Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CD Review: Francesco Banchini - Italy

Francesco Banchini

Italy's Francesco Banchini plays the clarinet, but is joined by several percussion and string instruments on his latest release, Baqshish. In fact, you will hear the guitar, darabouka, accordion, frame drum, riq, nay, flute, bass drum, udu, cumbus, piano, and others. Of course, Italian elements pervade the songs, yet a distinct Balkan presence is also quite strong. The lilting melodies, effervescent instrumentation, and emotionality of the music have something for everyone. The songs incorporate Mediterranean elements, Balkan tunes, Central Asian arrangements, and Trans-European modalities. Moreover, the title, "Baqshish", is a word that is not precisely defined in the liner notes, yet it is mentioned as something that seems to connote 'spirit' or 'gratuity'. Likewise, we are thankful for discovering Francesco Banchini. If you enjoyed the Sicilian group, Milagro Acustico, then you should not pass this one up. Liner notes in Italian and English. ~ Matthew Forss

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