“MANOGLIA” is the new album of unreleased songs by DAVIDE VAN DE SFROOS, the eighth studio album, yet another step in a career spanning over thirty years where he has always been consistent and faithful to his sound style.
We met the singer-songwriter and had him tell us the essence of “Manoglia”.
Can you tell us about the album?
I had been thinking about making a record like “Manoglia” for a long time.
Often it was the journalists who were rooting for an album with a slightly more “acoustic” feel to arrive, sometimes it was my audience who asked me to rearrange my songs differently and make it a “Nebraska-style” collection.
In fact I had a few songs in the drawer that I had written more for myself than for others, so I decided that autumn, this autumn, would be the right time to bring them to light and share them with everyone.
With my trusted traveling companions we got to work with the idea of making an album “in the shadows”, not arranged in the usual way, with a structure that was not our usual Power Folk, but an album that had to have the his chiaroscuro, which was soft and had a sound typical of a work that prefers acoustic sounds and instruments.
While keeping the web and the spiral of the “acoustic” record open, we noticed that we were maintaining incredible firepower and that everything was taking a highly intimate but also vaguely psychedelic turn, that acoustic psychedelia of the late ’60s and early ’70s.
Among unexpected and unforeseen colors there were incredible surprises during the recording and production of the album, from songs based essentially on piano and voice, to songs that exploit ethnic sounds with Turkish and Asian instruments. To continue with songs with a typical Country or New Folk component. Fundamental were instruments such as the banjo, the mandolin, acoustic slide guitars, shadows of electric guitars transformed in a psychedelic way, manouche guitars.
Certain songs flourished and became a finished song, arranged, leaving all the participants, as always, the possibility of commenting musically, even completely reinventing the song and it was an absolutely winning working methodology.
It’s a “mulet record”, a “medicine record” as far as I’m concerned, I like to think, a dark and intimate record, but not dark in the sense of dark, but twilight, and very private in a certain sense.
In this album there is a part that can be defined as nostalgic, but it is true nostalgia. It is never an absolute regret, it is never a desire to bask in something that is no longer there. It’s just remembering that the places are still there and with them the characters and emotions.
A record with autumn colors and a naturalistic and environmental imprint
Autumn was the most suitable time because, listened to in this period, the record will have the color and heat, the steam, the sounds and the smell typical of this season.
Each song is inspired by different worlds, different styles but together they give life to a small concert held in an attic or in a cellar, and listening to the pieces one after the other you perceive that it is all very free, an almost spontaneous flow of all our inspirations, a becoming in which my skills and those of the formidable musicians, our experiences, styles and tastes are linked as if by magic and enter into immediate harmony and synergy.
This small trunk that is “Manoglia” contains within itself, in addition to a very strong symbolism, the desire for rebirth, for a restart, the sap of the magnolia leaves that leads us towards something new.
Everything that is life, everything that is nature is told on the record, albeit in a non-thunderous way, through these leaves which, with a sort of alchemy, represent the past, the present and the future and will fall and descend towards the listener .
I imagine you listening to this album in a meadow, or in front of a fireplace, or while walking in the mountains or along the lake, or wherever you want, where you feel “at home”, where you are connected to something that makes you feel good; let yourself be involved and embraced by the wind that brings my voice, by the roots of the magnolia that delicately envelop you, by the whispers and shadows, by the nuances of autumn and by the sensations that music transmits to you and you will see, or at least I hope, that this record will go straight to the heart.
What could be the keywords that characterize the album?
Thinking about it, the words that best identify it are: roots, symbols, nature, autumn and memories. There’s a bit of all this on this album!
You will leave in the next few days with an instore. What does meeting your audience mean to you?
In the instores I meet my audience. Unlike concerts I can talk to them, I can feel their affection and warmth. They ask me, they want to take photos, they want autographs. It’s a meeting. A special moment.
TRACK BY TRACK
THE BALLAD OF THE MASKER
I was able to witness the work of the master mask makers of Schignano, listening to their shots and their points of view on the creation of a mask. I understood that starting from there, I too could build a “mask song”, which would become a soft metaphor on the various faces of life. A mask shows itself while hiding a face and there is an arcane magic in all this.
A song out of time that plays and jokes with the indecisions of our era using the rhythm of a manouche-style gypsy guitar as a musical track, then everything opens up and moves, borrowing the mood that we would find in Buster Keaton’s films or some other black and white world where the color, however, seems to be hidden there, ready to attack you at any moment.
