Suite Patagonia

Suite Patagonia · Recorded at Osiris Studio, Buenos Aires, February 2000
Mastered by Javier Cosentino at Cosentino Studio, Buenos Aires
CD released by ad21 ad104 1.500 copies OUT OF STOCK
Assistant Engineers: J.M.Bordiga & F.Carlomagno
Graphic design & photography: Gastón Ruíz
Natalia Chiambaretta: Violin, Paulo Carri: Quenas, Quenachos, Trutruca*, Pifilca*
Bruno Sanfilippo: electronic, kultrum* chascas*

Roberto Straneck: recording of patagonian birds.
Track 1″Sayhueque” (at the beginning and at the end) “Chucao” bird (Scelorchilus rubecula)
Its powerful song resounds in the woods of the Nahuel Huapi National Park in Patagonia.
End of track 2 and beginning of track 3: colonies of Magallanic pinguins.
Track 4 “Magallanes” Black-Crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) Usually at night, its harsh sharp song can be heard at the seashore of the of Tierra del Fuego island and the Magellan Strait.
Track 5 “Fuegia & Jemmy” a) sounds emitted by “ballena Franca” whales (Balaena australis), highly coveted by the indians of the Magellan Strait and later by european seamen of the XVII and XVIII centuries.
b) Original recording of a ritual song of extinguished indian tribes of the southernmost tip of Patagonia.

Only available digitally from:
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‘Dedicated to the incredible histories that harboured the lands of the Patagonia. The Cacique Sayhueque, the Patagonian Giant’s myth, the admiration of the colonists before an unknown fauna, the contact between the native ones and Magellan’s men, curious histories that touch with the magic and the fantasy, full with myths fed by old conquerors, scanners and adventurers. The colourful autochthonous instrumentation with aboriginal songs, sounds of the southern fauna, the European vision of a time, of a place, of numberless histories and legends’
Here Bruno Sanfilippo releases a complex and risky conceptual album about the history of Patagonia, one of the most magical places in Argentina, since it was discovered. The seven instrumental tracks of this album tell seven legends and stories played by Bruno (keyboards, programming, sythns, samplers, kultrum y chascas), Natalia Chiambaretta (Violin) and Paulo Carri (Quenas, quenachos, trutruca, pifilca) ancient instruments of Mapuche (Patagonia´s indians)
On the other hand the album can be enjoyed at its best if you listen to it carefully. If you read the booklet that contains all kind of information and graphics about Patagonia while you´re listening to the music, you´ll enjoy the album while you learn more about that culture.

Reviews

  • Es gibt einige Dinge, die auf den ersten Eindruck bzw. beim Anhören einer CD erst einmal einen etwas auf innere Distanz gehen lassen. Die Worte "instrumentales Keyboardalbum" und "Konzeptwerk" fallen in diese Kategorie, obwohl sie an sich nun ja wirklich nicht immer so negativ vorbelastet sind. Doch zu viele Elektroniktüfftler aus dem Keller haben so manch ambitioniertes Gesamtwerk zu einer Farce werden lassen. Der Argentinier Bruno Sanfilippo gehört glücklicherweise nicht dazu. Denn im Gegensatz zu vielen Kollegen schafft er es, nicht nur leere Tonfolgen zu programmieren und zu spielen, sein Werk hat Spannungselemente, in langsam sich steigernder Atmosphäre wird Bombast und Pathos in ein verträgliches Maß gepackt. War da nicht am Anfang der Kritik auch die Rede von einem Konzeptwerk? Also, flugs zum Inhalt dieses Albums: die "Suite Patagonia" handelt von der Entdeckung Patagoniens und Feuerlands durch den Seefahrer Hernando de Magellanes, der auf der Suche nach einem Seeweg nach China und Japan, den südamerikanischen Kontinent umschiffte und schließlich auch die nach ihm benannte Seestraße fand. Im rund 24-seitigen Booklet gibt es die historische Abhandlung der damaligen Ereignisse ergänzt um wunderschöne Landschaftsaufnahmen. Musikalisch bewegt sich Sanfilippo irgendwo zwischen sinfonischem New Age und World Music. Sein Soundtrack für den Kopf malt feine Linien, sachte werden Stimmungen erzeugt, die zudem durch Violine, gesampelte Flöten- und Bläsertöne sanft davongleiten. Mal klingt etwas verspielte Kindlichkeit durch, mal wird die sinfonische Dramatik langsam gesteigert, um die Landschaft musikalisch greifbar zu machen. Man möchte fast selbst in ein Boot steigen, um zu einer Reise zu einer der ursprünglichsten und kargsten Landschaften Südamerikas aufzubrechen.
