The premise for Guano Padano’s Americana is like very few others, it is inspired by an underground and anti-fascist literary movement that happened in Italy between 1930-1940, where Italian intellectuals started to translate American literature in a regime where open displays of affection for any foreign culture was strictly forbidden. Much like these literary-rebels Guano Padano have fallen in love with classic American culture, but have gone in a totally different direction with their translations.
Guano Padano musically interpret the words and verses of great authors such as Hemingway, Cesare Pavese, Steinbeck, John Fante, Sherwood Anderson and many more. They transpose literary worlds that contain dark and vibrant colours, characters and landscapes – from the cacti and bloodstained plains of Cesare Pavese’s “The Moon and Bonfires,” to the dusty desert flatlands and errant knights of Steinbeck’s “Tortilla Flat”, to the farms of “Of Mice and Men” and the dust that covers the shoulders of Hemingway’s characters. These are the places that Guano Padano seeks to capture in their music, this primitive yet virginal America that is both fertile and a wasteland, where boundless plains melt into the lurid suburbs of alcoholic towns. This is a land of karstic Rivers, a land where the air is full of the scent of dirt, sweat, railroads and freedom, this is Americana.
The sound of Guano Padano is warm and resonant. It blends the timeless melodies of Morricone’s westerns and the pulsating surf-punk rhythms of John Zorn, the heartbreaking Tex Mex atmospheres Calexico’s ballads, and the free jazz experimentation and the psychedelia of Sixties. Americana is not an album like any other, it is a musical trip that starts from the mists of the Italian province, then wanders drunk through the agitations of Balkan Europe and crosses the ocean with a wide-brimmed hat and it lands in America. The America of Vittorini, Pavese, Nanda Pivano and the America of lonely hearts sung by Hank Williams.
“It’s the perfect soundtrack for a movie shot by Sergio Leone, Jim Jarmusch and Sofia Coppola together,” said Joey Burns of Arizona rockers Calexico. It is a a soundtrack played with vintage instruments but with a contemporary ear, a soundtrack dedicated to the dust of the desert between Arizona and Mexico, to the losers of John Steinbeck and to the “wop” of John Fante. Guano Padano’s music celebrates man’s journey to the unknown.
Guano Padano was founded in 2007 by guitarist Alessandro “Asso” Stefana and by drummer Zeno De Rossi, both with songwriter Vinicio Capossela, and by bass player Danilo Gallo (El Gallo Rojo’s creator with De Rossi; an experimental jazz collective). On Americana, they have realised a project that is more traditionally Italian and with a greater international ambition.
(written with the aid of words by Nicoletta Montella and writer Vittorio Bongiorno)