Italian prog-rock vet probes Russia

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Понедельник, 5 Июль 2010, 23:13
Размещено в рубрике English Special и имеет 0 комментариев.

Italian multi-instrumentalist Paolo Tofani  may shortly spearhead 70’s prog-rock revival boom from Italy and, perhaps, Britain. Recent  dates, or rather ground probes to the effect, proved quite inspirational, and current Russian leg of PT’s tour is already ripe with radio and media rendevouz as well as live dates showcasing PT’s treasured instrument, Trikanta Veena. Both in Moscow and southern region.

Tofani, presently in his 60s’, seems a “chosen one” for the mission. Sparkled – as baby boomer and Woodstock generations were – by rock’n’roll, then psychedelia idiom and jumping on British Invasion catchy formula in due time, the young Italian fell for “things English” so as to relocate to London. His story combined glory and despair just as much as in Mac Davis’ infamous account of “Rock’n’Roll I gave you all the best years of my life”. He struggled to launch meaningful career, however landing contract with Italian record label and budding Italian prog outfit, Area. With number of solo and band experiences to his credit and with some pretty handsome studio techniques on hand – Paolo the guitar picker headed home. His next period with Area was… well, awesome by Robert Fripp standards.

Area’s early albums – and particularly live shows – had what PFM, Fripp and whoever in that era bitterly missed. Being cross cultural and multi national, Area’s lineup took breath with sheer spontaneity as everyone improvised along loose structure flying free as a bird yet harmony wise intact. Paolo’s sets featured sometimes raging guitar wah-wahs and feedbacks as hot as Hendrix’s. According to Paolo, those were no master class but god invocation sessions – with band and entire auditorium to join with.

However the market changed – or rather was manipulated into simpler safer prefab “canned music”, and Area fell prey to its internal flaws and, perhaps, lack of mission. With key personnel lost, the outfit folded.

Paolo Tofani switched back to solo indulgements and instrument/studio recording technology research. Which, not incongruously, led him to embrace naked spiritualism. He traveled world till one fine day he struck chord with Indian culture and musicians.  Trikanta Veena was in fact prompted by double neck guitars, once en vogue in bands, yet PT was motivated by “creating a combination of western musical experience and  old Eastern musical tradition”. Not least, the instrument was singular and exclusive custom-made for him against his specifications by able luthier masters from Cremona, of Stradivari fame…

Okay, what’s the catch today?

Going by the artists’ press release, Tofani’s performances constitute deep artistic experience, not a religeous quest of any kind. His message is to everyone out there. He is himself concerned with "realities of western code merging into" something strikingly different. PT waxes philosophucal about that «immense authentic desire to harmonically balance  free jazz, electronic explorations and present-day avant-garde along the lines of a much older culture». Whether solo or accompanied by other musicians, Paolo normally employs  Santoor (string instrument of Persian origin) to better bring out his very own Trikanta Veena. He may also address public with spoken word in characteristic cultural exploration.

That sort of vocal technique draws upon the human voice as another musical instrument. Incidentally it owes to Tofani’s prior experience. In his Area formative period Tofani was impressed by interludes of Demetrio Stratos, the then unique lead vocalist of most amazing faculties.

Paolo’s  dates in Russia will encompass his entire life experience and open up for future, too. You can sample his instrumental prowess with Trikanta Veena (at “devotional” venues) as well as electrified and fusion side at mass attended or “entertainer” dates within this tour. Since Paolo toys with prospect of reviving the sound of Area's complex and dynamic sound – he may have  surprise or two up his sleeve. You can’t miss out on those if you’re anyplace in Russia these days. For prog-rock, jazz improv and ethnical hungry listeners as well as connoisseurs of Area stuff – just keep fingers crossed for Paolo Tofani to visit your town, soon. Watch for his albums. At least in review at Yelbaev Picks space. 

 Paolo Tofani performs Indian classical and devotional pieces showcasing live Trikanta Veena and pre-recorded background: Моscow – 4 July 16.00 VDNKh, 7 and  9 July 18.00 and 10 July 17.00 Vedic Cultural Centre. Nizhny Novgorod  — 14 July 18:30 café Каramel, 15 July 18:30 movie theatre Rekord. Contact Paolo Tofani’s personal secretary Irina, mobile 8- 964 531 3290 

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