70's Italian Prog Rock bands: Acqua Fragile

Bernardo Lanzetti (vocals, guitar)
Gino Campanini (guitar, vocals)
Maurizio Mori (keyboards, vocals)
Franz Dondi (bass)
Pier Emilio Canavera (drums, acoustic guitar, vocals)


Acqua Fragile was a five-piece from Parma, formed in 1971 from the ashes of Gli Immortali, a group that included singer Bernardo Lanzetti, just returned back to Italy after a long living in the USA, guitarist Gino Campanini and drummer Piero Canavera. These musicians were joined by keyboardist Maurizio Mori and bass player Franz Dondi (who had played with I Moschettieri, that were among the young bands supporting The Rolling Stones during their Italian tour, but just released a single, Quando il tempo dell'amore, in 1967). In one of the last concerts with the old name, the five musicians were spotted by Premiata Forneria Marconi, that introduced them to their manager Franco Mamone. With the new name Acqua Fragile and the professional management Mamone, the group was able to play with important foreign names such as Soft Machine, Alexis Korner & Snape, Tempest, Curved Air, Audience, Uriah Heep, and above all, Gentle Giant.

It took them two years to release their debut album, due to difficulty in finding a record company that would allow them to release it with English sung lyrics. The self-titled album was released in 1973 on the independent Numero Uno label and it was one of the very few Italian prog albums entirely sung in English. A good album skilfully played by the already, at the time, well versed players, with nice west-coast multivocal influences mixed with an English prog sound. The LP included seven long tracks, with good instrumental parts and the nice original harsh voice of Lanzetti. The choice of singing in English didn't probably help the group in achieving a good popularity in Italy, and the album wasn't released abroad as it was probably planned. Oddly the English lyrics weren't included in the album cover, that only contained the Italian translation.

Comic strips

Education story

The second album, Mass-Media Stars, released in 1974 and also gained an US also release, thanks to the English lyrics. It wasn't dissimilar from their first, but with a slightly better production.

Mass-Media stars

At the end of 1974, keyboardist Joe Vescovi replaced Maurizio Mori after The Trip's split. He stayed in for some months and his presence is documented in the bootleg-quality Live in Emilia CD. But the strongest hit to the group's stability came when Bernardo Lanzetti joined PFM, replaced for a while by Roby Facini, previously with I Top 4 and Dik Dik. Acqua Fragile split in 1975. After his experience with PFM, Lanzetti embarked in a long successful solo career. He currently plays with neo-progressive band Mangala Vallis. Bass player Franz Dondi and drummer Pier Emilio Canavera have played with Rocky's Filj, and in the Beatles-inspired band, Shout!, that released 2 CD's in the 90's. Dondi has recently formed Acqua Fragile Project, with a new line-up in which he's the only original member, playing the old group's songs.


Studio albums

Acqua Fragile (1973):

1. Morning Comes (7:22) 
2. Comic Strips (3:56) 
3. Science Fiction Suite (5:54) 
4. Song From A Picture (4:09) 
5. Education Story (4:12) 
6. Going Out (2:56) 
7. Three Hands Man (8:07)

Mass-Media Stars (1974):

1. Cosmic Mind Affiar (7:22) 
2. Bar Gazing (5:07) 
3. Mass-Media Stars (6:55) 
4. Opening Act (5:40) 
5. Professor (6:49) 
6. Coffee Song (5:57) 

Live album

Live In Emilia-Spring '75 (1994):

1. Take 9 
2. Cosmic Mind Affair 
3. Bar Gazing 
4. Professor 
5. Going Out 
6. Science Fiction Suite 
7. Mean Woman Blues 
8. Morning Come 
9. Prelude in C Major 
10. The End