CHRYSALIS (The falcon’s wings)
Traveling on the locomotive of a dreaming piano, this text appears, written just before sunset in the meadows near my house. He starts from the wings of butterflies and ends up asking to borrow those of the hawk to be able to fly higher and reflect on his own condition by taking a panoramic look before returning down. The flight is accompanied by the dreamy keyboard of maestro Maurizio Fasoli.
The old gigantic magnolia that acted as a totem in the square of the Azzano club (Azzano di Mezzegra, a town in the province of Como, part of the municipality of Tremezzina where Davide grew up after moving as a child) during our times and our years, it is rediscovered after the confinement and the pandemic with all its evocative power and with all the ghosts locked up in the silence of its shadow. The world of memories reopens while you remain there holding its leaves, reflecting on the passing of the ribbon of life.
THE SONG THAT DOESN’T EXIST
A western, emotional and introspective ride that celebrates the journey in search of the song not yet written. The strange substance similar to that of dreams that we search for to find the secret lake, where perhaps the song that isn’t there is swimming, and that we, in this profession, must bring home before evening, or before morning.
Sounds from other worlds to celebrate this subtle prayer, crossed by the evening wind, full of things carried in a little noisy and only whispered way. We all want to hold the hand at least for a moment of the Queen of everything, mother of all things who from her time in the midst of nature leads us back to the center of lost things.
I can say that Aunt Nora was for me not only a tender and affectionate family figure, but also the strange unaware priestess who initiated me into a vision of the concrete and imaginable world that still accompanies me today and has characterized my journey. . The song moves on the tracks of a paradox, that is, a cheerful nostalgia, as if it were written by the child I still contain and who does not forget.
Even this song, which probably never even imagined becoming a song, was born during those mornings when I wandered at dawn after accompanying my children to the bus. I observed an agent who began his day, finding the strength and courage to create his own ballad starting from the darkness of the morning up to the darkness of the evening, transforming even today – “ankainkoo”, precisely – the rituals of everyday life into something mysteriously magical and essential.
EL GIUVANONN (The beak of the blackbird)
This is the song twinned with Crisalide, musically. But in this case the wings of the falcon give way to the beak of the blackbird, therefore from the air element we descend into the earth and as a symbol the figure of the “giuvanonn” appears, a pure farmer from birth until the end of his days, to remind us of the The importance of digging into our own memories to recover forgotten treasures.
Some people who perhaps do not have an easy history behind them, instead of becoming bearers of resentment or poison, even transform themselves into mechanics towards the fate of others and with precision and dedication they take revenge for an adverse fate by repairing rather than destroying. The psychedelic flavor of the song fascinated me right away.
LEAVES IN THE WIND
This is not only the sequel to “The Prayer of the Four Leaves” (2005 song from the album “Akuaduulza”), which adds four more arboreal symbols while remaining faithful to the structure, but it is also the summary and meeting of the two songs in the moment in which it unfolds in the long ambient finale. We continue with the tradition of the presence of the wind in the last song of the album. And this time you have the feeling that the album never really ends.
LISTEN TO THE RECORD
Saturday 14 October – Varese @ Varese discos at 2.00 pm
Saturday 14 October – Como @ Frigerio Dischi 5pm
Sunday 15 October – Lecco @ Discoshop 3.00 pm
Monday 16 October – Rome @ Discoteca Laziale 5.30pm
Tuesday 17 October – Bologna @ SEMM 6.30 pm
Wednesday 18 October – Verona @ Feltrinelli (via Quattro Spade) 6.00 pm
Thursday 19 October – Brescia @ Latteria Molloy 8.30 pm – in collaboration with Feltrinelli Librerie
Friday 20 October – Bergamo @ NXT Station (Piazzale degli Alpini) 9.00 pm – in collaboration with Feltrinelli Librerie
Saturday 21 October – Sondrio @ La pianola 4.00 pm
Monday 23 October – Mestre @ Festival of Ideas – Candiani Cultural Center 6.30 pm – in collaboration with Feltrinelli Librerie
Wednesday 25 October – Turin @ Oratorio San Filippo Neri 6.00 pm – in collaboration with Feltrinelli Librerie
Saturday 28 October – Perugia @ Sala dei Notari tbc hours
Monday 30 October – Lugano @ RSI 8.00 pm
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