Riccardo Tesi & Banditaliana
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Riccardo Tesi & Banditaliana

Pistoia, Tuscany, Italy | INDIE

Pistoia, Tuscany, Italy | INDIE
Band Folk Jazz


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"A record of outstanding beauty"

Madreperla is a record of outstanding beauty, with fascinating sounds and astonishing emotional energy. - Bloogfolk.com (I)

"Tesi plays for romantics, dancers and listeners"

Tesi plays for romantics, dancers and listeners, he is continuously searching for submerged heritage and combines mediterranean with global influences. - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (D)

"A Patriarch looks back"

He's not even 60, but how old does one have to be to justify the title of "patriarch"? Is age even relevant? When Riccardo Tesi became fascinated with the then-thriving squeeze box tradition of southern Italy and Sardinia, he found not only his instrument but his mission. Typical squeeze box music—mainly played to accompany folk dancing—didn’t interest him, but the sound of the small diatonic accordion did. (Diatonic means only two keys are possible: one major and its parallel minor, like C major and A minor.) Since there were no masters to study with, Tesi decided to explore and expand the possibilities of the instrument on his own, because one thing was clear: He wanted to work as a composer and collaborate with jazz musicians. Members of the current breed of diatonic harmonica players unanimously point to Tesi as their trailblazer and patriarch.

Tesi’s impressive career spans three decades, during which he has worked with dozens of musicians. For his new album Presente Remoto (“remote present”), he invited his favorite collaborators to reunite. Besides some giants from the world of jazz, such as pianist Stefano Bollani and clarinet virtuoso Gabriele Mirabassi, the party is graced by Sardinian singer Elena Ledda, fellow Sardinian voice artist Gavino Murgia and famous Italian “chansonnier” Gianmaria Testa. Then there’s French mandolin player Patrick Vaillant and, of course, the members of Tesi’s regular quartet Banditaliana (don’t miss the pun). And the music? It’s as beautiful as ever—folksy in flavor, but refined and enriched by world influences, from the swamps of Louisiana to the highlands of Madagascar. Even the most melancholic melody betrays Tesi’s irrepressible joie de vivre. This is music that will cheer even the gloomiest pessimist. Tesi’s part may sound modest at first—he leaves solos to his guests—but it has a subtlety revealed with repeated listening, which is exactly what this album invites you to do. - Tom Maas

"“Musical siblings celebrate family ties during festival of folk”"

...] Banditaliana was a highlight. Their tight arrangement combined driving rhythm with at times beguiling Italian melody. They were joined by guest Mara Keik, whose singing was simply stunning. [...] - Andra Jackson

"Acqua Foco e Vento"

This album presents the song traditions of a distinctive small region in Italy, encompassing the Pistoian mountains and Lower Tuscany. With Riccardo Tesi and Maurizio Geri, this project has two highly talented musical directors, with a keen interest of bringing old Italian traditions to life, in a new make-up.

Riccardo, the excellent melodeon player, has put together this project, working in close co-operation with singer and guitarist Maurizio Geri, who plays also in Riccardo’s Banditaliana. Other musicians involved in this great CD project play sax, cello, double bass, frame drums, piano/keyboards, percussion. Some songs see Maurizio duetting with the beautiful female voice of Anna Granata.

The album features 18 traditional Tuscan songs, usually centred on the warm and pleasant voice of Maurizio, but with exciting arrangements breathing new and fresh life into the old songs. This is one of those albums that grows onto you when listening to it again and again – probably, because some of the arrangements are rather complex. I am now at a stage of loving this album, listening to it again and again, falling for the charming spell that this music has in it, and discovering each time new details. So an album not only of cultural interest, but also highly enjoyable.

Two things still left to mention – the European Union has co-funded this music project with LEADER II money, to support the development and promotion of local culture. And finally, the booklet is full of information, in a good layout. Recommended. - Michael Moll, Folkworld

"Riccardo Tesi & Banditaliana"

Tesi has always been considered a master of his craft, a highly sought after session musician and a member of many of Italy’s best ensembles over the years, but with Banditaliana he is firmly in control and shows that while craftsmanship counts, artistry is the real test. Tesi passes, 100%. - Cliff Furnald, Rootsworld


Madreperla, 2011 (Materiali Sonori)
Sopra i Tetti di Firenze, 2010 (Materiali Sonori)
Riccardo Tesi solo, 2007 (Cinq Planètes)
Presente Remoto, 2007 (Il Manifesto)
Crinali, 2006 (Felmay)
Lune, 2004 (Il Manifesto)
Aqua Foco e Vento, 2003 (Dunya Records)
Thapsos, 2000 (Il Manifesto)
Banditaliana, 1998 (Il Manifesto)



Banditaliana was founded by internationally renowned composer and concertina player Riccardo Tesi, rated as one of the most daring and authoritative musicians in the European world music scene, having collaborated with ethnic music exponents like Elena Ledda, Justin Vali, Kepa Junkera, John Kirkpatrick and Patrick Vaillant, jazz musicians such as Gianluigi Trovesi and Gabriele Mirabassi, as well as with great songwriters Ivano Fossati, Fabrizio De Andre and Gian Maria Testa.

Guitar virtuoso and vocalist Maurizio Geri, blending in his style Mediterranean features with swing-manouche improvisation, and saxophonist Claudio Carboni, provided with a clean and accurate phrasing developed according to the liscio (Italian popular dance music) tradition, have been irreplaceable members of the band since its debut in 1992. Gigi Biolcati on percussion joined Banditaliana in 2010.

The fresh and sunny music resulting from Banditalianas kaleidoscope of sounds is regardless of categories, searching for innovation but sticking to its roots, as a wide synthesis of forms and rites drawn from the Tuscan tradition, Mediterranean flavours, jazz improvisation and songwriting. Original compositions, instrumental virtuosity, precious rhythmic grooves and refined arrangements represent the stylistic features of the group, that over the years has gained a reputation as one of the most interesting bands in the international world music scene and has achieved great success while touring Europe and Canada, taking part in some of the most important folk&jazz festivals.

Banditaliana has released four albums: the first one, Banditaliana, produced in 1998 by Stefano Melone (a collaborator of Ivano Fossati), gained wide recognition from specialized magazines all over the world and was appointed Album of the Year by the Folk Bulletin referendum. The second one, Thapsos, released in 2000, was chosen as record of the month by the Jam and Rockstar magazines, won the Bravo prize of the TradMagazine, Choc de la Musique and got a special mention by Repertoire. The third one, released in 2004, Lune, with Maggio and Tevakh remix by dj Ominostanco won the Citt di Loano prize for Italian Folk music as The best album of the year. "Madreperla" was released in March 2011 and spent several months in the Top Ten of the European World Music Charts.

Several musicians have contributed to the recording and concerts of Banditaliana: clarinet player Gabriele Mirabassi, saxophonist Daniele Sepe, drummer Claudio Fossati, bass players Silvano Lobina and Daniele Mencarelli, cellist Damiano Puliti, singers Nando Citarella, Lucilla Galeazzi and Mancuso brothers, while Carlo Muratori wrote the lyrics.

In 2001 Banditaliana was mentioned as best live band by the German specialized magazine Folker. In 2002 Banditaliana reached the sixth place in the Canadian CKUA Music Network Top Ten and was the only Italian group running for the BBC World Music Awards.