Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Astrolabio: Spirit folet (Prince, 1978)

It took me some time to get it ok, but here's what I promised some weeks ago: a traditional folk album from the Eighties. And it's extraordinary.

Oh, well, I'm not really sure it's from the Eighties. You see, very few information is available about this record. Until today, I didn't even have its cover. A problem one must face when dealing with traditional folk music on the web is the extraneousness of that world with p2p and file sharing in general: folk music enthusiasts have a strong commitment to buying records and aren't used to vinyl/cd ripping and sharing (not even information sharing, at least on the internet).
I've been lucky to find the mp3s and I have to thank rym user dimi13 for providing me with some scans of the original lp. I still don't know if the album actually came out in 1980 as all of the (very few) data on the internet indicate, but let's suppose it did.

Let's try to describe the music. It's Piedmontese folk with evident celtic influences. It's very proficiently played and the instrumentation is rich (accordion, guitar, cello, mandolin, harp, bagpipes, bombard, different kind of flutes).
A subtle veil of melancholy is the most peculiar trait of the nine tracks composing the album. Some of you may remind Malvasia's self-titled lp I posted some years ago: though quite far on a plainly geographical (and, hence, musical) point of view, I find "Spirit Folet" bears some striking similarities with it when talking about mood.

In both the albums, great musical refinement is coupled with a captivating nostalgic allure, which casts a shadow even on the most solar episodes. It seems like the reprise of centuries-old traditions is no longer a way to revive them in the present - as it was for many artists in the Seventies, but rather becomes a metaphor for everything that's come to an end.
Both for Malvasia and Astrolabio, this can be read as the rising awareness that the intellectual and social climate of the Seventies was almost entirely gone, with its culture, political involvement, and utopias.

Edit: a reader told me the album is a private production and was recorded in 1978. I hope the information is correct (why shouldn't it?).

  1. Spirit folet/Pifferata palazzo di città/Conta (B. Costa/traditional/traditional)
  2. L'umbra gaia (T. Parisi)

  3. La bella all'armata (traditional)
  4. Al gril e la furmia (Maria Masoni-Astrolabio)
  5. La giostra di Martina (B. Costa)
  6. La prova (traditional)
  7. Mazurka e breton vals (traditional)
  8. La cirese e la funtan-a (Galli-Parisi-Brondetta)
  9. La mort (B. Costa)
  • Giuliana Galli: vocals, percussion
  • Lorenzo Brondetta: hornpipe, schalmein, flaut, flutes
  • Beppe Costa: hurdy-gurdy, harp, guitar
  • Tullio Parisi: accordion, mandolin, vocals
  • Marco Robino: cello
  • Beppe Turletti: accordion (track 5)
Download (128 kbps, vinyl rip)

Similar music on the blog:
Malvasia: omonimo (Fonit Centra, 1979)
La lionetta: Il gioco del diavolo (Shirak, 1981)

5  :

max said...

Grazie mille per questo lavoro (disco e artwork completo)...
Lo sto ascoltando ora ed, io appassionatissimo di musica popolare, non mi capacito di come non conoscevo questo gruppo.
Musica veramente ben suonata ed arrangiata!
Grazie ancora...

Anonymous said...

Il disco è una produzione privata del 1978.

wago said...

Grazie mille della preziosa informazione.

john said...

The "Spirit Folet" albums is really good, thanks for posting it! Do you happen to have Canzoniere Del Lazio's Morra or the album they released in East Germany? Those are two Italian folk albums I'd love to hear one day.

Tommaso said...

Thanks for the link, I'm searching it from many years, but unfortunately it doesn't work.
You could reup the file?

One of the player was born in my town, and I have the LP, but I never find the mp3.