River Of Gennargentu (the nom de blues of Sardinia's Lore Tuccio) is
proof once again that blues music is an international language, and in the right hands and the right voice it can be made new again while staying true to the original (whatever that is.)
The music of Jesse Mae Hemphill, R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and of course the masters that came before them, live on in the music of the River Of Gennargentu, but there's differences. Ghosts of African desert poly-tones brush past dancing Romas while electric Appalachians and the hill country people of north Mississippi meet the mountain and ocean people of Sardinia for a late night ramble. I keep saying it, and you know it's true: It's all connected.
It's subtle, intriguing stuff this River Of Gennargentu. I needed to know more. Fortunately, Mr. Tuccio was willing to chat with me. You'll find an interview below the music player::
RS (Rick Saunders) :: Tell me about your music, Lore. How long have you been playing? Sounds like you dig that North Mississippi hill country drone of Junior Kimbrough, but mixed with other sounds, too. Tell me who's influenced you, and how you discovered it.
LT (Lore Tuccio) :: I play since I was 14 (I am now 36 ) I started in mid 90's playing guitar in metal, punk and noise bands with friends, and experimenting kind of noisy electronic music with cassette tapes and turntables. I'm influenced by DIY punk ethic, but I listen a lot of music: genres is not so important, good music is important, in fact.
Some years ago (about 2007) I bumped into primal blues, and has been an authentic revelation: primitive blues talks with your soul. My first influences were Son House, Bukka White, Rosa Lee Hill, Skip James, Robert Pete Williams, Big Joe Williams, and the North Mississippi Hill Country scene, of course. So, I started playing the blues and building my own instruments: cigar box guitars, percussions, etc...
Then in 2011 I met this guy, we have friends in common, he listened some recordings of mine and proposed to play together: we formed Black Lodge Juke Joint, a raw punk/ blues duo, made two self-produced records and played in festivals, squats, pubs, houses parties, street's corners...
Now after years of moves around Italy and several changes in my life, I'm returned to the small town where I'm grown, in central Sardinia, near Gennargentu Mountains, a place with beautiful natural landscapes, really into the wild some month ago I recorded the EP as you know, and that's all!
I forgot to tell you that in addition to the Delta and North Mississippi Hill Country (RL Burnside, Kimbrough, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Robert Belfour, etc.) is a very important influence for me African blues (Ali Farka Toure, Tinariwen, Boubakar Traore, and more)! Also , people who come to my gigs says he feels even influence the Sardinian music , and that's good !
RS:: What/where is the River of Gennagentu? What's its significance to you?
LT:: About this, Taloro is a river that flows from the mountains of Gennargentu , so I chose the name is a tribute to my land and this people...You know , Sardinia is a sparsely populated region ( one of the least populated in Europe, 1.5 million inhabitants ), where the economic crisis feels a lot , going around playing I saw that people immediately understand the blues , is a music that fits in these times and places...
RS:: What's the music scene like for you? Do you play mostly around Sardinia or do you travel?
LT:: The blues scene in Sardinia is alive , there are a lot of individuals and bands that play : I can think of King Howl quartet, and Donnie, also Hola La Poyana , Sunsweet Blues Revenge , Francesco Piu, and many others , each with their own personal style...
For now I played mainly in Sardinia , but I'm starting to run across Italy , the last time I played in Rome at Mojo Fest 2015 .. then this summer there is some good chance to play in Germany.
RS:: I was wondering if you were into the desert blues scene, considering your close proximity to Tunisia. That's interesting. I did a little research on Sardinia last night and listened to some guys playing the Launedas and that drone sound it makes reminded me of your sound.
LT:: Hey thanks for your considerations Rick! I would love to, I do not believe to be part of the desert blues, although there are cultural aspects that will probably bring us closer ( both Sardinian and Tuareg peoples are traditionally shepherds) Your mention of the launeddas made me think of one thing : here in Barbagia is a musical tradition that has much in common with fife & drum of North Mississippi, and here you play the drum (tumbarinu) and the fife (pipiolu) !
RS:: What sort of guitars do you use, and amps? Do you work strictly solo now?
Taloro is recorded only with acoustic instruments: CBG, acoustic guitar, resonator guitar. During the recording sessions there was a microphone in front of me, so that together capture voice and instrument, one take, no overdubbing, in the simplest way possible. And yes, for now I play solo.
RS:: Anything else people should know about you or your music? Any new releases or big gigs coming up?
LT:: By the end of June the Talk About Records decided to release the reissue of Taloro: that will contain two previously unreleased tracks dating back to the first recording sessions of the EP (2008 ): the hard disk of my computer where I recorded at the time it broke , and recently I found some tracks escaped to that mess, these will be included in the reissue. It will be in limited edition and hand-numbered . Then start summer tour , which will touch Sardinia, Italy and Germany...I hope I have answered all, if you have other questions just ask , thanks Rick !
RS:: Thanks for your time, Lore!