With the arrival of summer, one finds himself more serene and peaceful just as the music of the Italian pianist Bruno Bavota. He was born in Naples, which is one of my favourite places on the Italian coast. He started actually playing music in his twenties, first with a guitar and later the piano followed. In addition to his solo work, he is also the pianist of the band Adailysong. He has many accomplishments from winning with Adailysong the award “Eccellenza Napoletana”, given at PAN-Palazzo delle Arti di Napoli in September 2010 to being among thousands of artists to play at the Royal Albert Hall at the Accidental Festival opening gala On April 2nd 2013. He released his debut album “Il Pozzo d’Amor” featuring Fabrizia Nicolosi on cello in December, 2010. His next album “La casa sulla luna” (The House on the Moon) was released from Lizard Records in March, 2013. And his third album “The Secret of The Sea” was released on 24th April this year. I have been listening to this album for more than a month (actually I was planning to write it before, but due to some problems with my blog, this article had to wait for a long time) and I think I am ready to reveal the secret of Bavota.
With its sonorous and arpeggiated guitar riffs and the accompanying elevated piano keys, the opener ‘Me And You’ is almost the musical reflection of the album cover, having a cinematic atmosphere throughout as if we were watching the end of a film and didn’t want to leave our emotions behind. The reverb-effected electric guitar shows that Bavota wants to accomplish something different than his previous albums and widen his sound. The expansive ‘Les Nuits Blanches’ has some ups and downs throughout and has a nocturnal feeling as I think the song refers to Dostoyevski’s same-titled story in which a lonely man’s love for a woman remains unrequited. While the melancholy is there all over, the accelerating rhythms and airy chords leaves an open door for some happy moments as well. Meanwhile, ‘The Man Who Chased The Sea’ opens with gently ringing finger-picked guitar licks as if it were a modern folk ballad. Then the piano enters with its pulsating bass keys first and then the motif takes over the song while fading away through the end. ‘Hidden Lights Through Smoky Clouds’ captivates the listener with its striking electro-acoustic style and resemblance to the modern New Age sound. The pacing airy piano is lively while one can hear the icy effect in the background. This song makes the listener cascade into a meditative state which usually happens while I gaze into the blueness of the sea. ‘If Only My Heart Were Wide Like The Sea’ follows the trails of the previous song, still hanging around the sea with its strong Mediterranean flavour. The acoustic guitar strums in a relaxed mood, reminding us of a calm and distant beach under the shining sun. The accompanying piano is like a friend that you walk on the beach together. ‘Constellations’ strengthens the feeling of Campania region with its steep roads looking over the sea among the greens. The song follows the climb with its enlivening chords and sparkling guitar riffs while the view from the top makes you feel a great relief. The melancholic solo piano piece ‘Plasson’ is a character in Alessandro Baricco’s novel “Ocean Sea” in which a man who paints the sea on canvas by using sea water, creating invisible pictures. Bavota expressed the sadness with his airy chords and evaporating tune and leaves you with a taste of salt in your mouth. ‘Northern Lights’ is a night song in which the guitar sparkles like the stars and the piano forms the northern lights with its repeating tune. ‘The Boy And The Whale’ opens with sea waves that remain there throughout the song. The piano sounds like the white bubbles appearing on those gentle waves and the melody is charming and gentle. ‘The Secret Of The Sea’ opens with dark chords creating a sensational cinematic atmosphere. The song is divided in two worlds, thunderous and calm, while keeping its grave and sorrow. The waves get bigger as the piano splashes bursts of hammering dark chords, but the listener sometimes rests in the arms of the calm sea. The final song ‘Chasing Stars’ is a fine example of contemporary or neo-classical music with its dazzling chords. Despite its dark start, Bavota never gives up chasing a light of hope.
Bruno Bavota is a talented pianist and composer who is continuously in search of finding his own unique sound and he is very close to that point, in my opinion. Inspired by his hometown Naples and its ocean, Bruno Bavota delivers an almost poetic or story-like album as he likes expressing himself through his sea-like notes. His songs are emotional, but not cheesy and the mostly overall calmness does not put you into sleep, but rather into deep thoughts. The addition of acoustic and electric guitar, all played by himself, intensifies the ambience of the songs, making them richer in terms of sound. As it has been my after-work music and my morning music for quite a long time, I think ‘The Secret of the Sea’ feels enjoyable, relaxing and expansive so you can surely have a listen. You will not be able to leave it. Well done, Bruno Bavota! :)