Geographically speaking, this northern Italian band from the ‘high lands’ is born in the Piemonte region, the south-west area in the Alpine mountain range. Culturally speaking the Piemonte (Piedmont) can be considered part of Occitania, the historical region in southern Europe roughly comprehending the southern third of France, part of northeast Spain (Aran Valley), Monaco, and parts in the Italian Occitan Valleys (Guardia Piemontese). But beyond the use of their local Franco-Provençal language, and an underlying inspiration coming from songs and dances traditional in the Western Italian Alps, the music of Teres Aoutes String Band is a melting pot of influences, mainly from north American genres: jazz, blues, country, rock&roll,... maybe also Cajun.
In their newly released ‘Courenta & Cadillac’, following their debut album ‘Lo Rock’n Roll de la Mountagna’ (2018); they hold on to the framework of a stringed instruments folk band that is not afraid of contaminations and experimentations. The new CD features ten original compositions and one bold cover: songs made for swirling dances and high attitude (and altitude) atmosphere, spreading from Ry Cooder to Daft Punk (‘Get Lucky’ in their version ‘Cuntent Cuma en giari’).
The band was founded by Mario Poletti, a multi-instrumentalist playing mandolin, mandola, vocals (since 2004 also a regular member of the Occitan folk-rock band Lou Dalfin), and by Fabrizio Carletto, double bass and bass (playing also with the artists Massimo Priviero and Luo Seriol), but there are also the strings from Diana Imbrea (violin, vocals) and Oreste Garello (guitars, vocals).
The opening song is ‘Courenta en blues’, which actually develops a lively beat resembling country & western music, or even bluegrass. At the start of ‘De la neige sen soldàt’, it may seem identifiable some traditional north Italian rhythm, maybe, but some blues guitar and violin as well. ‘L’amur’ a waltz with plucked strings, violin and male voice. ‘Courenta & Cadillac’, a sort of merry polka.
‘Soul freire’, blues mandolin and fiddle. ‘Parlapa”, tarantela influences and other spices. ‘Gente di su’ and ‘La nite di sourchire’, Caribbean flavours of reggae, or vallenato? ‘Sem sunadur’ a beautiful closing bonus track that could start like a plucking bass guitar blues, but soon evolves towards (maybe) some contemporary version of a medieval Italian romantic chant.
I guess my subconscious had to find a reminiscence of the legacy of the Provençal troubadours nearby. Just a random guess...
Photo Credits: (1)-(2) Teres Aoutes String Band, (3) Cantigas de Santa Maria (unknown/website).