Simona Barbera - Mirto / CD
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Simona Barbera
Mirto (Heaven and Earth)

A powerful and inspired Italian singer, born in Genoa and residing in Sicily, Barbera offers a daring reinvention of 'an imaginary Sicily' that is rich in tradition but far from traditional. Performed a capella or accompanied primarily by percussion or piano, these songs lit, roar and shreik across the imagined landscape, reinventing old themes as contemporary art.

This is a serious, demanding work... The listener is greatly rewarded for that effort by a strong musical work, a song-cycle rather than just a collection of songs and tunes. Barbera cajoles emotions out of us, out of the songs and out of the protagonists in them and then brings them all together to materialize her vision of Sicily as a place at the crossroads of traditions, time, and strong but good-hearted people... If you are prepared to leave your presuppositions at the door, this is a record that will offer rewards for a long time. - RootsWorld, Nondas Kitsos

Her compositions belong stylistically to the female lamenti, whose origins lie in the Greek tradition of the island: sweet, slowly flowing melodies, fervent prayers, wailing laments, and screams bordering on madness. With great clarity Simona Barbera's strong, expressive voice winds its way toward her goal: eternal, ecstatic pain... but she picked up the most important element of her voice from Sicilian traditions: "the vibrato is the characteristic feature of female singing there!". And Simona Barbera has mastered it with great temperament, expressively accompanied by the sparing key strokes of her partner, pianist Irene Vannucci. - Blue Rhythm, Uli Lemke

..."Mirto" is her vision of Sicily - of a land full of mysteries and contradictions. Simona Barbera takes her audience with her on a journey to a universe in which all kinds of emotions are allowed, as long as they are authentic. - Folker, Ulrike Klausmann

The record label says:
The album Mirto is a homage to Simona Barbera's imaginary Sicily!

Born in Genoa to Sicilian immigrant parents, Simona Barbera grew up surrounded by music. Her grandfather's songs were still alive in the daily life of her family in the northern Italian harbor city. On Sicily he was considered - as were many other troubadours - to be a custodian of religious powers and musical master of ceremonies of the mysteries of sacred festivals and big family celebrations.

The objective of this multimedia artist is to bring truly new, fantastic life into Sicilian traditions; to give the soul of this magical island in the southernmost part of Italy a contemporary, artistic expression. On Mirto, she shows herself to be a true shaman in her work with sounds, harmonies, rhythm and language: no element of the poetic lyrics - in the ancient Sicilian language is accidental. No breath and no compositional fragment is unintentional. Everything supports the vision of driving the singing, as if in a dialogue with birds, to a climax - like the most intimate union with nature. Every icy-metallic wail avoids with soothing tenderness the stale opinions about Sicilian character, and is a modern expression of the deepest, universal suffering and pure pleasure; is devotion and ecstasy, humility and madness.

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