Anyone who saw the clips from the UKEit Festival will know that Italy has a very healthy ukulele scene going on right now and it’s in no small part due to, radio and TV stars, Cappa & Drago. With their UKEit site, they’ve set out to, “create an original Italian ukulele scene, starting with those who have already mastered the instrument, working in the live scene and making records, as well as welcoming other artists from all sorts of musical backgrounds to experiment on the four strings.” And if the festival wasn’t enough to convince you they’ve really got something going on, then the CD UKEit Volume Uno should do they trick.
The album is packed with excellent performances. You might already be familiar with Veronica Sbergia and Max de Bernardi‘s fantastic take on Se Stasera Sono Qui and, the Uncle Fester of the ukulele, Fabio Koryu Calabro. But there are also many acts on the CD that are completely new to me.
There’s a great variety of styles on the CD. Along with more traditional ukulele fare, there’s hip hop uke from Frankie Hi-NRG MC and Scampaforce sounding like Daft Punk’s long lost ukulele song. Other tandout tracks include Thomas Blackthorne’s cover of Tom Waits’s I Don’t Want To Grow Up (which, like all the tracks on the album, is sung in Italian), Cappo & Drago’s Paroxetina 20mg and
Enrico Farnedi’s Lena (which you can hear on his MySpace).
But highlight of the album is the incredible voice of Musica Nuda’s Petra Magoni covering Un Calpo Al Cuore (with Gaetano Cappa on uke duties) which, I should point out, isn’t anywhere near as far out as the performance in that video but just as wonderfully melodramatic.
I’m already looking forward to Volume Due.