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De Andre Fabrizio
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  • For his 1981 eponymous release, Fabrizio De Andr picks up where his last album, Rimini, left off. Pursuing the fruitful collaboration with Massimo Bubola, with whom De Andr co-wrote the totality of the material, this album extends the country & western musical and thematic references introduced in Rimini into a full-blown analogy between two oppressed communities, the Native American Indians and that of the Sardinians. In fact, the record is usually referred to as "Indiano," since its cover features a Frederic Remington painting of a Sioux hunter on a horse. In addition, the key track, "Fiume Sand Creek," depicted through the eyes of an Indian child, tells of the harrowing massacre of his tribe at the hands of the U.S. Cavalry. Based on an actual historical event, this song became a De Andr concert staple. De Andr moved to Sardinia in the mid-'70s and was profoundly impressed by the history and landscape of the island. Appropriately, many of the songs in this album tell stories of people chased from their own lands and forced to seek shelter in the hills. Community disintegration left them with very few options available: shepherding, banditism, a nomadic existence full of deprivation and loneliness. However, De Andr often adds a noble, if not definitely romantic, quality to his characters in associating them with nature and independence. By virtue of being pretty much forgotten by country, society, and its institutions, left alone in the wilderness, these individuals are thus able to attain true freedom, albeit in isolation. A sort of pastoral-by-force album, "Indiano" contains a few of the most truly beautiful, delicate, and strangely uplifting songs in his canon, such as "Canto del Servo Pastore" and "Se Ti Tagliassero a Pezzetti." At any rate, its centerpiece is undoubtedly "Hotel Supramonte," inspired by the most traumatic event of De Andr's life. In 1979, he and his companion, singer Dori Ghezzi, were kidnapped by Sardinian bandits and held captive for four months until a ransom was arranged. "Hotel Supramonte" is the euphemism used to refer to the hideouts in the mountains where victims of kidnapping (a sad and long-lasting business in Sardinia) are kept. Surprisingly, De Andr only gives away the subject matter of his song in its title. Indeed, rather than a chronicle, "Hotel Supramonte" reads as a love song to someone who is absent and whose return is uncertain. Set to the most sparse arrangement of the album, "Hotel Supramonte" refuses to cave in to the feelings of anger, bitterness, or fear that such a dramatic experience may evoke, and chooses instead understanding and compassion, a sense of desolate tenderness that becomes all the more touching with every listen. Another exceptional De Andr album, "Indiano" is also noteworthy for being the last "traditional"singer/songwriter album he would make. Starting with 1984's groundbreaking Creuza de M, for the remaining 15 years of his career De Andr would embark on an ethnic musicologist research voyage and record very sporadically. [Ricordi reissued the album as an import in 2002.] ~ Mariano Prunes
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