Sophya Baccini - Animatesi

(CD 2023, 37:21, Black Widow Records/ Afraka)

The tracks:
  1- C'era La Luna
  2- Animatesi
  3- Non Vale Una Guerra
  4- Angelica
  5- Jimmy
  6- Dylan And Joan
  7- Allodola
  8- Lamed
  9- Baruc
10- Ponente

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Sophya Baccini had already impressed me with her first solo album Aradia (see review), released in 2008. Also with Sophya Baccini's Aradia she surprised me with the excellent album Big Red Dragon (see review), which came out in 2013. Therefore I can say without any doubts that this Neapolitan artist is one of the best female singers and piano players from Italy. And now in 2023 she gets back into the spotlight with a brand new solo album. Titled Animatesi. Even though she is very busy with the band Presence doing live shows entirely dedicated to the music of Yes and the tribute to Kate Bush she still found time to come up with this new solo album.

Animatesi is a work of art entirely based on piano and voice, her first love, which also includes lyrics written by the poet Viviana Pernetti. The cover also shows her love for the piano as well. She is immortalized lying on a piano, with a white dress submerged in red petals. The graphics of the beautiful cover are created by Roberto Bohemian with photos by Davide Visca. This is what Sophya said about her new album:

“I was born musically using only a piano and voice, and after many experiences with groups such as ”Presence” and “Aradia” with this new album I return to my primitive love “piano and voice”, bringing with me all the invaluable baggage of travel, experiences and collaborations with musicians, authors, producers and record companies, during unforgettable decades of music, and a pinch of madness. My collaboration with the poet Viviana Pernetti has created a real magic. Her great sensitivity, gained after suddenly becoming blind due to an illness and making her handicap a strength, has been decisive in my new journey".

The album is by all means a very powerful work, even if you only hear Baccini's voice and her playing on the piano. She didn't needed a rhythm section and all the electric guitars and synthesizers to show her talents. Just naked to the bone so to speak. Songs as they were originally written in her living room. The album is a musical journey to be discovered by listening to the album in one go. It is necessary to immediately understand that this record should be approached for what it is, a great poem in music, divided into ten tracks, united by the same line of expression. A piano that forms the background and sometimes occupies the space left empty by the intense voice of the singer, which often takes on lyrical connotations.

I will not go into detail about every song individually. But I can tell that each of them is worth listening even if it is not the usual progressive rock you have on a daily basis.

The album begins with the melancholy of C'era La Luna, which immediately tells what the entire work is all about. Emotional songs in which the soul is opposed to rationality. You hear here for the very first time the very delicate piano and the splendid voice of this excellent vocalist. Music wise it easy to compare the compositions to the entire work of Kate Bush. A good example is the song Dylan And Joan, with which she wanted to thank Bob Dylan and Joan Baez for the emotions they aroused in her and for being her great source of inspiration. On Angelica on the other hand she sounds more like Tori Amos. Who of course was also inspired by the earlier mentioned female singer. On Jimmy you can hear more jazzy dimension and is dedicated to Jimmy Page, in which she talks about the harmful relationships that one must have the courage to eliminate. Maybe it is a bit strange to hear a song about the legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist performed on the acoustic piano only. But I guess there is a time for everything and to ignore the prejudices. Not all the songs are mellow. On Non Vale Una Guerra (It's Not Worth A War) the piano takes on heavier tones, to underline the very intense words that refer to the conflict that is narrated to us every day and in general takes a stand against all violence, alternating delicate moments with more decisive passages, with a very heartfelt vocal interpretation. However most songs on the album are about love and melancholy.

All in all is this a fine album on which you can dream away an can be intimate with this fantastic musician. Just you and Sophya and nobody else. All I can say well done Mrs. Baccini. Highly recommended to everybody who likes the music of Kate Bush and Tori Amos in particular.

**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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