Lu - Rumi
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cd cover Lu (aka Luisa Cottifogli)
Rumi (Forrest Hill)

Italian singer and composer Cottifogli returns in 2006 with a shorter name and a new solo project that expands on the explorations started in her superb (and sadly, out of print) Aio nene. Innovative arrnagements that delve into the 21st century via ancient roots are executed by a fine ensemble of piano, percussion, chitarra battente, guitars, flutes, electronics, reeds and strings, all focused on one of Italy's finest young voices. A heavier emphasis on samples and electronics is balanced by chorale vocals, classical strings and a total awareness of the roots of the music, be they sacred or profance. This is a unique and challenging recording that offers new rewards with each listen.

La sighela
Casteina blanca
La ninan cuntenta
Sancta Maria
Musicians: Lu (Luisa Cottifogli) (voice , vocals) - Leo Z (acoustic piano, keyboards, electronics, programming) - Fabio Tricomi (chitarra rinascimentale, recorder, whistle, celtic harp) - Matteo Scaioli (tabla) - Bruno Farinelli (drums) -Angie Passarella (banjo, electric and acoustic guitar) - Devis Mariotti (alto flute, flute) - Giulio Ciofini (clarinet, bass clarinet) - Enrico Guerzoni (Cello) - Francesco Sotgiu (drums and percussions) - Gavino Murgia (launeddas, vocals, soprano saxophone, duduk) - S .Martino Small Ensemble (strings)

Press info from the record label:
A profusion of ideas, artistic curiosity, a wealth of inventiveness are Lu's most salient qualities, with the melodic curve of her splendid, full, warm, voice veined with infinite nuances and the geniality of her phrasing the trademarks of her performances with Marlevar and Quintorigo.

In this new Cd, Rumě, Lu broadens her “conceptual” horizons, paying great attention to the development of new techniques while preserving the fundamental bases of her singing style.

To enjoy all of this, it suffices to listen to the beautiful “Sancta Maria”, a prayer, capable of lulling listeners with the power of its archaic, millenary charm, or to submit to the sound of the particularly delicate “Nord” and “Fola”, full of the magic light of a hidden source.

If songs like “La Sighela” or “lo lo lo” strike us with their rhythmic impact, in “Fe la Nana” Lu reaches the blissful state of samadhi. Delicate strokes of colour are the highlight of the delightful “Dirindena” while “Rumě” represents a veritable union between sentiment and representation.

Lu has drawn inspiration from the ancient texts and poetry of her region, turning the local dialect into a universal language. The highly refined composer Leo Z , took these brief themes and arranged them, creating pulsations, structures, the harmonisations, generating the songs in a splendid blend of contemporary, ethnic, sacred, pop and electronic.

Against the backdrop of restless musical meanderings through time and space, amid a turmoil of fragrances, lies the Mediterranean, with its waves shuffling and confusing the cards of life. Thus, Lu's singing becomes an invisible bridge uniting distant shores which the Rumě, the restless wanderer, mellows and nourishes with his poetry and his sagacious folly.

An interview

The Indian Journalist Niranjan Jhaveri is a curious character divided between New York and Mumbay (Bombay). He organizes the Jazz Yatra Festival, one of the most important musical appointments held every year in Delhi, Pune, Mumbay and in other big cities of India. His great passion for jazz drives Niranjan Jhaveri all around the world to follow concerts and musicians. With the collaboration of Indian artists, once a year he selects the best vocalists from the globe to introduce them to Indian singing. In 1998 Niranjan Jhaveri met Lu - Luisa Cottifogli - and he was impressed from the inflexion of her voice, from the smoothness of her vocal agility. Lu wan a scholarship and moved to Mumbay where for long time she studied the Indian vocal repertoire and she performed in various concerts. The public feedback was very warm, local press spent a lot of words on her talent.

“It was a great experience to be at the other part of the world, in the caos of Mumbay with its million of human beings in no-stop frantic flow. Men and women like industrious ants that move among skyscrapers, crumbling buildings, luxury hotels and endless bidonville with cardboard houses and nylon sacks. After first days shock, I decided to go out of Oberoi Hotel, where I performed some nights a week, to give myself in Indian reality. Train travels to reach my singing teacher spread very soon to impredictable destinations. I met ” by chance” who I wanted to meet and saw what I wanted to see, thanks to “destiny” that answer on time to your interior questions, that follows us every where, but that reveals itself so clear and intense only in countries as India.”

Among Lu's memories there's that one with the Worli community, thanks to the contact with an anthropologist, and the “casual” meeting with a woman on a train on the Deccan Highland, that host her for a night at home to introduce her a singing teacher, who offer her an educated singing lesson and mystic meditation in the night silence of the place.

“When it was time to leave he recommends to me to practise a simple excercise that in some way changed my idea on singers. Apart from technical exercises and virtuosity on which is based classical western music, he suggested me, once back home, to sing a note, my note for half an hour a day, concentrating on the production of this sound, to understand always where I am and what I am doing.”

