Lockdown has seen some great new releases from Perthshire artists and one of the very best, and certainly the most unique, is Roberto Cassani's Ansema We Stand, which is released on Friday and has already received rave reviews.
An adoptive Perthling from Rivalto d'Adda in northern Italy, Roberto's album features his local "Rivaltano" dialect and some of Scotland's very finest musicians. It's an uplifting combination and nowhere more so than on Evviva. a perfect shaft of springtime musical sunlight, which Roberto describes as "joyous face-to-face banter in the piazza, with all the people you like and a wee glass of wine”.
“The album is a celebration of small communities everywhere and the cultural integration that makes us grow as people. It has sadness and light, but ultimately is unabashedly optimistic. And it has some great playing on it.
My dialect is called “Rivoltano”, because it’s only spoken in my town of Rivolta d’Adda. It’s quite similar to other surrounding dialects from much bigger cities like Milan, but it’s unique, and we like that. Like all minority languages, it’s at real risk of extinction, especially because it had never been used in art or literature up to now. So this is my little loving contribution to my town and also to the music of Scotland, although Scotland’s music is already in perfect health and certainly didn’t need any help from me." Roberto Cassani
“Roberto Cassani has put together an intriguing album that fuses the language of Lombardy with the music of Scotland. The result is a riveting, highly entertaining listen, expertly played and bursting with a humour that shines through one of the most impenetrable language barriers that you’re ever likely to come across. A fabulously entertaining album, Roberto has managed to achieve this cultural breakthrough in a respectful and honest way that conveys the musicality and humour of his native tongue. “Ansema we stand” is stunning, and unlike anything else I’ve ever heard” John Barlass - At the Barrier
“One of this year’s big surprises, Roberto Cassani has released a debut album of powerful songs and instrumentals, rich arrangements and touching lyrics, supported by six of the best Scottish musicians. This recording is irresistible. My favourite thing about this exquisite Scottish-Italian collaboration is its representation of one of Europe’s most enduring linguistic curiosities: the Rivoltano dialect, preserved for centuries by local culture - which is where, after all, our richest treasures are to be found”. Alex Monaghan - FolkWorld
Roberto Cassani - double bass and vocals John Somerville - accordion Anna Massie - guitar, mandolin, banjo, tenor guitar and fiddle Stevie Fivey - percussions drums Ross Ainslie - highland pipes and whistles and small pipes Hamish Napier - piano and whistle Greg Lawson - violin Produced, recored, mixed and mastered by Andrea Gobbi at GloWorm Recording Studios, Glasgow.