Mi Loco Tango
Il Cinema: Il Paradiso!
ZAMA 004 (EAN 881390245420)

Big movies evoke big emotions. There are the pictures, which are remembered for their action, every movement on the screen leaves a lasting impression. The soundtrack also evokes strong emotions but often stands back in favor of performers and stage direction. However the music often created for big orchestras remains in the memory of the viewer, it leaves its mark, even when the movie has long finished.

Do you remember? - A railway station in the American "Wild West". Charles Bronson plays a mournful harmonica but with the addition of the orchestra the scene becomes dramatic - everyone has the tune from "Once upon a Time in the West" in their head. Ennio Morricone, the great Italian composer of soundtracks, composed it.

Italian producers, such as, Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti and Sergio Leone played an important part in forming the cinema of the 20th century. Also Italy's composers like Ennio Morricone, Nino Rota, Mario Nascimbene and Nicola Piovani were important reformers in Hollywood and their relevance for the whole of the movie industry should not be underestimated.

Excellence in reduction. But what is left if one tries to dissect a complex piece of music into its components and starts to take every individual part seriously?

The ensemble Mi Loco Tango dared to do so. The four musicians, fascinated by the "secret" power of the Italian soundtracks, experimented with their own instruments. Is it possible to play with four instruments and create a sound experience equal to the quality of the big orchestras, and even more, to add to it? The answer is "yes", because the various possibilities of playing the instruments within the quartet, consisting out of an accordion, a violin, a piano and a double bass, are taken to the limit. The soundtracks of the great Italian composers are taken further by this reduction.

Special Guest Franco de Gemini (harmonica) did for the harmonica what Anton Karas did for the zither with the theme from "The third man". Nearly 40 years ago Franco De Gemini played "The man with the harmonica" for Sergio Leone's classic western movie "Once upon a Time in the West" probably the most famous harmonica tune of the movie history. This well in demand studio musician and composer of the virtuoso harmonica played a part in more than 800 soundtracks. A lot of these soundtracks have been published through Beat Records, an Italian cult label founded by him. Even now with more then eighty years, he is not tired, going on tour as the "Man with the harmonica" on stages all over the world.

The arrangements of the pieces played by Mi Loco Tango where created with the help of Alberto Mompellio. Italian born Mompellio is one of the most in demand studio musicians in his country. Among others he worked with Fabrizio De Andre and Milva. His commissions for compositions and orchestral arrangements of soundtracks lead him to Hollywood (eg. "Igby goes down", "All the queens Men"). He is a well sought after orchestral arranger in Germany, (e.g. Nena's album "Jubiläum" together with the "Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg" and "3 Soprano Project" with the "Prager Sinfoniker"). Mompellio also published several books: ("Die Musik des amerikanischen Films: musikalische Stereotypen in amerikansichen Filmen" and "Die Geschichte der italienischen Popmusik von den 1950ern bis heute").

Mi Loco Tango - about the tracks:


Armarcord is one of the first movies chosen for this program. Armarcord is the epitome of Italy, because the memories of the director Federico Fellini on his hometown Rimini are reflected beautifully in the music of Nino Rota. The arrangement consists of several themes from the movie and is played as a suite. The good, The Bad And The Ugly- Once Upon A time In the West Originally two different movies from Sergio Leone, but our arranger Alberto, on search for an introduction to "Once upon a Time in the West", searched through composers Ennio Morricone's "Spaghetti-Western music box" until the music of the two movies melted together. Our personal highlight is of course our guest star Franco De Gemini, listening you can imaging Charles Bronson in person with his harmonica and the four unforgettable notes of the harmonica.

The Mass is over

The least known movie on our album. We were looking forward to incorporating a Tango in this program and heard composer Nicola Piovani and his orchestra play this at a concert. It is a Tango albeit a very Italian one! 8 ½ Ask an Italian to name a popular Italian soundtrack and in general he will answer "8 ½" first. The birds sing tunes from it from the roofs in Italy. Although the rehearsals for this piece were long and hard, as the music is technical very complex, we had fun as it felt like circus music.

Rocco And His Brothers

Nino Rota proves with this work that he can be a very different composer when working away from Federico Fellini. His music on this occasion is more dramatic and symphonic and no wonder considering the theme of Luchino Visconti's movie: Two brothers from the poorer south of Italy trying desperately to find a place in society in a big town, but because they love the same woman they become enemies and nearly kill each other.

Investigation Of A Citizen Above Suspicion

This play is a nice contrast for everyone who knows Ennio Morricone only as a composer for wild west movies. Actually it was always his standard to be recognized as a "serious" musician. This modern classical theme sparkles in this movie, full of suspense. Will the police manage to catch the detective who committed murder at the beginning of the movie only to find out if he will be caught?...

