Writing reviews doesn't mean you will always listen to the music you love the most. Certainly not! You can't have pie or French fries every day either, can you? Well, I don't! The same goes for the music a reviewer has to go through. Sometimes certain musical genres that have a link with progressive rock, have to be heard more often before you can give a verdict. I am referring to musical styles such as Avant-garde or RIO. A good example of a band that releases music which is mainly based on those styles is Mamma Non Piangere (in English: Mama Do Not Cry). An Italian band formed in Milan around 1978 by guitarist/violinist Lorenzo Leddi. He is the only member to feature on their two earlier released albums N.1 (Musica Bestiame E Benessere) (1979) and N.2 (Sempre Avanti A Testa Bassa) (1980). He is still a member nowadays and can be seen as the musical brain behind the band's third release, mainly because he wrote most of the compositions for N. 3 that came out in 2016.
The songs on their brand new album dates from different years. The oldest of them go back to the time the second album was released. Others were composed in 1994, 1996, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. A short history lesson will tell you that the songs dating from 1980 are leftovers from the period the band stopped. This was in 1981. During 1981 and 2009 the band was on a break and took some time for reflection. I guess it was used to write some new material as well. In 2010 the band was reformed and with new musicians they worked on some new material and rearranged the older ones. Between 2011 and 2015 they recorded the tracks for album number three!
As for the music on album number three, it has to be said that it takes time to discover what is going on music wise. What you get on your plate isn't easy to digest. The musical dish that is served is a mix of Italian pop with classic RIO, folkloric sounds and elements of jazz. Even some samba music can be heard towards the end of the album. Composer Leddi stands more in the background musically and occurs rarely on the guitar. Instead the woodwinds and brass instruments (Maurizio Del Monaco and Roberto Meroni) set the tone, playing mostly upbeat and sometimes growl and sound squeaky. The cello (Luca Perreca) occasionally joins together with the accordion (Lorenzo Leddi) for an upbeat melody. The guitar enters, as mentioned, rarely apparent in action. The whole thing is refined by the wonderful singing of Laura Agostinelli, who obviously has a classical education, because she has a strong operatic kind of voice. Sometimes she duets with a male voice. The lyrics are in Italian, but are conveniently reprinted in an English translation for those who want to know what this lady is singing about.
The Italians came up with an album that probably will not be embraced by many devotees of progressive rock. The artistic level of the compositions is undoubtedly very high, but for most people it is all too difficult to understand what's going on this album. The audience who love this type of music is not so big, but they must also know that albums in the RIO genre are released at times. That is why we mention Mamma Non Piangere and their album N.3 in our review section and I'll say they did very well, if you are into RIO and related styles!
*** Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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