giulia millanta
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giulia millanta

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter

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"Conversation with a Ghost"

Native of Florence, Italy, Giulia Millanta fed into Austin's greater artistry in 2012 with third album Dust and Desire, songs inspired by her move here. On sixth LP Conversation With a Ghost, the guitarist picks folk lamentations, Latin rhythms, and cool jazz with a stellar cast including six-string great Marc Ribot (Tom Waits), accordionist Joel Guzman (Paul Simon), and ATX brassman John Mills (David Byrne). Like 2016's Moonbeam Parade, Millanta's latest weaves melancholic acoustic pieces (the title track), feisty wordplay ("Violence"), and dark, speakeasy jazz ("Coney Island") into a tightly knit emotive whole, mellow and soft of timbre. Off-kilter riffs bounce the playful "Puppet on a String" as brass bursts round out the edges, and poetic dynamics and minimalist instrumentation on "Hour Glass" and "Lonesome Throne" writhe out stories both reflective and gripping. Conversation With a Ghost teeters on Giulia Millanta's astral plane as her most bold work yet. (CD release: One-2-One Bar, Saturday 23)

**** - Austin Chronicle


"GIULIA MILLANTA’S ‘CONVERSATION WITH A GHOST’ TRANSPORTS LISTENERS TO NEW WORLD (ALBUM REVIEW)"

Music isn’t just about sound. It’s also location-based. Beloved songs are often beloved, not just because of the music, but because of the memory associated with the music. Where you are when you hear something impacts how you feel about what you hear. So consider that Giulia Millanta’s beautiful, Conversation with a Ghost was heard speeding through Spain on a train to Barcelona. And the album made the perfect accompaniment. But the album also works in more mundane circumstances, like, say, rush hour on the subway.

Giulia Millanta is from Florence, Italy but now works out of Austin, Texas. Conversation with a Ghost, her sixth album, has an energy that’s reminiscent of both areas. Songs toggle between folk and jazz, with mellow arrangements supporting her strong, intense vocals. Which is not say Millanta belts. Her voice cuts through the mix, in large part because of Millanta’s incredibly sensitive co-production (along with Gabriel Rhodes, her guitarist). But she is also able to tap into an emotional space that lends a weight to her vocals–even when she’s practically whispering them. The title track is a perfect example of this. Just a gentle acoustic guitar with Millanta singing over it. She injects a sincerity and honesty that never veers into over-emoting. Instead, it just slices through the song and grabs the listener.

The album explores different styles. “Coney Island” is a bossa nova that’s a pretty-yet-unsurprising hipster ode to Brooklyn. “Enough is Enough” is more of a rock song, with some nice saxophone flourishes (the saxophone makes some great appearances across the whole album, adding to the album’s European vibe). “La Stanza” has a dark groove with some sinister surf tremolo, a la PJ Harvey at her creepiest (which is pretty creepy). The verses are in Italian but release into a cathartic, optimistic “She’s going to fly away / Into another day / She’s going to fly away / She’s going to find her way.”

Millanta often switches into other languages during her songs. “Violence,” with Italian accordions, is sung in Spanish and English. But the English-language lyrics can be quite striking. On “Expiration Date,” she sings “Hold me until the end of time / Just let the morning wait / We can pretend / This love won’t have an expiration date,” and between the words, Millanta’s achingly sad voice, and the swelling steel guitar, you just want to weep. “Hour Glass,” which like “La Stanza,” also has its own dark surf vibe, has the haunting chorus, “Time lapse / Hour glass / No need to run / Can push the bullet back into the gun.” The enigmatic nature of the lyric reinforces the scariness of the music and the intensity of Millanta’s singing, creating a genuine (but not unpleasant) feeling of unease.

A great album is immersive. It doesn’t just transport the listener out of her own world so much as great albums transport listeners into a new world. Conversation with a Ghost is a beautiful world, where hearts are broken, where Europe is a city in Texas, and where bullets can be pushed back into guns. It’s a world worth hearing, not matter where you are. - Glide Magazine


"Haunted"

