Review and interview by Jamila Campagna
The Italian songwriting scene sees Trenincorsa among its ranks. The band is back with Barba e Capelli, album of a light and cheerful rhythm which starts a new season for the Lombard musicians: 10 years along the folk path are reinforced by new paths that open the horizon to innovative sounds and arrangements, driven by Cesareo, fundamental guitarist of Elio e le Storie Tese, here as artistic producer. He, the upholder of this new experimentation – in the typical style of the experiments he’s been doing with his guitar -, doesn’t miss to play also in Barba e Capelli. Among the special guests, there are also Faso and Jantoman, respectively bassist and keyboard player of the Elio e le Storie Tese, and the same Elio who gives his voice in the song Onderòd, besides Davide Van de Sfroos who has written Orapronobis for the Trenincorsa. This is the first single, where music takes the rhythm from the bilingualism between Italian and Lombard dialect, which sometimes becomes a trilingualism by using English words that reinforce the carefreeness of a goliardic text that describes human vagaries and divine providence with the irony lightness.
The spirit of the Lombard popular and folk tradition chases itself between the songs, to build a renewed musical pattern, by adding keyboards together with the most characteristic guitars, percussions and accordions.
The Trenincorsa are travelers par excellence, they left from the Lake Maggiore lands to move around the rest of Italy, Switzerland, France and Slovenia, in the numerous tours that have seen them spreading music for a total of four albums; in the same way Barba e Capelli, their fifth project, is an itinerary about the lived experiences, with the desire to tell the story of where they’ve been and the dream on where they want to go: so, among the 10 total tracks, there is Trenta Pass, to tell the struggle and the hope to grow and the nostalgic relief when looking back; Onderòd, title that winks to Jack Kerouac for a rock soul song, through a broken English; Tutto il mondo è Paese, to remind us that no matter how far we go, there’s always a convergence point that brings together the different cultures, between love for little things and desires that everybody chases; Genova 09.10.14, an open diary about the sounds that hold the words sense, with the sea taking away the defeats; Il Ladro della Gioconda, where the artistic-historical event becomes expedient for a sort of musical gag; the already mentioned Orapronobis; till to Trenincorsa, song that makes the band portrait carrying with it the best energy.
We gathered Trenincorsa impressions about their last project, together with the artistic producer’s thought, Cesareo. Here’s the band interview and to follow that to Cesareo:
Trenincorsa are 7 and Barba e Capelli is their last album. Shall we start from the title to understand your new project structure?
Barba e Capelli, “Hair and Beard” is what men used to say entering the barber shop with the intention to “cleanse” themselves, a look change, a renewal. So, the choice of this title means just a “renovated” content.
In Trenincorsa’ songs there’s a big use of the Lombard dialect, mixed to Italian language. Can you tell us the reason of this choice and which influences have inspired you?
Let’s say that, we’re born in a folk contest, the use of dialect is very diffused. In my personal case (Matteo Carassini, singer and frontman) I can tell the songs come indifferently in Italian or in dialect just instinctively… depending on the subjects. I can tell to be “bilingual”!
Beside the use of dialect, there are many word games that question the sentences meaning, leaving them to more interpretations. Is it a sort of post-modern surrealism?
Yes, the dialect is a language truncates and, like the English, allows an infinite variety of rhymes, assonances and word games. I must admit it’s often funny!
The album is produced by Cesareo and in several tracks there are some members of Elio e le Storie Tese, we can tell they’ve been your “godfathers” in some way (staying on the subject with the song title, ironically doctrinal, Orapronobis). How did this collaboration start and which are the highlights?
We know De Sfroos and Cesareo since long, we’ve had several collaborations during the years. Esteem has always been high and in this album we made the most of it in every level.
Talking of Orapronobis, what can you tell us about this song written by Davide Van de Sfroos for you?
I can tell [it’s always Matteo speaking, Ed.] Davide rang me up one morning saying he had a song for us… and I obviously burst of happiness. He sent it just voice and guitar, saying I can do with it what I want to, but he thought it was perfect for us… well, he was right seen that it’s been chosen even as single.
For the video of the first single you’ve involved an illustrator, Francesco Castelli, who brilliantly made in a graphic key the song critical and biting wit. Have you thought to realize a cartoon-video to underline the playful nature of the song giving space to the commingling between music and graphic art?
Exactly so. And watching again the video we’re always more convinced we couldn’t find a better solution. Besides it’s about a collaboration completely “luinese” [from Luino, an Italian town, Ed.], as Francesco is an old friend.
Starting from the folk, ten years of careers defining always more your sound identity. How is it important experimentation in the music sphere today?
With time, talking about us, to experiment becomes almost “physiologic”. We realized it even more through this record, thanks to the guide of a musician like Cesareo, who is a master of experimentation. And we feel alive… alive more than ever!
Follows Cesareo’s thought:
What does it mean to invest in a band of a shaped character and with ten years of expertise like the Trenincorsa?
It means take the challenge in tailor a new “music dress” keeping the same style. After ten years of activity was time to find the elegance to make them noticed through all the Italian peninsula.
In which way has the project developed and what’s been your line in guiding the group? First target the songs choice. I wanted to work only on strong tracks, no fillers. Some were only crude an incomplete draft. My main work’s been to complete some songs, writing the missing parts. I applied the rule “this is my proposal, but if you have a nicer idea… it’s even better!”. They gave me carte blanche and they’ve been very good in following me to the letter. I’ve taken the responsibility to make them take the leap, if I’ve made it it’s their credit. In the end we’ve created an album with 10 songs I would describe, with a very strong adjective, beautiful.
Non-sense irony, word games and Lombard goliardic wit. Can we tell that the Trenincorsa have some contact points with the Elii?
No doubt, among the affinities with the Elio and Le Storie Tese there is Matteo Carassini’s language ability, solo voice and songwriter, in describing the subjects with a big attention to the words also about the dialect. I paid a lot of attention to the arrangements, in order to create the right atmosphere to perfectly match the images Matteo wanted to communicate. For instance I made the song Genova 09.10.14 drama and the cheerfulness of Tutto il mondo è Paese with sonorities never heard in Trenincorsa’s previous works.
Embracing the metaphor of the journey, to jump on the moving trains the ticket is not needed, it’s important to know the destination. Which are your “listening tips”?
Travel secure, letting yourselves carry away by ten songs that I won’t ever be tired to consider beautiful. During the listening try to hold the strong pleasure that will do everything to burst out from your warm bodies. If you haven’t been able to hold the strong pleasure that came out from your warm bodies in the meanwhile, at least make sure to use wet wipes right for your skin PH.