The Italian band Teres Aoutes String Band released Lo Rock’n Roll De La Mountagna in 2018, essentially stringed instruments reinterpreting the music of the Italian mountains. They’re back again having recently released Courenta & Cadillac which is both more of the same – more “dances and songs of the Western Italian Alps” – and good. As the band put it, “ten original compositions and one cover: songs made for swirling dances and high altitude atmosphere. Travelling from Ry Cooder to Daft Punk….but always in the mountains”. As before, I don’t understand Italian, but this is great fun.
What they don’t mention on the album is the level of talent and experience they bring to the music. Mario Poletti, who founded the band, has played “plucked stringed instruments” for decades, to the level that, inter alia, he teaches jazz mandolin at the Jazz School Turino (there’s not a lot of room on a mandolin to play jazz so search it on Google/Facebook, it’s rather good). Similarly: Fabrizio Carletto, who plays bass/double bass, has many years as musician across Italy and Europe; Diane Imbrea plays violin with the band – and in orchestras; and guitar player Oreste Garello has, over the years, played rock, Beatles tribute, vaudeville and more.
Eclectic doesn’t come near to describing it. Put all this together in the context of mountain folk music and you get quite simply a joyous sound, played beautifully.
I also like the band’s humour. The video below, for the title track ‘Courenta & Cadillac’ comes with a covering comment which is nicely self-effacing, “Since no album can come out without promotional videos here’s what we did for Courenta & Cadillac, and there are also final comedians” – so don’t turn off when the credits come, else you’ll miss something that looks a bit like a musical-silent-movie-advert for Waiting For Godot.
I have no knowledge of the Italian mountain tradition (other than that which I’ve learned from the Teres Aoutes String Band) and I have next to no Italian. But I don’t need it. As with their debut album, the new release is a delight to listen to, upbeat, I can imagine dancing to it, and I love the sound without properly understanding any of it.
…..And finally, I passed the album to a friend (who has a recording studio and an Italian heritage) to see if he could translate for me. His reply, “I could translate but it might take an hour or two and a few beers [which we can’t do at the moment]…. brilliant listening to it.”
Artists’ website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/
‘Courenta & Cadillac’ – live: