Osanna is an Italian psychedelic rock/progressive rock band. They originated from the Vomera neighbourhood of Naples with the union of Lino Vairetti (voice), Danilo Rustici (guitar), Massimo Guarino (drums), Lello Brandi (bass), from the first line-up of the band Cittā Frontale, and Elio D'Anna (flute and sax), former member of The Showmen. Osanna were among the first bands in the world to present themselves theatrically in their shows, featuring costumes and made-up faces.
After their debut album L'uomo was released in 1971, they recorded the soundtrack for the film Milano Calibro 9 in 1972. In the same year, they toured in Italy alongside Genesis. Their following album Palepoli was released in 1972 also and is regarded as one of the finest hours of the Italian progressive rock movement. The album mixes Neapolitan and Mediterranean sounds with modern progressive rock elements, such as the extensive use of electric guitar and Mellotron.
After the release of the album Landscape Of Life in 1974, the band disbanded, but reformed in 1977, without D'Anna however, who was replaced by keyboardist Fabrizio D'Angelo, while the bass role was taken up by Enzo Petrone. With this line-up they released Suddance in 1978, to a large extent containing lyrics written in the Neapolitan language. Osanna disbanded again in 1979 and reformed in 1999, releasing the LP Taka Boom the following year, including old successes and some new songs. Their next production was Prog Family, released in 2009 under the name of Osanna & Jackson, featuring notable figures from progressive rock history, such as Balletto Di Bronzo's keyboard player and vocalist Gianni Leone, former Van Der Graaf Generator saxophonist and flute player David Jackson, former King Crimson violinist and keyboard player David Cross and others.
And now Tempo is being welcomed. A double DVD which includes a 40-page book. The first DVD has the title Live In Naples and was recorded at the Trianon Theatre in Naples on October 24, 2012 and is divided in two parts.
The first part has the title Prima Tempo and is a kind of celebration for their Rosso Rock album; a live-album, recorded in Japan and released in 2012. During this concert - played on electric instruments - the most important persons in the band are Lino Vairetti (lead vocals, guitar), his son Irvin Vairetti (synth, pad, vocals), Pako Capobianco (electric guitar) and Sasā Priore (keyboards, vocals). During the whole show they got musical assistance from special guests, of which several had already worked with the band in the past. They include people like David Jackson (from his former band Van Der Graaf Generator's Theme One was performed), Gianni Leone (from his band Balletto Di Bronzo Introduzione was played) and Sophya Baccini (she sang on A Zingara). Many hits and well known classic tunes of the band can be enjoyed, such as their breaktrough song L'uomo. It includes a small part of Purple Haze and is a tribute to Jimi Hendrix. The most bizarre performance of this first set is probably the show Mr. Leone gives behind his keyboard.
The second part has the title Secondo Tempo. Here the band is joined by a real string section; the Rosso Rock Ensemble Orchestra, directed by Gianluca Falasca. They start with a tribute to the movie Milano Calibro 9, directed by Fernando Di Leo, with the suite from the album Preludio Tema Variazioni E Canzona. Guests appear during this performance as well.
The first DVD has some extras besides the concert footage. First there's a video clip of the song Rosso Rock, in which Lino Vairetti walks around in what looks like an old monastery. Furthermore there's some backstage footage you can enjoy.
The second disc is completely dedicated to the band's past and has the title Story. You can watch the band being filmed during the period 1971 until 2009, during which they did appearances on several TV shows and gave several live concerts. The twenty video clips represent the story of the band rather well. Footage was coming from the RAI- and private archives. While watching those clips you can very well see how the band develops from a band which plays music, related to early Jethro Tull, with a lot of blues influences, to an act in which their music includes elements from progressive rock. The songs Variazioni 1/2 and Oro Caldo are good examples of how they perform entertaining progressive rock tunes that feature the Mellotron and synthesizers.
Finally, some words are spent on the booklet in which both DVDs are housed. It has lots of photos of the concerts and clips that are on both discs. Many obscure shots from the old days are included, both in black and white and in colour. A biography of the band written in Italian and English is included as well.
All in all Tempo is a beautiful document of the Italian band that might have inspired Peter Gabriel to paint his face when he was in Italy with Genesis, when said band opened for them. Although Osanna's music isn't very much related to Genesis, it does not mean it's less entertaining. Most of you who like more rock in their progressive rock cocktail should try the music of this band and I suspect this two-disc DVD release would be a good start. Those who already know this band will buy this release straight away.
**** Henri Strik (edited by Esther Ladiges)
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