Life is Beautiful

It was a very special moment in movie history in 1999 when Roberto Benigni received an Oscar for the best movie in the category foreign language movie as well as an Oscar for best actor. This did not happen in Italy for a long time. The story, told in the typically manner of Benigni, about an Italian family trying to survive a concentration camp, is unique. Benigni and his equally great partner Nicola Piovani are also on their way to take the place of Fellini and Rota (Fellini and Rota worked together for nearly 30 years), ever since they work side by side on Benigni's film projects. For "Life is Beautiful" we even tried singing ourselves.

Cinema Paradiso

A quartet with our instrumentation is literally drooling for a piece of music like this. It has so many facets and colors in the elaboration from Alberto Mompellio, one is honored to be allowed to play it. It carries the nostalgia behind the movie. It is a look into the past of a man who travels back to his hometown and looks back at his youth. Especially the old cinema where he once worked as a movie projectionist. This place connects him with many stories.

The Vikings

Mario Nascimbene is not so well known over here, even so, he composed soundtracks to famous classics. "The Vikings" are amongst them. Our fifth member, the keyboard with its millions of different sounds, makes its debut as a soloist in this musical piece. We usually use it sparingly on our recordings but here it gets a leading support role. At the end of the movie a ship sails out to sea to join Walhalla with a dead Viking on board, burning arrows are shot towards him and a mandatory choir of Vikings begins singing.

A Fistful Of Dynamite

Alberto Mompellio loves this movie and its music and that is the reason he introduced us to it. How lucky! Through this we detected a real "whistler" among us, our violinist Irina.

The Godfather

Italy without the mafia is hardly imaginable; therefore no Italian film music CD can be without the godfather. Interestingly enough, when ever we play this piece live there is always a collective humming of the melody of the godfather in the audience.

Two Women

The comparison of dramatic and Italian folk music in this soundtrack is magnificent. The movie for which Sophia Loren won an Oscar in 1961 is very complex and the music reflects this with great delicacy. Behind it is another interesting composer: Armando Trovajoli.

The Orchestra Rehearsal

Many rehearsals went into this program and it was a big surprise when we received our sheets of music and saw the different ways our arranger thought of to replace the sounds originally produced by an orchestra. Sweatshirts were allowed and the four instrumentalists had to give it all!


01. Amarcord (Composer: Nino Rota)
02. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - Once Upon A Time In The West (C: Ennio Morricone)
03. The Mass Is Over (C: Nicola Piovani)
04. 8 ½ (C: N. Rota)
05. Rocco and His Brothers (C: N. Rota)
06. Investigation O A Citizen Above Suspicion (C: E. Morricone)
07. Life Is Beautiful (C: N. Piovani)
08. Cinema Paradiso (C: E. Morricone)
09. The Vikings (C: Mario Nascimbene)
10. A Fistful Of Dynamite (C: E. Morricone)
11. The Godfather (C: N. Rota)
12. Two Women (C: Armando Trovajoli)
13. The Orchestra Rehearsal (C: N. Rota)


