Epifani Barbers - Marannui - CD
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Epifani Barbers
Marannui (Forrest Hills, Italy)

Mimmo Epifani and his ensemble of singers and musicians pay tribute to the soul of the taranta and the region of Salento of Italy.

Ci criti o non ci criti

Mimmo Epifani and his band of Barbers have created one of the best records of the year: This is by turns a bellyaching funny, heartwarmingly emotional, deeply political, majestically satirical and always perfectly executed record that belongs in the musical vanguard while being deeply rooted in tradition. - Nondas Kitsos, RootsWorld

Here's a really promising Italian debut that should appeal to readers who've enjoyed Eugenio Bennato & Taranta Power. The main man of this new outfit, mandola player and singer Mimmo Epifani, previously worked alongside Bennato in Musicanova, and Marannui is another take on mixing up the taranta of Puglia with immigrant things. The straighter taranta stuff like 'Ci Criti O Non Ci Criti' blazes away with an earthy funkiness - and elsewhere there are elements of everything from rap and balkanisms (a nice touch of cymbalom from Marian Serban), flamenco, café jazz, Arabic tinges and a central African flavour on 'Unenosapistacuiet' that wouldn't sound that out of place next to Baka Beyond. Strongest track is probably the driving "Cinq." The barber reference in their name is to the barber shops in the Salento region where musicial traditions were held and passed on, and Epifani himself first learned the mandolin as a boy, it holds that down-home feel... - Ian Anderson, fRoots

Press from the artists:
Taranta, a southern Italian tradition combining music, movement and folklore, is becoming increasingly popular and intriguing. Among the many new elements celebrating Taranta, is the new project undertaken by Forrest Hill Records and released into the sultry summer of Puglia, from whence its creator hails. In a blend of tradition and innovation that we've come to expect from Forrest Hill, comes MARANNUI from Mimmo Epifani and the Epifani Barbers. A tribute to the TARANTA and the rich land of the Salento, a corner of southern Italy bursting with warmth, history, colour and flavour.

It was here, actually in the barber shop belonging to Maestro Costantino, where Mimmo Epifani, as a boy, began to learn to play the mandolin, discovering a passion for the musical traditions passed down from one generation to the next. Upon completing his studies of the mandolin at the Padova Conservatory, he began to collaborate with such artists as Antonio Infantino and Caterina Bueno; the Compagnia Media Etas del Maestro De Simone and with Eugenio Bennato with whom he participated in Musicanova, reaching an artistic apex and travelling the world over on tour.

With this new piece, Mimmo Epifani introduces us to the barber as holder of traditions and secrets to the music of his region. This was one among many of the fundamental roles the barber held in the Salento. The barber would share the local guitar-playing technique of "pizzica-pizzica" with the next generation, his role in the proliferation of tradition tantamount to that of the Irish Pub to the growth and continuation of Celtic Music.

What comes through is an entertaining piece, never over-emotional. Au contraire, we can see a look to the future, where the repertoire gives us renewed elegance in its composition (Amsterdam by Patrizio Trampetti and Vientu) and with the attractive and intense vocals of FRANCO CASTIGLI and MANUELA LOFFREDO. Also noteworthy, the rhythms that carry you away without ever transforming the piece to solely a dance, or presumably therapeutic, piece. The valuable quality of such composition lies, in fact, in the delicate balance struck between ritual catharsis and modern melody.

Composer of the music and author of the lyrics (often with amusing allusions to tradition, as in Lu re, Duluri), MIMMO EPIFANI's picking as a true virtuoso is never overshadowed but enhanced by the many elements that weave an ensemble of power-packed music to discover. Of these, the mysterious lexicon (Uenosapistacuiet) and a careful eye towards the mother of all magical tradition (Africa); the rhythmic weavings sometimes reminiscent of Rap and supported by the ethnic percussion instruments of MASSIMO CUSATO and by GIUSEPPE "GEPPINO" LAUDANNA's accordion playing (Geppino Laudanna is also co-author and arranger of the music on the album) and on the essential rhythm surrounding the whole thing, given by JOE DE MARCO on electric bass.

The album, produced by Forrest Hill Records, was recorded in its entirety at Casa Albertina in Montecatini Alto, in occasion of the first editino of ALTRONDA and it was presented for the joy of the public at the Notte della Taranta, in the Salento, at a concert held by Epifani Barbers.

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