Once in Italy, Lu devote herself to the first experience of composition with “Alň Nenč: vengo dal nord ma sono del sud”, it came out like a flood thanks to the trip in India. The subtitle is really appropriate for her, born in Trentino from slavish mother native of Friuli and father native of the Marches, grew up in Emilia Romagna. “I feel very southern, both for climate and culture.” For the realization of “Alň Nenč” Lu collected dialectal tracks learned in childhood and others discovered during her frequentations with musicians as Fabio Tricomi, Sicilian, excellent poli-instrumental, expert in ancient repertoire and music from the south of the world. “Then I added sound and text fragments discovered on publications of great ethno-musicologist such as Pietro Sassu and Roberto Leydi”. She likes to speak about “Alň Nenč” as a miracle happened thanks to the contact with high-level musicians like Fabio Tricomi, Simone Zanchini, Enrico Guerzoni, Matteo Scapoli, Carlo Cantini e Gabriele Bombardini.

In the same year 1998, ORF - Austrian national radio - organized some broadcasting dedicated to Italian popular music and Lu has been invited together with Mancuso Brothers and other renowned guests. “I couldn't believe that they had asked for me since that I was involved in jazz and other musical traditions.” After the concert in ORF auditorium in Wien and various repetitions, “Alň Nenč” was recorded in Gabriele Bombardini's studio. It took two days, like a live, supported by the magnificent registrations of Carlo Cantini, and his fantastic improvisations with the violin.

“Rumě, from popular melody to the rhythmic essence of contemporary music”

In parallel to her artistic activity, Lu teaches vocal technique. Once, one of her student showed to her a publication on popular traditions of Romagna by G. Bellosi and G. Quondamatteo. “Step by step I was even more interested in what I was reading and I discovered real marvels of my land that I didn't know before, cause to the local language that anybody had never spoken at home. I came to know that a lot of dialectal compositions were written, important and magnificent like the official Italian poetry, on the contrary just for the dialect they earn that immediacy that official writing doesn't posses. From Olindo Guerrini to Aldo Spallicci, from Nettore Neri to Lino Guerra to homonumous Tonino and great Eraldo Baldini. It's an extraordinary poetry, rich of capacity for gesticulation, irony and sincere interiority. In the Italian translation, necessary to go beyond the regional bounds, it looses certain slang and musicality of dialect.”

This musicality, inherent to the broken words, adapted perfectly to the contemporary sounds of what after is become “Rumě”. Lu discovers also popular orations selected by Umberto Toschi. “A religiosity that I can never imagine especially in this “red” and anticlerical region, pitiful prayers and legendary interpretations of saints' life. In my searching I came to know of Rumě of Santa Mareja, that I had already met in Beppe Bellosi notes and in Francesco Balilla Pratella writings.”

Francesco B. Pratella, Mascagni's pupil, in his activities of composition and musical research at the beginning of 1900, joined the futurist current but keeping in strict contact with his regional traditions (he was born in Lugo di Romagna).

“I knew Balilla Pratella since my lyric studies at the Bologna Conservatory and since then I was interested in this character divided between future and experimentation and past melodies. After several years I met the same author through his passages of ethno-musicology and his collections of melodies and arrangements of regional tracks from Romagna. He spokes about Rumě as a character still alive in people memories, tall and curved, with pig face in his black mantle, lonely with his stick, followed at his arrival in village by children, who sing-song in markets and fairs his Mary adoration.

Instead I knew Beppe Bellosi first by his writing, scientific and sentimental at the same time. Thanks to him I discovered Rumě's character and some ancient writings that had inspired my tracks, so I went to know him face to face. I expected to met an old man buried among books but I met a youthful person, that began his musical research very young, recording on kilometres of tape traditional melodies collected in taverns, houses, fields; melodies handed down by old men and picked up in two album for Albatros realized with Roberto Leydi. Then I wanted him to listen to two of my tracks in dialect, with a little anxiety due to his experience and my liberty in mixing musical languages with no philological intent and he appreciated a lot. According to him the future of traditional music is the endless developing of its shapes and not its philological crystallization, such as in oral tradition, where every interpreter add something of his own sensibility and creativity.”

“Rumě” reveals itself an industrious operation of immediate melody and rhythm. Lu's temptation to filter different vocal experiences, far musical genres with unexpected instrumental solution, rarely was so well repaid. “Rumě” exalts the expressive content of popular melody but it isn't a philological execution. The goal is to give back the spirit of dialectal singing in a modern, fresh style, and it signs somehow the assimilation of sounds unrelated to tradition with pop, fusion, ethnic, electronic and contemporary backgrounds, fine and sophisticated, that change according to fantasy.

“After came to know with Rumě, I felt several times his presence during my tripping around Romagna. I found him in poetries that talk about solitude and abandon, being sure that his feeling was not so sorrowful as the poet's one.”

Lino Guerra, author of “Casteina Bianca”, died at 39 years, suicide for solitude. Rumě never asked for his wandering, just roamed, repeating for the entire life the same words. And beyond his stupid aspect it's not given to know if he suffers of solitude, physical infirmity, coldness or head louses, or if its like goes without questions, going with sky, with street and its inhabitants.

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