MI LOCO TANGO Winners of these awards creole 2007 (German World Music Award) 32. Festival Internationale Fisharmonica (Cinematic Music Award, Castelfidardo, Italy) 2. Astor Piazzolla Festival Libertango (Tango Award, Lanciano, Italy The international quartet Mi Loco Tango, consisting of a bayan player (chromatic button accordion) from Russia, a violinist and a pianist from Germany and a German-French double-bass player, formed in 2002 and dedicated to the work of the Argentine composer and musician Astor Piazzolla. The original objective was to newly define his music while embracing the individual experiences of each musician - to play this music differently. Since then a widely diversified repertoire has developed including the most important works from Piazzolla's legacy, classic works like "Libertango" and "Oblivion", however it also includes a few rarities like "Tanti Anni Prima" and currently both musical cycles "Del Diablo" and "Del Angel". Piazzolla, who put his compositional skill towards theater, music and dance, was the catalyst for the quartet to take the next step, film music, using exactly the typical tango instrumentation as displayed by Mi Loco Tango. The four musicians from Frankfurt were especially taken with the Italian maestros Nino Rota and Ennio Morricone and their famous peers. Since its formation the work of the ensemble has been recognized and awarded at different occasions. From the world music prize "creole 2007" to the 1. Prize of the film music category at the "32. Festival Internationale Fisharmonica" (Castelfidardo, Italy) also in 2007 and finally last years tango prize "Libertango" at the 2. Astor Piazzolla Festival (Lanciano, Italy) - a highlight in the group's carrier so far. Laura Escalada-Piazzolla, the widow of Astor Piazzolla was head of the jury. Vassily Dück comes from Blagoweschenka, Siberia. He completed his studies in music at the public academy of music, Conservatoire Novosibirsk, obtaining a diploma as music teacher and soloist of the Bayan. Engaged as soloist and concertmaster at the philharmonic Altai as well as public orchestra "Siberia", his repertoire ranges from classic to folklore. CD productions: Solo CD "Bajan", "Der rote Schal" and "Toujours la Piaf" linked with the stage production of the same title at the theatre in Bielefeld. His diverse musical engagements include the theaters in Detmold and Mannheim as well as the "Theater Willy Praml" in Frankfurt. Irina Brunn comes from Frankfurt am Main where she studied the violin at the "Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Künste". Since completion of her studies she has played in several different musical groups with styles ranging from baroque to modern music. Irina also works as a teacher and lecturer. She is co-founder and first violinist of the "Cambio Quartet" and chamber orchestra "Die Lunas". Judith Herrmann comes from Frankfurt am Main. She studied at the Music College in Cologne and Frankfurt, under, amongst others, B. Kontarsky. She composed for the "Klappmaul Theater" in Frankfurt, the theatre "Illuminativ" in Bad Camberg and the musical theatre "Fettige Gesänge" with C. Niemann and A. Roelofs. She conducted the Laterna-Magica-Shows "Die Nibelungen" and "Zwischen Wunder und Wissenschaft". Her repertoire also includes the chansons as in the show "Beziehungsweisen" with J. Zollmann. Gregor Praml comes from Frankfurt am Main. He graduated from the "Hochschule für music Franz Liszt" (College of Music) in Weimar and studied double bass in New York, USA with Santi De Briano. Gregor plays double bass and electric-bass in various musical groups and theater projects. He is composer, arranger and musical director for, amongst others, "Maria Stuart" (2003), "Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre" (2004), "Medea" (2005),"Im Dickicht der Städte" (2006), "36,9 GRAD Brecht . Houellebecq" (2006/07), Jesus d'amour: geb. 0/ gestorben - auferstanden (2006-2008), "Ariadnes Faden, Arthurs Schwester Marie & der "ächte" Naxosschmirgel (2007), "Marquise von O" (2007) and "Don Carlos. Infant" (2008). He is a lecturer for music at the Fachhochschule Frankfurt am Main and a music producer, amongst others, "Del Diablo y Del Angel" (Mi Loco Tango) and different compilations of songs for children, amongst others, "Zuckerschnecksche, Prinzje & Co" and "Lille Peter, Akiko & Co". Gregor is a freelance editor and producer at the official radio station from the state of Hessen (Hessischer Rundfunk). Alberto Mompellio - Arranger and composer, born in Vigevano (Pavia) Italy. Since the mid seventies Alberto is one of the most sought after studio musicians in Italy, his principals are artists like Patty Pravo, Fabrizio De Andre, Mina and Gina Paoli. Until 2004 he worked together with the singer Milva, being her keyboard player on several world tours. Mompellio came to Frankfurt in the mid eighties and remained there. However his work on compositions and orchestral arrangements for film productions such as "Igby goes down" (2001 with Geff Goldblum and Susan Sarandon) and "All the Queen's Men" (Matt LeBlanc) often takes him to Hollywood. In Germany he is highly respected as the orchestra arranger for, amongst others, Nena's album "Jubiläum" (Filmorchestra of Babelsberg), the production of the audio book "Olaf, der Elch" (Filmorchestra of Babelsberg) and the "3 Soprano Project" (Symphonic orchestra of Prag). Mompellio has also penned various publications such as "Die Musik des amerikanischen Films: musikalische Stereotypen in amerikanischen Filmen" and "Die Geschichte der italienischen Popmusik von den 1950ern bis heute" (published in Italy). Mi Loco Tango - Press quotes "Mi Loco Tango, that means elegance, verve and reduction" (Frankfurter Rundschau) "Terrific Tango à la Frankfurt. They have the Tango in their blood" (Frankfurter Rundschau) "The two women provide a solid base for the quartet. Clear, of fascinating forcefulness the violin from Irina Bunn. Judith Herrmann on the piano: powerful, competent and rhythmic. Gregor Praml, easy and springy on the double bass gives the tango melody a reliable hold and the powerful accordion from Vassily Dück introduces unusual sound. [….] The representation of the "wild" tango: precise and played to perfection." (Frankfurter Rundschau) "The skill of this ensemble reveals itself in the quality of the arrangement and in the subtleness of listening and reacting towards each other" (Main Post) "The performance from this ensemble in Frankfurt puts Piazzolla as a composer in the same rank of Schubert and Debussy. [….] The different provenance of the musicians suits Piazzollas music." (Frankfurter Rundschau) "Last but not least it remains to say that the reflected arrangements of Mompellios have superb partners in Mi Loco Tango who through their joy of music, virtuosity and sensuality put the "rough diamond" of sheet music into a fitting golden casket of taste and sophisticated musical culture seldom to be bettered." (Intermusik Zeitung) "Orchestral music with classical tango instrumentation - it sounds like a true challenge and a project which could also cause a sensation outside Germany." (Journal Frankfurt)



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