Il Balletto di Bronzo's masterpiece: Ys

Ys front cover

Ys is the second studio album by the 70's Italian progressive rock band Il Balletto di Bronzo. It was released in 1972 on Polydor. It's a concept album, the protagonist is a man, the only one left on earth, whο makes an incredible journey, before tragically disappear in the dark, as it was for the mythical island of Ys, that according to the French folklore legend, was swallowed up by the waters. Somewhere beneath the waves in the bay of Douarnenez in Brittany, north-western France, is said to lay this place with this dramatic history. The island city of Ys has several stories associated with it, the most common and popular claiming it was built for the princess Dahut by her father Gralon, the king of the Cornouaille region. The island was below sea level and protected by a gated dike for which the king held the only key. Ys was to become the most impressive and beautiful city in the world, but was also a byword for sin and corruption. One fateful evening, a knight in red arrived. During the night, he suggested that Dahut should steal the key from her sleeping father. She did, and the devil (for it was of course he) threw open the gates and allowed the sea to swallow Ys. As with all drowned cities, it is said that on stormy nights you can hear the bells of the church at Ys ring dolefully out.

Bay of Douarnenez

After the first album Sirio 2222, the band's line-up changed, and to the original members Lino Ajello (guitar) and Giancarlo Stinga (drums), were added the young keyboardist Gianni Leone (ex Città Frontale) and bassist Vito Manzari. Gianni Leone acted as a catalyst in the creation of the concept album, with his personality and his technique. Thanks to him, there was a sudden change of style towards a dark and complex sound. Ys is the masterpiece of all masterpieces in progressive rock history. It's an obscure symphonic album; the music is always great, each track has it`s moments, the language is beautiful and the dark mood and music makes it yet more special. Maybe the highest or best point of this album is the use of piano and synths during the album; the blend of piano, voices and great drumming is amazing. The album features 5 tracks: Introduzione, Primo, Secondo and Terzo incontro, then to finish with Epilogo and also a bonus track on the 1994 CD reissue, called La tua casa comoda.

Ys tracks listing (37:47):
1. Introduzione (15:11)
2. Primo Incontro (3:27)
3. Secondo Incontro (3:06)
4. Terzo Incontro (4:33)
5. Epilogo (11:30)
Bonus track
6. La Tua Casa Comoda (3:47)

Ys (full album with lyrics)


Il Balletto di Bronzo line-up:
Gianni Leone-vocals, piano, organ, moog, mellotron, spinet, celesta
Lino Ajello-guitar
Vito Manzari-bass
Giancarlo Stinga-drums

Chorus vocals: Giusy Romeo (Giuni Russo), La Metamorfosi (Rosanna Baldassari & Flavia Baldassari)
Lyrics: Daina Dini