NEWPOLI “Mediterraneo”


By Alessandro Nobis. Translation by Carmen Marsico.

Newpoli is an heterogeneous octet based on the East Coast and consists of musicians coming from different countries who share a passion for the warmth and the beauty of the music of Southern Italy and in general of the Mediterranean. The very talented musicians involved in this most interesting project are the two front women Carmen Marsico and Angela Rossi (voice), Fabio Pirozzolo (tambourine and voice), Björn Wennås (chitarra battente, mandola, and classical guitar), Jussi Reijonen (oud, mandola, and classical guitar), Daniel Meyers (bagpipe, ciaramella, and recorders), Karen Burciaga (violin), and Jeff McAuliffe (bass), and this is their fifth CD after their debut in 2008.

photo by Liz Linder.

Let’s clarify right away that Newpoli’s music is not a “postcard” version of the Mediterranean tradition that you could pass off to an overseas audience. Perhaps it’s thanks to the presence of non Italian musicians in the group, or because of the songs’ arrangements – often original – always impressive as well as effective, or because of the content presented in their songs, tied to the often tragic everyday life that people experienced in the “Mare Nostrum” (the Mediterranean) and tied to immigration (for instance the opening song, that gives the title to the album and is written in a dialect from Basilicata, describes the immigration problem, and So’ Emigrant’). Ladies and gentlemen, this is a great CD that is well-rooted in the depth of Italian tradition (its sound, the Ucci brothers’ pizzicafrom Salento, the chant alla pelenzeca, i. e., swing, with a wonderful oud introduction that talks about a subject dear to the Italian narrative chant genre: going to the fountain with the hope of meeting a woman to fall in love with), but also branches out to North America, the land where recently or some time ago the musicians or their families (referred to their names above) each found a new home and started a new life, and the land where they composed music and lyrics (I’m referring to the song Lagr’m’with the splendid dialogue between Carmen Marsico and Angela Rossi, and to Na voce solasung in Neapolitan language: “I can’t recognize myself anymore when I look around/ What’s happening? This world has changed”). In addition  the simple but meaningful CD cover art is, in my opinion, emblematic not only of the Mediterranean, but also more generally of the “seas” that an immigrant always has to face.

This CD is difficult to find in the Italian market, but fortunately you can buy it on the group’swebsite and on other websites that specialize in on line sales.