Davide Ambrogio Evocazione E Invocazioni
Review by Chris Nickson
"Veniti Sonnu" (excerpt)
It might be easiest to view the first solo release by Linguamadre member Davide Ambrogio as an audio play with music. That might not be his intention (he says it’s centered “on the idea of Sound, in its aesthetic and ecstatic dimension. In traditional oral music, songs and sounds appear in the context of a ritual”), but it gives a continuity to these pieces sung in the Calabrian dialect of southern Italy. The music might be his, but the lyrics come, in one form or another, from the oral tradition.
The magic is in how he’s put them all together, whether it’s the searing power of “A San Michele” with the insistent, visceral beat of the frame drum and the voice evoking the dry heat of the area where Ambrogio was raised, or the sweetness of the lullaby “Veniti Sonnu,” where the layered vocals of Valeria Taccone and a spare pedal steel guitar intertwine to create something that, for a few minutes at least, manages to intertwine Southern Italy with the American West.
"A San Rocco" (excerpt)
While you can pick out the music track by track, the intention is for it to be a single set piece, something eerily primal, shuttling in time between the ancient (like the opener), to the station announcements, hurried footsteps and voice of a traveller on “A Santa Rusulia,” which acts like a drawing of breath before plunging into the crowded urgency of “A San Rocco.”
It’s all very much Ambrogio’s vision, and it arrives fully-formed and highly assured. He’s very much a full-throated singer in the Southern Italian tradition, and his style is completely rooted in his native soil. Far more than that, he’s an excellent multi-instrumentalist who plays much of the music here, as well as composing it. The words come out of history, and that connection of past and present only increases the power of the disc. Coming right out of nowhere, it’s very definitely a little piece of Italian magic.