Fiamma Fumana's Digital Old Country Sound

In 1999, the original members of Fiamma Fumana formed a band to commemorate the songs they'd heard in Northern Italy, where women would sing as they gathered rice. And in a twist, Fiamma Fumana added bagpipes and electronic music to the mix. With their third CD, Onda, or "Wave," they've found their deep groove.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

You can probably still score tickets to see the Italian group Fiamma Fumana, which kicks off its North American tour next week. The band's aim is to revive the songs of northern Italy with the addition of electronic beats.

Our reviewer, Chris Nickson, says on the new album, Onda, the band has found its groove.

(Soundbite of Fiamma Fumana)

CHRIS NICKSON: The voices begin at sounding almost medieval. Then the beats kick in and over the top come the bagpipes. There's something different going on here with Fiamma Fumana.

(Soundbite of Fiamma Fumana)

NICKSON: This is Italian, not Scots. What's going on here?

(Soundbite of Fiamma Fumana)

NICKSON: People associate the bagpipes with Scotland, and it's home to some fine pipe music. But the pipes occur in many different regions around the globe - Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and even Africa all have their own types and musical styles.

Italy too had a bagpipe tradition, one that almost died before Fiamma Fumana revived it. Within the band, the bagpipes of Jessica Lombardi are the lynchpin of the sound, played in a gloriously rough hewn fashion. Many of the Scots' jigs had their origins in medieval Italian music, and Lombardi's playing highlights the deep connection between the two musical cultures.

(Soundbite of Fiamma Fumana)

NICKSON: Fiamma Fumana are among a growing number of European groups whose vision links the contemporary dance floor with the past. They've organized a festival of like minded artists and spent a lot of time on the road winning fans and honing their sound.

During September they'll be brining their brand of ethno-electronica back to North America. With Onda, Fiamma Fumana have fully realized the potential they first showed seven years ago.

SIEGEL: The new CD from Fiamma Fumana is called Onda. Our reviewer is Chris Nickson.

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