Haunted
It’s a safe assumption that Giulia Millanta is one of those rare species of artists who transcend their influences and, in the process, create new genres. Regular readers of this column might remember her from a previous Rant’n’Roll rave that found her “deeply evocative with a dash of Piaf, a sprinkle of Lady Day, a pinch of Norah Jones and a teaspoon of Madeleine Peyroux.” Now she’s even better.
This singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer/arranger came from Florence Italy to settle in Austin Texas in 2012 where she quickly became a major player, a magnet for the elite musicians of that town (a town that’s among the Top 5 music cities in America).
Conversation With A Ghost (Ugly Cat Records), her sixth CD, is her masterpiece. Every track is a highlight. All 12 are original. She sings so hauntingly in two of her four languages. Although she left her ukulele home, her electric guitar stings alongside an all-star band rounded up just for the occasion: co-producer Gabriel Rhodes plays piano while funky guitarist Marc Ribot adds hot licks. With members of the bands of Dixie Chicks, Robert Palmer, Tom Waits, Paul Simon, Aretha, Willie, David Byrne and Patty Griffin on hand to add steel, clarinet, sax, accordion, saw and the 12-stringed Mexican instrument known as a bajo sexto, Millanta weaves her magical tapestry through a séance of lost loss, lost sanity and lost innocence. It’s absolutely gorgeous. All aspiring musicians, vocalists and composers should listen to this gem. - The Aquarinan weekly


Discography

2008 – Giulia and the Dizzyness (Cavern Jatt Records)[9]

2011 – Dropping Down (Ugly Cat Music/Audioglobe)[10]

2012 – Dust and Desire (Ugly Cat Music)[11]

2014 – The Funambulist (Ugly Cat Music)[12]

2016 – Moonbeam Parade (Ugly Cat Music/Shellshock)[13]

2018 – Conversation with a Ghost (Ugly Cat Music/Audioglobe)[14]

Photos

Bio


Singer-songwriter, Giulia (Julia) Millanta, is a native-born Italian from Florence who now calls Austin, Texas home. A creative and prolific artist, she has released six albums touring regionally, nationally throughout the USA and internationally. An accomplished guitarist, Giulia also plays ukulele and sings in four languages. She has been called smart, pensive and cool and credited with psychedelic grooveability whilst “baring her clairvoyant soul” to “deliver musical mojo.” 

 

Giulia began her life in music as a child of eight years when taught to play guitar by her father she began to perform traditional folk songs. She continued to sing and began writing songs and making records. Performing at the Acoustic Guitar Meeting in Sarzana in the spring of 2010 her accomplished guitar style and songs earned her the “New Sounds Of Acoustic Music” award. This led to an endorsement by the renowned guitar makers Eko, choice of the most famous 60’s-80’s era singer-songwriters throughout Italy.

 

 

In 2008, Driven by curiosity and a longing for personal expression she debuted with “Giulia and the Dizzyness” (Cavern Jatt Records.) Then, in 2011, she released “Dropping Down” (Ugly Cat Music/Audioglobe) distinguished by her maturing skills as musician, producer, writer and arranger. By 2012, as a result of Giulia’s new energy and inspiration after having toured mainland Europe and moving to Austin to become part of the melting pot of cultural experiences in “the live music capitol of the world,” she released “Dust and Desire” (Ugly Cat Music/Audioglobe.) Just a couple of years later in 2014 she broke new ground with “The Funambulist” (Ugly Cat Music) Surrounded by a host of new friends and fellow musicians as “between the lines” she conceptualizes the tightrope walk she has been through, writing and singing of all she has experienced, learned and become.


In 2016, Giulia released her fifth solo album “Moonbeam Parade”, 13 self-penned tunes fueled by a new direction on electric guitar. Produced by Giulia herself on her own label “Ugly Cat Music”, with her friend and producer George Reiff, with a stellar band featuring some of the best musicians in Austin, such as Charlie Sexton (Bob Dylan), Howe Gelb (Giant Sand), Glenn Fukunaga (The Dixie Chicks), Michael Fracasso, Kimmie Rhodes, Gabriel Rhodes (Willie Nelson), Dony Wynn (Robert Palmer), David Pulkingham (Patty Griffin). Moonbeam Parade tour has brought Giulia to the U.K, Holland, Germany, Belgium, Italy and through out the U.S. 


In 2018 Giulia releases “Conversation with a Ghost” produced by herself and Gabriel Rhodes. The record is recorded live with some of the best musicians in Austin like Glenn Fukunaga on bass and Dony Wynn on drums who in the past two years have also become her steady band members. It also features talents like Marc Ribot (Tom Waits) on electric guitar, Joel Guzman (Paul Simon) on accordion, John Mills (David Byrne) on horns, David Pulkingham on guitar and Kimmie Rhodes on background vocals.


2018 was also a great year for awards for Giulia, since she won the Premio Ciampi for “Not You”, her version of Piero Ciampi’s song "Tu no" which you can listen here, and was awarded with the Doc's Blues Awards 2018 as BluesWoman of the year by Severn Fm Radio.



Giulia is currently touring and working on a new record to be released in 2020.