Elva Lutza | Elva Lutza

ReMusic Record
22.09.2012..

I have attended many concerts in my life, but this one was amazing. For twenty days, every evening, I have felt the urge of playing the same record and the day after I have found myself humming the tracks. By the way, the record is in Sardinian dialect and I have been in Sardinia only on holiday or for sport meetings. Well, I have the strong feeling of having met something important.

 

Everything buds from the oppressive heat of the seventh African anticyclone of this summer, when my dear friend Marcello De Dominicis, musicologist, researcher of folk music, as well as singer and promoter of folk events, tells me that at the cultural centre Rosa del Deserto in Latina, there is the concert of the Elva Lutza. Marcello knows my musical inclinations and since I consider him my twin, being born on the same day, I consider his call an enforcement order.

 

As happens in David Cronenberg’ Dead Ringers, where the emotions, the suffering and the twin joys are lived by one person only, on the night of 23th August, sharp on time, I seat in the first row, two meters from the stage. I never stop to thank Marcello because, notwithstanding a mediocre service and the continuous movement of the audience, I have been so lucky to attend one of the most involving and exciting concert of the last years. I am talking of real magic, like the name of the band meaning “magic grass”.

 

Actually, it is just a duo. Nico Casu, on trumpet and voice, has a background of collaborations with artists such Daniele Sepe, Nuova Compagnia di Canto Popolare, Orchestra Jazz della Sardegna, Gang, Roberto de Simone. Gianluca Dessì on guitar and bouzouki, with a background of prestigious experiences within ethno-folk music. Nico is a fine and ironic storyteller, he uses his splendid voice like an instrument: calm and reflective when he introduces the schedule tracks, modulated and deep in singing. Gianluca is more master, in physical symbiosis with his guitar. Elva Lutza won the Parodi Award 2011 with the piece Deo torro. They have just released their first homonymous album, distributed in Italy, Spain and Germany.

 

The CD has been produced by S’Ardmusic and distributed by Egea, a label very famous in the audiophile world for the quality of its proposals and the extreme care of the recordings. On par with the concert, the CD is wonderful and widens the geographic/artistic dimensions of its folk matrix.

Nico tells us about the Shardana, a people settled in Sardinia during the Nuraghe epoch, also famous for being capable warriors and extraordinary merchants. In fact, the blue-fish of Sardinia keeps its etymologic and structural integrity from Portugal to Lebanon, from the African coasts to the Scandinavian ones.

There are Shardana linguistic trails in Crete, or in Greece: just think about the sardonic laugh of Ulysses, quoted by Homer in the Odyssey, or the sardonic thorn of his son Telagonus. It is possible that these proud navigators have also left proto-musical trails, from the Balkans to the north of France, testified by the fact that the Rumanian doina, or the Breton gavotte, have a harmonic structure very similar to the Sardinian vocal and instrumental traditions.

 

The work is markedly island in the mother-lyrics but free under the compositional, musical and iconographic aspects. Deo torro (Return), the winner of the Parodi Award, is freely inspired to the sonnet El regreso by Federico Garcia Lorca: Yo vuelvo por mis alas - !Dejadme volver!... The lyricism of this piece, that won the persecution of Franco’s censure, lights itself up on the waving crest of an arpeggio suspended in the air, on which inserts a horning theme of extended notes out of focus that gives the sense of the distance, and Casu’s voice recites the invocation of the return.

Amada gioventude is a hymn to the dissolved and admired youth, through a cantato with tremolo effect counterpointed by a precise and solid accompaniment.

In Doina noa we find the geographical references mentioned before. The Doina is a Romanian musical style typical of the peasant music as well as of Kletzmer’s. Similar tunes are widespread in all East Europe, in the Balkans, in Albania, Algeria and north India. It was Bela Bartok to discover it, in 1912, in the north of Transilvania, attributing Arab-Persian roots to it. The trumpet dictates the theme in a crescendo of quick and obsessive notes that form cyclic tonal circles. These are typical of the East-European dances, with the guitar alternating accompaniment chords and brass syntonic solos, and then fading in the next track. Maked’oro, is inspired by the story of a Bulgarian revolutionary. La ferita (The wound) opens the series of the collaborations. The author of the piece is Pippo Kaballà, who interprets it in a vocal duo with Casu. Massimo Germini is on the classic guitar and Gianluca Dessì on bouzouki. La faura is an homage to Andrea Parodi, the author. It is an ironic piece on the art of telling and on the importance of the fabula, also if it is just a simple carol on a gnìaula female cat, who jumps from a table to a barrel and vice versa. Complas de purim is a top song and features Ester Formosa, Catalan singer and actress, daughter of the poet Feliu and the actress Maria Plans. Her repertory has always a high literary value, both when faces the Mediterranean song and the South American song. In this occasion she undertakes, well helped by Nico, a piece of the Sephardic tradition with her peculiar vocal timbre, powerful and vibrating, although extremely female and of total identification. Bouzouki and guitar express with a pressing rhythm: the trumpet inserts in counter tone, with dissonant and shrill extensions.

After Cupido aet sa chiterra, where an odd Cupid instead of arrows manoeuvres a guitar, the record proposes Abballu, classic example of ballo tundu, played in arpeggio by Dessì with a guitar in open EAAEAE tune. Aching is the duet between Nico and Elena Ledda in No poto, no potes that tells the passion that swept away all things, from the conventions represented by a ring and an altar, to the lightning, the hail and the snow. Imperious the final Sa Mama. A guitar starts very cadenced and the dancing trumpet suddenly clouds and prepares the ground for the absolute representation of pain, embodied by Mary that suffers the killing of the son Jesus as seven swords had stabbed her hearth. The ending part regains rhythm and instrumental brightness, giving the perception of a soundtrack composed for the celebration of a dramatic ritual, although evangelic and redeeming.

 

When the record quietens, you feel like just coming back from an imaginary journey, from far and mysterious words, aware of incredible stories and kaleidoscopic sounds linked by a cosmic cord. It is impossible to label this work. It is a container where live together fun and drama, irony and pain, Balkan, Irish, Breton, North African, Spanish, Sicilian and Neapolitan music. Every note is veined with the blood of Sardinia, seen not as caput mundi, but as a connection, collector of all folk types of music, in an artistic afflatus that overcomes every physical, linguistic and cultural barrier, to become really music of the world.

If it is true that the absolute happiness does not exist, this record will give you a hint, thanks also to a top audiophile recording.

I am sure that Elva Lutza will soon pick up the fruits of their work and see unanimously recognized their immense artistic calibre. I have already done it.

I have no doubt, it is a ReMusic Record!

 

 

Elva Lutza

Elva Lutza

S’Ardmusic/Egea

CD

Total time 45’19’’

2012

by Giuseppe Trotto
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