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Review: Tendachënt, Arnèis

Tendachënt
Arnèis
[Folk Club Ethnosuoni ES 5383 (2009)]

The Italian band Tendachënt traces its roots back to the legendary band La Capa Rusa which was one of the first Italian groups to research the traditional music of the rural countryside and performed it with modern instrumentation like electric bass and drums. When they disbanded, founding member Maurizio Martinotti formed Tendachënt to continue his former band’s work, updating the traditional music with his own writing in a folk rock setting with bass and drums.

Arnèis, the group’s fourth recording, finds them dropping the bass and drums and concentrating on a stripped down four piece lineup with Martinotti on vocals and hurdy-gurdy, Bruno Raiteri on violin, Henry Negro on guitar, and Mauro Basilio on cello. As it turns out, the rhythm section isn’t missed, as the four still provide a big, powerful sound, with guest musician Gigi Biolcati providing hand percussion as needed. The recording is in two parts, with 14 studio tracks divided between songs and instrumentals all written and sung by Martinotti, and five live tracks that show the band’s sound as being as tight and full in a live setting as it is in the studio. At the heart of the group is traditional music of the Piedmont region, and Martinotti’s songs reflect this influence. The sound, through acoustic, is dense and droning with the violin, cello, and hurdy-gurdy providing a sea of sound that washes over the listener. A wonderful example of the modern style of traditional Italian music that reflects both the new and old. [www.tendachent.it]

—Jim Lee (Simi Valley, CA)

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