    Progressive Newsletter #34
  • Una banda sonora sin película, que consigue evocar todo tipo de imágenes en la mente de quien lo escucha. Sanfilippo propone una visita por la historia y leyendas de la época de los conquistadores sobre los paisajes e indígenas de este lugar. Cánticos rituales en "Giant Patagon", la gradiosidad de "Sayhueque" o la orquestación y piano de "Terra Incognita" atacan lo más profundo de tus sentidos, combinando samplers y sintes con instrumentos ancestrales. Inevitables referencias a Vangelis, Mike Oldfield o Ennio Morricone, pero con incomparable riqueza y fuerza.
    Future Music #58
  • I wouldn’t be at all surprised if somewhere in the Sanfilippo home one could find a sign which says "genius at work," because when you listen to "Suite Patagonia" for the very first time, there’s only one word you can think of and that’s genius, G-E-N-I-U-S! As Vangelis tackled the discovery of America by Columbus on his 1492 soundtrack, Sanfilippo here delivers a view into history, into the southern extreme of the Americas that reached the South Pole, Terra Incognita Australis. The booklet is filled with interesting information about this period and its history, whilst the music really has you explore that huge territory by means of instrumental storytelling beauty. Opener "Sayhueque" is bombastic yet contains the true feel of the Mapuche Indians by introducing their authentic instruments such as quanas, quanachos, pifilca and trutruca, all skillfully performed here by one Paulo Carri. Sanfilippo himself plays kultrum and chaschas, two other authentic instruments from the Mapuche heritage. Next to the rich patterns on synthesizers and samplers, Bruno has also added the richness of real violin as performed here by Natalia Chiambaretta. In several of the tracks you can also hear the true recordings of Patagonian birds, which of course bring the synthetic music and the true spirit of nature closer together. The underlying repetitive pattern makes “Giant Patagon” into a dragging rhythm, again complemented with birdsong and detailed instrumentation. “Terra Incognita” contains loads of classical references and in fact sometimes sounds as if a real orchestra is at work. It contains a very addictive rhythm and fuses Celtic-like elements within the music. The classical reference goes one step further when classical piano melts together with kettle drums and a huge choir to extra emphasize the repetitive nature of “Terra Incognita". Towards the end I notice a bit of early-Oldfield influences as well. “Magallanes” holds a fair amount of Arabian elements not in the least the addictive nature of the rhythmic pattern, which kind of places you on a flying carpet overlooking the vast Patagonian landscape. “Fuegia & Jemmy” contains an original recording of a ritual song by extinguished Indian tribes of the most southern tip of Patagonia. This chant is embedded in very powerful and bombastic strings building like the waves that crash on the beach. To top it all, this song also includes the sound of authentic "ballena Franca" whales. The actual “Suite Patagonia” is a fine example of the compositional skills of Sanfilippo, introducing subtle melodies backed by some outstanding majestic strings in the best Vangelis tradition. Again Celtic influences spring to mind when you hear the inclusion of tin whistle that complements the superb orchestral arrangement. The album closes with “The Andes", a repetitive pattern that sounds like a loop fading in the distance. Get that Grammy ready as this guy truly deserves it! In the meantime, film directors can stop their quest for the right soundtrack as Bruno Sanfilippo will certainly do an outstanding job. Superb!
    Progressive world Magazine
  • Da Argentina nos chega uma agradável surpresa; um álbum chamado "Suite Patagonia" (ad21music, 47:00) do tecladista Bruno Sanfilippo. Com formacao erudita em piano e teoria musical, mais extensao em guitarra, instrumentacao MIDI e programacao de samplers e sintetizadores, Bruno tem uma incrível nocao de cómo criar uma obra conceitual. Sua capacidade de captar melodias no ar e transformá-las em arranjos épicos ou singelas sinfonias romanticas, nos faz lembrar de nomes como David Arkestone e Gandalf. "Suite Patagonia", que tem a participacao de um percussionista, uma violinista e a inclusao de sons naturais de pássaros e águas da Terra do Fogo, traz histórias lendárias do belo e estranho mundo que o extremo sul de nosso continente, em música que desenvolvem temas como "Giant Patagon", "Teraa Incognita" é uma obra fantástica, de padrao internacional, transbordante de técnica e emocao, que surpreende logo á primeira audicao.
