70's Italian Prog Rock bands: Il Balletto di Bronzo


LINE-UP

1969-70
Marco Cecioni (vocals, guitar)
Lino Ajello (guitar)
Michele Cupaiuolo (bass)
Giancarlo Stinga (drums)

1971-73
Gianni Leone (keyboards, vocals)
Lino Ajello (guitar)
Vito Manzari (bass)
Giancarlo Stinga (drums)


HISTORY


Formed in Naples in late 60's, with the initial name of Battitori Selvaggi, they were playing in Nato bases in Italy. They changed their name to Il Balletto di Bronzo with the first line-up, with two good singles in 1969 and 1970 and even recording some tracks in Spanish (released in 1988 as a single and in 1990 on the Il Re del Castello LP) and their first album, Sirio 2222. The album is now considered as one of the rarest of the Italian prog era, and is halfway between late 60's psych-influenced pop and prog. The long suite Missione Sirio 2222 is one of the best tracks, while most of the others are in the 3-minute typical length. Some collectors consider it as one of the best in the Italian prog field, others think it's still not a mature group's work. It's without doubt a very important album.

 
Missione Sirio 2222 from ProgRock70s on Vimeo.
(The audio track of this video is cut due to difficulty making a video out of its middle part.)

In 1971 keyboardist Gianni Leone (from the very first Città Frontale) joined the group, that played for a short time as a five piece. Then, when Cecioni and Cupaiuolo quit, with the entrance of  bassist Vito Manzari (from the Rome band Quelle Strane Cose Che) a new Balletto was born, much more in a symphonic vein and dominated by his keyboards. The addition of keyboards to the band's sound was to prove an inspired move and change the dynamics of their sound drastically. The second album Ys (from the name of a legendary town in Brittany), released in 1972 on Polydor, is a masterpiece, giving the group the success they deserved. An English-sung version, partly already recorded and released in 1992, was never finished. Ys saw a move towards symphonic prog with a very busy playing style containing elements of jazz and classical influences.

Introduzione (part of it) & Primo Incontro

The group disbanded in 1973 due to internal contrasts, and the last concerts and a final single, La tua casa comoda, were played by Leone and Stinga as a duo. Gianni Leone had a short solo career under the name of Leo Nero, the others went to live in Sweden and disappeared from the Italian music scene. Gianni Leone has reformed the band in late 90's with bassist Romolo Amici and drummer Ugo Vantini from the neo-prog group Divae on whose 1995 CD Gianni had played; they made a series of concerts from which the live CD Trys has been recorded. In 2008 the DVD Live in Rome, filmed in 2007 with a line-up including Leone, with bass player Marco Capozi and drummer Adolfo Ramundo, is the first video document ever released by this historical band.



DISCOGRAPHY
(albums)

Sirio 2222 (1970):

1. Un posto
2. Eh eh ah ah
3. Neve calda
4. Ma ti aspetterò
5. Meditazione
6. Girotondo
7. Incantesimo
8. Ti risveglierai con me
9. Missione Sirio 2222


Ys (1972):

1. Introduzione
2. Primo Incontro
3. Secondo Incontro
4. Terzo Incontro
5. Epilogo


Il Re del Castello (1990):
(rare 7-track compilation with unreleased recordings)

1. Accidenti I
2. Il Re del Castello
3. Neve Calda
4. Accidente II
5. Eternità
6. Nieve Calda
7. Sì Mama Mama








Sources: http://www.italianprog.com/index.htm
http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=37