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Sophya Baccini's Aradia: Big Red Dragon

Sophya Baccini the lead vocalist of the Italian band Presence is back with her second solo album release and it is epic. Big Red Dragon is a huge concept album that was born from Baccini's summer reading on the Dead Sea. William Blake's writings and paintings, (English poet, writer and artist/painter - 1757-1827), are the subject matter for this concept album. Baccini's inspiration was a random flip of pages which revealed a quote from Blake's The Little Girl Found.

On this album Baccini has assembled a myriad of stars to perform this impressive concept album. Baccini sings lead and backing vocals, plays keyboards, piano, and synth bass. Chicco Acetta, plays guitars; Francesca Colaps plays drums; Stella Manfredi plays violin and viola; Marilena Striano plays piano on "Beatrice".

Baccini has also invited a stellar selection of guest artists to perform this vision together including: Christian Decamps (Ange), lead vocals on "Au Matin de Priemer Jour"; Enrico Iglio, from the band Presence, to play Hammond organ, mini moog, and bells on "The Number"; Pino Falgiano, who plays the keyboard solo on "Cerberus"; Aurelio Fierro Jr., from the band Mind Key, to sing vocals on "Big Red Dragon"; Sonja Kristina, of Curved Air, to sing vocals on "While He's Sleeping"; and Elisa Montaldo, from Il Tempio delle Clessidre, to play harpsichord, celeste, and mellotron on "Love of Hecate". Steve Sylvester sings vocals on "The Number"; Roberto Tiranti, from the band Presence, sings vocals on "Just"; Irvin Vairetti, sings vocals on "La Porta dell'Inferno"; and Lino Vairetti, from the bands Osanna, Algebra, Divae, Malaavia, sings vocals on "La Porta dell'Inferno". Yes…an all-star ensemble indeed.

This is a very deep and operatic composition which truly endeavors to explore the writings and interpret the inner feelings of William Blake from his writings. It is a dramatic event that deserves your full attention. Every aspect of the package: the sound, the voices… all the way to the 16 page CD book of lyrics, painting, photos and credits helps to tell the story which Baccini wished to convey. Objective achieved.

My favorite tracks were Sonja Kristina's vocals on "While He's Sleeping", and of course Sophya Baccini's vocals on the Sir Hubert Parry/ELP classic "Jerusalem".

Buy this CD and sit back and be entertained by some excellent Italian progressive composition. Revel in the sincerity and unique perspective as it unfolds in its majesty.

Track Listing:

01 - William 2:59
02 - Angel of the Revelation 4:31
03 - Satan 3:54
04 - Love Of Hecate 5:49
05 - The Number 4:19
06 - La Porta Dell'Inferno 9:01
07 - Just 7:02
08 - Cerberus 8:00
09 - While He's Sleeping 5:28
10 - Au Matin Du Premier Jour 5:47
11 - Beatrice 6:37
12 - Big Red Dragon 5:27
13 - Jerusalem 3:06

Added: April 30th 2014
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link:
Hits: 1624
Language: english

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Sophya Baccini's Aradia: Big Red Dragon
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-04-30 17:58:38
My Score:

Sophya Baccini, the daughter of an operatic tenor, is a singer/keyboardist who released her first album Aradia in 2009. She and her guitarist Chicco Accetta are back, this time with a predominantly all-female band including Francesca Colaps (drums), Stella Manfredi (violin, viola) and Marilena Striano (piano). There are also many guest musicians, most notably Sonja Kristina of Curved Air fame. Baccini is also a member of the Italian band Presence whose last album was released in 2008. This is the first I have heard Baccini's music.

The album had its beginnings when Baccini, sitting beside a pond, read a passage from The Little Girl Found, a work by English painter/writer William Blake. Each song takes inspiration from a Blake painting (which are included in the CD booklet). I might add the artwork is visually striking. The booklet also includes full album lyrics (English, Italian and French), band photos and some background on the concept. A nice package indeed.

The opening track "William", is a song steeped in the grandiose, symphonic style of classic Italian prog. Piano, bursts of synthesizer and soaring guitar work further add to its charms. "Angel Of The Revelation" has a slightly darker tone with lots of tempo and thematic changes. Much more ominous is "Satan", as the music and lyrics take the listener to an uncomfortably darker place. Big symphonic rhythms and some squelching guitar from Accetta round out the package. "Love Of Hecate" takes the music in a mellower direction with delicate guitar phrasings and gentle piano however the intensity does pick up at various times. "La Porta Dell'Inferno" is more classical/opera than prog whereas "The Number", referring to the dreaded 666, is pure progressive rock with big organ riffs and intense lead vocals. The album ends with a rendition of "Jerusalem", made famous in rock music by ELP, and is a very nice closure. Here, the music is more atmospheric and ethereal with a stunning vocal arrangement and building climax.

Italian progressive rock is seemingly in good stead with bands like Sophya Baccini's Aradia at the wheel. Nice stuff indeed!

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