorde & Albiana 97
Malcom Bothwell: viol de gamba, piano
Marcel Geraldi: bass
Vincent Geraldi: drums
Jacques Nobill: trombone
Laurent Barbolosi: vocals
Ugo Casalonga: cetera
Céccé Guironnet: wind instruments & vocals
Etienne Millie: percussion
Stefanno Puddu: violin
|I do not know why I have a fascination
for Corsica--the history, the people and most importantly the music.
I have never been there, so it cannot be for that reason. All I know
is that the very first time I heard Corsican music with the all women's
acapella group, Donnisulana, I knew I wanted to hear more.
When Tinder Records released Petru Guelfucci's recording simply titled
Corsica, I began my search for more of this compelling music. Then
into my life came I Muvrini's À Bercy at a time when I was ill.
I would drag myself to work and come home and immediately go to bed. Normally,
when I am at home, music is the background to which I live my life.
But while I was ill everything I tried to listen to actually hurt, except
I Muvrini's À Bercy. That did it. I began to search out more
and more of their music and the music of the "island of beauty" even though
with my minimal income I could not really afford to do so. Never
mind, sometimes one just has to live for the luxuries and let the necessities
take care of themselves.
Zamballarana has to be one of the most interesting and unique groups that I have heard recently from Corsica or from anywhere else. Sure, they use traditional Corsican style singing--but their rhythms and their instrumentation are very different from any other Corsican band that I have heard. To my ears, it sounds like they have taken their rhythmic influence from Brazilian samba, Africa, and jazz. The combination is an amazing blend of outstanding Corsican singing, arrangements and rhythms. Their use of horns and percusssion is a brilliant addition to their polyphonic singing. The album begins with Zia Maria, with its horns and swaying samba rhythms through to the very beautiful renaissance sounding Ventu, the African influenced Banghiagliacciu, the big drums and carnival feeling of their self-titled track Zamballarana and ending with the lovely bird call of Nome Balanina. Zamballarana has created a recording of near perfection evoking the music of an island that is open to the influences of the rest of the world without losing the integritiy of their own traditions.
Most of the members of Zamballarana are veterans of other Corsican bands--both traditional and contemporary. They are extraordinarily talented and creative musicians as well as vocalists. Their lead singer, Jerome Casalonga, is the composer for the band. Unfortunately, the c.d. I had was borrowed from a friend and came without liner notes, so I do not know if the songs are translated from the Corsican into french and/or english. I can only tell from the sound of the music and the singing that they are deeply beautiful and poetic. I highly recommend seeking out their music--and of course the music of my spiritual home--Corsica. This is not an easy task; but well worth it.