    Revista Metamusica # 63
  • I 47 minuti di musica strumentale, essenzialmente tastieristica, di questo disco possono compiacere vivamente coloro che amano le atmosfere ampie e rilassanti. La musica delle 7 tracce qui presenti rendono perfettamente l'immagine di ciò che l'artista prova nella descrizione della terra cui fa riferimento il titolo. Bruno Sanfilippo, musicista di Barcellona, registra il suo disco a Buenos Aires, forse proprio per cogliere meglio l'ispirazione per i paesaggi descritti musicalmente. Una musica che talvolta pare virare verso atmosfere nordiche ma che in prevalenza ha colori caldi ed elegiaci. Sarà che sono un appassionato e che al momento di scrivere sono appena stato al cinema, ma vedrei benissimo questo disco come possibile colonna sonora del Signore degli Anelli. "Suite Patagonia" è comunque ben difficile da descrivere a parole: si può parlare di somiglianze con lavori di Vangelis o Mike Oldfield, ma si tratta di accostamenti atti solo a far comprendere su quali territori ci si muove. Perfino nei momenti più quieti, non si può parlare proprio di musica ambient o new age; si tratta di musica (non parlerei comunque di rock!) sinfonica, certamente difficile all'ascolto, non immediata nell'approccio, ma comunque affascinante e descrittiva (questo a confermare la mia voglia di vederla come colonna sonora), mai stancante nonostante i suoi connotati non certo d'impatto.
    Rivista ARLEQUINS
  • Is there such a thing as a concept album without a true definable musical concept, instead being borne out of a true story told through music? If so, Suite Patagonia, from keyboard player Bruno Sanfilippo (who hails from Barcelona) is it. This is a grand "tale", all the more remarkable when one reads the extensive (pages and pages of them, in fact) liner notes which recount the history of the land of Patagonia (the land at the far southeastern tip of South America, near the Straits of Magellan), starting with its discovery by the explorer Magellan (here written as Magallanes). I will admit to being more-or-less ignorant of the "real story" behind this chapter of history (and subsequent ones involving the Patagonians and the colonists). After reading the liner notes, I certainly want to know more and my curiosity is reinforced and encouraged by the highly dramatic and wonderful music written and performed by Bruno Sanfilippo. Using what sounds like a large arsenal of synths and samplers (along with a few authentic - for that part of the world - instruments, e.g. kultrum, chaschas), Sanfilippo has crafted a sweeping neo-orchestral recording that offers up stirring themes, forlorn melodies, and both stately and dramatic rhythms. Musically, some may hear echoes of Richard Burmer, circa his brilliant Bahkti Point-era. But the music on Suite Patagonia is less ' new age ' by far. It's much more along the lines of soundtrack music, especially on tracks like the opening "Sayhueque," (church-like bells, pounding timpani, and bass-strings may bring to mind Morricone's great soundtrack for The Mission). Other selections include the somewhat otherworldly "Giant Patagon" (featuring great "clipped" synth chorus work and lush strings) as well as delicate flute-like samples counterpointed by thundering drums and plucked strings. "Terra Incognita" features a variety of exotic synths but used in a traditional manner so that the music is never too bizarre or overtly "electronic." A harpsichord-like keyboard carries the melodic refrain and hand-chimes bring to mind the Burmer comparison I mentioned earlier. Despite the title (which can be translated as "unknown land"), the track is not dark or scary, instead concentrating on a sense of exploration and discovery. Even during the few parts of the album when the mood quiets down, I'd never call this ambient music. And it's definitely not new age music. I think the best way to define Suite Patagonia is as I wrote above: it's a musical "tale" with distinct chapters and stories, encompassing a wide variety of moods and emotions. "Magallenes" can be heard as haunting (owing to snaky synth work) despite its pounding percussion. The title track is almost overture-like, with a largely orchestral sound to it as it moves through eight minutes of various musical motifs. The closing cut, "The Andes," is probably the closest to "new age music" owing to a more gentle tone and the use of synths that sound less like traditional instruments. Admittedly, Suite Patagonia is probably not an album, upon one's first listening, whose craftsmanship or artistic worth is wholly appreciated (such was the case with me, at least). The music is never "easy" to listen to the way that new age music usually is and it's not the least bit unobtrusive (in the way that ambient music is). Instead, I keep coming back to the comparison to a soundtrack. In fact, owing to the great liner notes and the strong visual component of the music, I sure wish someone would "film" this album. The historical "story" is amazing (I wish space permitted me to recount it here) and the music, with its dramatic themes, exciting melodies, forceful percussion, and classically romantic motifs, would merit a movie filled with heroism, tragedy, hope, loss, and redemption. Until the movie is made, though, Suite Patagonia will have to do for those with imagination enough to "see it" in their mind's eye.
