ENZO AVITABILE & I BOTTARI
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ENZO AVITABILE & I BOTTARI

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Press


One of the strangest, most compelling sights of last weekend's Womad festival was the appearance of a portly veteran Italian star backed by an extraordinary barrage of percussion.
Surrounding Enzo Avitabile on stage was an array of wine barrels, bashed with sticks by hefty young men in black, spurred on by an excitable conductor. In front of all this were the more conventional instruments - brass, keyboards and oud - and the singer himself, adding his chanting vocals.
The use of such barrels in Italian folk music dates back to medieval times, but Avitabile has up-dated the tradition for a new global fusion. His album may not be as dramatic as the stage show, but involves a whole batch of unexpected African guests, from the rai star Khaled to Manu Dibango and even Hugh Masekela, and songs that range from moody, half-spoken ballads to thunderous percussive work-outs.
Ignore the cringe-making title; this is a European best-seller that's worth checking out.
- the guardian


Every so often in world music a sound comes along that knocks you
sideways, for it has almost no reference to anything that you have heard
before. Enzo Avitabile has made such an album. In Italy he is a huge star,
and he has worked with artists such as Tina Turner, James Brown and Randy
Crawford. But on Save the World he has made a dramatic break with his pop
past in favour of a thrilling new global soundscape.

The building block is the ancient musical tradition of rural Campania
in southern Italy, focussing on the hypnotic percussion of Bottari, a group
of drummers beating huge, empty barrels. Over this mesmerising backdrop,
Enzo sings in a voice rooted deep in some Mediterranean equivalent of the
blues. But that's only the start. The unmistakable voice of Khaled brings
out a rich, Arabic flavour on Balla Balla. The trumpeter Hugh Masekela blows
up a storm on Questa e l 'Africa and the saxophonist Manu Dibango does
similarly sterling service on Salvamme O'Munde. An Egyptian brass band adds
exquisite slabs of middle-Eastern funk all over the place, while the
Palestinian violin and oud player Simon Shaheen contributes more subtle
flavours. If you insist on a comparison, then last year's world music
hybrid, In the Hour of Two Lights, by Terry Hall and Mushtaq, was at least
conceived in a similar spirit. Enzo and his drummers play WOMAD this summer.
On the evidence of this record, they should be a sensation.

Nigel Williamson
- THE TIMES


Crozon. Du monde jusqu'au bout !
Enzo Avitabile. Du meilleur tonneau
Au XIII e siècle, dans le sud de l’Italie, taper en cadence sur des tonneaux éloignait les mauvais esprits. Si, si. Enzo Avitabile & Bottari en ont fait de même, hier après-midi, faisant chavirer par la même occasion le public au rythme de ces fameux tonneaux. Puissant.
Enzo Avitabile, plus Napolitain qu’Italien, est un « soul man ». Il le dit, il le chante, on confirme. Mais après avoir été bercé aux rythmes des grands jazzmen américains et avoir joué avec des pointures comme James Brown, il s’est penché sur la tradition de sa région. Sa volonté : remettre à l’honneur le dialecte populaire, sortir du stéréotype du chanteur napolitain - crooner pour dames, costume et gomina. Et un credo : avancer en retournant aux sources, tout ce qui est ancien redevenant moderne, et vice-versa.
Rapide et intense
Voilà pour la petite histoire. Mais ce qui compte vraiment, et ce qu’il faut surtout retenir, c’est la performance du saxophoniste-chanteur et de ses treize musiciens. A commencer par les cinq batteurs en transe - le Bottari - s’acharnant sans temps mort sur leurs tonneaux, avant de sortir de scène éreintés. On le comprend, tant le rythme est rapide et intense, un tonneau imposant en faisant même les frais lors du final, brisé par la force d’un batteur au physique de boxeur poids lourd. Notre Napolitain en chef ne fut pas en reste, demandant sans cesse à la foule de vibrer avec son groupe en levant les bras, en tapant des mains, en dansant, voire même en s’agenouillant avant de libérer toute son énergie.
Un public dans le bain... de poussière
Rapidement dans le rythme, le public, d’abord surpris, n’a pas boudé son plaisir et a répondu à l’appel, le sourire aux lèvres. Les pompiers de service avaient eu beau mouiller le sol avant le début du concert, un nuage de terre est vite monté au ciel. Il y est resté plus d’une heure, avant de redescendre après un dernier rappel fusionnel.
Grande première !
- LE FIGARO


Discography

1982 - 2007

2007
FESTA, FARINA E FORCA
Il Manifesto
(only Italy)

2006
SACRO SUD
FolkClub Ethnosuoni

2004
SALVAMM’ ‘O MUNN
WRASSE RECORDS (UK)
IL MANIFESTO (Italy)

1999
O-ISSA
CNI

1996
ADDO'
CNI

1994
EASY
EMI

1991
AVITABILE ENZO
EMI

1990
STELLA DISSIDENTE
EMI

1988
ALTA TENSIONE
EMI

1986
SOS BROTHERS
EMI

1984
CORRERE IN FRETTA
EMI

1983
MEGLIO SOUL
EMI

1982
AVITABILE
Produttori Associati

Photos

Bio

Enzo Avitabile is one of Italy’s most popular artists. He has brought out a dozen highly-acclaimed solo albums and worked with the likes of James Brown, Mory Kanté, Randy Crawford, Tina Turner and Afrika Bambaata.
In 2001, Avitabile returned to his roots in southern Italy and three years later released “Save the world”, one of the most unexpected albums of 2004. This project allies the ancient musical tradition of rural Campania with Avitabile’s bluesy voice. It reflects the Neapolitan’s irrepressible desire to combine his heritage with the jazz and Mediterranean blues he has acquired in his variegated career: obsessive and strongly energetic rhythmic musical journey.