Ginamaria Testa Da Questa Parte del mare

Italian singer-songwriter Gianmaria Testa wants to tell you a story. And he will do it with poetry, with melody, and with the utmost grace. His new album, Da Questa Parte del Mare — from this part of the sea — is intended to be a musical novel, each song acting as a chapter in a story of migration and journeys. The story does lie to an extent in the words — the texts of all the Italian-sung songs are translated in the booklet, so there is the option to follow along. But of course, no translation can completely recapture the spirit of the poetry, so it’s probably better to close the book and listen to the meaning in Testa’s voice. It’s a musky voice, where the grain is completely audible, almost a subterranean rumble through the pitches. The accompaniment is at once sparse and rich — his voice and guitar sitting firmly in the foreground of most of the tunes, but with instruments and sounds sprinkled throughout subtly enough to enhance without diverting the listener’s focus. The who, what, where, when, and why of this story aren’t really that important — Ginamaira Testa acts as the bard, the Greek orator, incanting his tales with his guitar to accompany him. And the rosy fingered dawn is as present in his voice as in the words. (Le Chant du Monde)