Zibba & Almalibre

Zibba & Almalibre Zibba & Almalibre

Whoever coined the phrase "Variety is the Spice of Life" may not have had the eclectic Italian rock group Zibba & Almalibre in mind, but the Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms might very well choose to display the band's publicity photograph to accompany that definition. Sergio Vallarino, better known as "Zibba," was born sometime in 1978 in the comune of Varazze, which is located in the northern province of Savona in the gulf-side region of Liguria.

The reclusive artist, with his booming baritone vocals, guitar wizardry and gifted songwriting skills, discloses very little information of his early years, preferring instead to focus himself on the here and now. It was in the spring of 1998 that Zibba encountered another young and aspiring artist, drummer Andrea Balestieri, better known as "Bale." The musical and intellectual kinship they shared was immediate, intense and enduring. They enlisted the talents of guitarist Federico Manno and bassist Massimiliano Rolff on their musical journey, and began the arduous task of regularly performing in numerous venues throughout the areas of Genoa, La Spezia and Savona.

Their determination would pay off as four years later the group had accumulated enough original material to release their debut album, "L'ultimo giorno" (2002), on the independent Divinazione music label. The recording was produced by Alessandro Mazzitelli at his Mazzi music studios in the nearby town of Loano. The title track received considerable airtime and earned the group an invitation to the prestigious 2003 Concerto del Primo Maggio, held annually in Rome and which has featured many notable Italian and international musical acts over the years.

To support their initial release, their touring schedule was now laden with appearances throughout the Italian peninsula and garnered the band a growing legion of new fans. To increase their exposure, they also made several television appearances with their straight-forward pop-rock style, catching the attention of major record labels. In 2006, the group recruited violinist, poly-instrumentalist and vocalist Fabio Biale, seeking to better express their creative abilities and remove the stigma of being "just another rock band." The new dynamic created by this formation would invariably broaden the band's repertoire. Their second album "Senza smettere di far rumore" (2006) was a radical departure from their previous recording and featured the guest talents of noted musicians, Dado Moroni, Pippo Matino and Enzo Zirilli. Their compositions were refreshingly more complex, acoustical and experimental in nature. The hit single "Margherita" was also released in video format.

The group again set off on a tour that now included stops throughout Europe; however this hectic travel schedule would take its toll as founding members Manno and Rolff chose to leave the band citing fatigue and creative differences. New musicians Daniele Franchi (guitarist) and Lucas Bellotti (bassist) were selected to take their place, and this revised lineup invigorated the group with an infusion of new ideas and energy. The new Zibba and Almalibre signed a recording contract with the progressive Cramps music label, distributed by Universal Music Italia. Emboldened, they returned to the studio to record and release their third album "Una cura per il freddo" (2010). This recording contained fifteen tracks and featured the guest collaborations of over a dozen guest musicians. The hit single "Una parola, illumina" was also released successfully in video format. The group's distinctive style was acknowledged with an invitation to the popular Premio Tenco music exhibition and they were bestowed with two awards from the Premio Inedito Competizione, courtesy of the Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino organization. Again the frantic pace of developments would cost the band dearly as newcomers Franchi and Bellotti would depart after only a brief stint with the group. Zibba and Bale elected to institute an accelerated recording schedule and pursue a new musical direction with the addition of Stefano Riggi (saxophonist) and Stefano Ronchi (guitarist). Their fourth release "Come il suono dei passi sulla neve" (2012) was another milestone recording as it included five tracks of oral recitations of poetry and literary prose in addition to the eleven songs contained therein. The album featured musical contributions from accomplished artists such as Eugenio Finardi, Roy Paci and Vittorio De Scalzi.

They reached the finals of the 2012 Targa Tenco music competition and captured first place earning the title of Album dell'anno (Album of the year). Fate struck again as violinist Fabio Biale amicably left the group in February of 2013 after an enjoyable and productive seven year association. The group's fifth release "E sottolineo se" (2013) was unusual in that it was a tribute album to legendary Italian lyricist and fellow Ligurian, Giorgio Calabrese. The album contained ten of his most memorable compositions which were reinterpreted by the band in a classical style.

Shortly after the album's release, one of the guest musicians, Italian-based, Cuban percussionist Juan Carlos "Caldero," was invited to join the band. Later that year, in November, Zibba published his first non-fiction literary work, "Me l'ha detto Frank Zappa" (Frank Zappa Told Me) which contained a collection of personal and surreal introspective dialogue.

The group finally received its first invitation to the 2014 Sanremo Music Festival and presented the song "Senza di te." They competed in the Categoria Nuove Proposte (Newcomer's Category) and finished in third place, but more importantly, captured both the prestigious Premio della Critica Mia Martini - Per Nuove Proposte (Critic's Choice Mia Martini Award - For Newcomers) and Premio Sala Stampa - Lucio Dalla (Press Society - Lucio Dalla Award). The group's first greatest hits compilation was released shortly thereafter and was entitled "Senza pensare all'estate." The album features three new songs including their Sanremo hit and is their best-selling recording to date, becoming the first to land on the charts.

The group returned to the road and is currently entertaining thoughts of travelling to venues throughout the western hemisphere. For more information you can visit their website at www.zibba.it.

Photograph courtesy of www.zibba.it

More in this category: « Giusy Ferreri Pacifico »