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World Music CD Reviews Europe

FILIPPO GAMBETTA

By MICHAEL STONE
Published April 7, 2006

Pria Goaea
Felmay

Italian melodeonist Filippo Gambetta’s second release is a remarkable outing, confirming the 21-year-old’s rock-solid pedigree. Son of flat-picking guitar whiz Beppe Gambetta (hailed by North American bluegrass fans), Filippo has also studied with melodeon master Riccardo Tesi. On Pria Goaea the apprentice seems poised to take Italian folk music further into the experimental jazz-inflected territory pioneered by his mentor. Hailing from Genoa, Gambetta is steeped in regional Ligurian folk idioms, but also taps Nordic, Celtic, Balkan and other global inspirations. Acoustic guitarist Claudio de Angeli and double bassist Riccardo Barbera round out the trio. Superb guest backing comes from papa Beppe, singer Simona Barbera, Canadian violin phenomenon Olivier Schroer, clarinetist Piero Ponzo, bassoonist Alessio Pisani, keyboardist Fabio Vernizzi, percussionist Marco Fadda, and on nyckelharpa (Swedish keyed, bowed fiddle), Sandra Wong. Gambetta is an evocative composer (he penned all but two tracks) and a precise but fluid, expansively emotive player whose work shows Tesi’s bracing authority, while resonating with the ethereal strains of Finnish accordion enchantress Maria Kalaniemi. This is the sleek, sublime sound of Italian folk music to come.