    WIND and WIRE
  • This is certainly the best Symphonic Prog album I ever heard since long! Only instrumental, with a rich instrumentation, a superb mix, splendid atmospheres, there are no gaps in this disc. Bruno Sanfilippo is the Argentinean Mike Oldfield ! With a difference: he plays keyboard. But the attitude (lyrical, symphonic, folk influenced) is the same. Although he (adn his friends) uses a lot of local instruments (among which various flutes and pipes), this never sounds "folklore" music but rich Progressive Rock. In the way of the Los Jaivas but more experimental, innovative and symphonic. A treat ! I wonder how were the first three albums by this guy. The booklet is interesting too since it tells several stories which happened in Patagonia a far, hidden and then mysterious country. An intelligent and personal concept album !
    ACIDDRAGON Magazine # 3
  • Here's another musician from Argentina, doing an album (almost) entirely on his own. Bruno Sanfilippo manages to come whit a highly entertaining album. Bruno also plays mainly instrumental music, but has a musically different approach. The first thought that comes to mind after listening to "Suite Patagonia" is of Mike Oldfield's firts albums, specially "Tubular Bells", thanks to the structure of the tracks and sounds used. Another parallel (but less significant) is to a soundtrack, like "Braveheart", because of the surprising strong folky influences every now and then. Bruno even uses some traditional Indian instruments on the CD. The disc seems to be sort of an instrumental concept and the booklet tells anecdotes of the discovery (by Europeans, that is) and history of Patagonia - in Spanish and English. Because of the concept, I find it a bit hard to pinpoint a single track as highlight of example. Despite the fact, that the music doesn't run trough over the full length and is divided into 7 separate tracks, if feels as a whole. And I think it should be regarded as such. A great alternative for people who lost their faith in Mike Oldfield!
    Background Magazine
  • For those that don't know Patatgonia is the largely unspoil Southern region of South America shared between Argentina and Chile, including the Tierra del Fuego, an archipielago off the southern tip of South America ending at Cape Horn in the Antarctic Ocean. This album is a collection of pastoral, almost new age styled, compositions which is not only beautifully written but is also a wonderful advertisement for the Argentine Tourist Board. The CD cover features stories from the Region and some enticing landscape shot which had me reaching for my travel atlas to see what it would cost to get out there. The album itself consist of 7 evocative pieces describing different features of the land, its discovery, its people and wildlife. Modern keyboards and violin are complemented by traditional instruments of the Ona and Yamana Indian peoples of the Region. Several tracks incorporate the birdsong of native species to elaborate the ethnic and ecological metaphors. The closest comparison I can make to the music on this album is to yhe more relaxed aspect of Jade Warrior's Island years (e.g.Way of the Sun) and their final two albums without David Duhig. Few bands were as successful at drawing the listener into landscapes and social behaviour as Jade warrior and it is a tribute to the skill of Bruno Sanfilippo that he has been able to create similar effects so well.The music has few, if any, sharp edges but never slip into the overt sentimentalism and quasi-religious undertones of many new age albums. Enjoyable both as soothing background music and for more intense listening pleasure when the subtleties of texture and delicate touches of instrumentation can fully appreciated.
    Wondrous Stories Journal # 109