Tarantola’s goal is to spread a message of unity, hope and diversity, and to use music as an open invitation to all, to become members of a global community where all people of all colors, genders and backgrounds are honored as equals. “Tarantola” for themselves means Equality and Unity.
In the same way, their music is defined through the mix of many genres such as gypsy, rock, reggae, dub which they decorate with Mediterranean musical elements from southern Italy, Greece, Turkey, Spain, North Africa and sometimes from the Middle East. With their music they welcome people into their own world where there are no differences and everyone has equal rights to the party!
But who are Tarantola and what is their special relationship with Greece? How do they achieve and combine all of these elements into their music and what does their name mean to them? What is the story behind their latest single “Calypso in Love” and what are their future plans?
SounDarts.gr talked the band’s frontman, Mauro Lacandia, who introduced Tarantola through a full-length interview…., with plenty of positive energy!
Hello guys and welcome to SounDarts.gr! What have you been up to these days?
Been super busy, planning the release, working on new songs and getting ready for our spring and summer shows!
Who are the members of Tarantola? Could you please introduce each other to the public?
We are 6 members at the moment: Mauro Lacandia the singer and songwriter who comes from the heel of Italy ( Puglia), Paolo Tognoloni ( guitar) and Edoardo Mariotti ( Drums) who come from Perugia in Central Italy, Bruno Pinto ( Bass Guitar) , who comes from Brazil, First ( Saxophone) from Turkey and a new entry from France, but we keep her name secret for now
How was Tarantola formed in the first place and how would you describe best your sound?
Tarantola was born in one of the most important Music Colledge in Uk ( Institute of Contemporary Music Performance) where we met each other and formed the band!
Our sound is a blend of Mediterranean sounds of South Italy, Greece, Turkey, Spain, North Africa and sometimes middle east, mixed Rock, Dub and Reggae Music! We have been called Gypsy Dub Rock, or Dub Rock Gypsy! The sound of our music is a blend of our very mixed influences from all over the world!
Recently you released your single “Calypso in Love”. Is there a story behind it?
The song, called Calypso in Love focuses on the episode where Odysseus falls deeply in love with Calypso, the beautiful and enchanting nymph who traps him with her beauty and magic spells!
This song is infused with an eclectic blend of Pop and Reggae vibes and explores the irrational and explosive side of love at first sight.
Tarantola’s Odysseus is falling in love with the most enchanting, captivating but dangerous girl at the party! Only reggae gods can save him!
Is there any of your songs so far, that holds a special place in your hearts?
My favourite song is Sciamune! Sciamune is a song that defends the sea of Turkey Greece Albania and Puglia from this giant pipeline transporting gas from Iran to Italy and destroying thousand and thousand of miles of precious shores and cutting them thousands of olive trees ! People in Greece and people in Italy know the precious value of olive trees! It is part of our history, our culture, it connect us with our ancestors and it is the symbol of peace, the symbol of prosperity! What kind of human beings can destroy something so important?
What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard from a fan at a concert?
“Yo man, this is sick, your sound is a perfect blend of Bob Marley, Shakira, Queen and My Chemical Romance”! Well we didn’t know what to say after that! WE were laughing but we also understand why this person felt the influences of these bands!
Bob Marley for the reggae, Queen for the theatrical and vocal harmonization of the voices, Shakira for the grooves and rhythms and my chemical romance for the distorted guitar I guess!
You have a special connection with our country! Could you please explain to us what’s that bond?
Yes, Greece is like Mauro’s second home! He comes from Salento, a place in the Southeast part of Puglia, which has been influenced by Greeks populations since forever! They built our city, they brought the olive trees that represent us! A lot of the Greek mythology is based in this mysterious land, apparently Puglia and Sicily!
My hometown for example is called Erchie ( in the past HERACLE), some people say in this town there was the ancient temple of Heracle, who is also the symbol of my hometown!
There are many towns in Puglia, like Galatina and Calimera for example where people speak a very ancient form of dialect called Griko, a strange mix of Greek and dialect from South Italy
There is so much more about the legend, the history and the mythology that connects Puglia with Greece, but also I found the love in Greece, with a girl from Athens called Athena who was the inspiration for my last song Calypso in Love!
Also our manager Yannis Iliopoulous is our manager and he comes from Athens!
In the end I wanna conclude saying “Una Faccia, Una Razza” ! South Italian people are grateful to greeks for the huge and endless heritage they brought to our lands!
What do you know about Greece and about Greek music? Since you tend to mix different musical kinds from all over the world, would you ever consider using any Greek musical elements in your productions?
I play already Zourna, in many of our songs! You can hear it in the song called Bom Chica Bom ! We also play “Kalinihta”, a song from Griko tradition! I love Bouzouki and many other instruments from the Greek Tradition! Every year in the summer I travel to Athens and I take my chances to go and explore new traditional instruments, between Monastiraki and Placa!
What things in your life would you give up in an instant if it got you to an even better place than you are now?
We live in London now, a place full of chances to grow to become better musicians and explore more alternatives to our carreer, but London is a place in which there s no much space for feelings, everyone is self centred and concentrated on themselves! We love London and we are extremely grateful for the things we have achieved in Uk, but probably we would love to live in a warmer place! Who knows, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, it all depends on where our carrier and our listeners will lead us!
We would give up a secure job, a lot of friends, crucial contacts who bring us to play in important venues, but in every country there is some good and some bad, so it all depends! I would personally love to live in Athens, I feel at home there!
What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?
We rehearse regularly once or twice a week, we usually use one rehearsal to work hard and fix all the details of the show and the songs and other rehearsal more chill, creative and spontaneous! We usually meet on Mondays and Wednesday in our rehearsal studio in north London and sometimes we just meet in our houses to work on the acoustic version of the song! We believe that if the song works with an acoustic guitar or a piano it will definitely work with the full band in a show!
Is there any artist in the world that you would love to collaborate with in the future?
Yes, we would love to collaborate with Locomondo, Manu Chao, Dubioza Kolektiv, Dub Inc, Mellow Mood, Sud Sound System, Boomdabash and the big dream Damien Marley!
What are your next professional plans? Should we expect the release of a full album anytime soon and if yes what should we expect from it?
We are moving towards a more electronic sound influenced by those artists cited above and by Dub music in general! We are working on more than 10 songs altogether and we are working on a strategy to release them in the best possibile way! We can only say for now that these songs will be connected by one very important theme: kindness!
We will also tour in Uk in spring and summer, we are working on a Italian tour and then we dream of touring in Spain, Greece and Portugal for now!
If you were doing the questions in this interview what would you consider an interesting question?
The most important question to ask to a musician is what is your story! There are too many talented musicians and bands in the world but without identity people won’t connect with them for a long time!
Could you give us the answer to this question as well?
Tarantola seeks to recreate the legend of “Taranta”, (the traditional music from Salento) the spider that bites people and brings them in a state of trance which can only be cured with dance, music and love!
Our goal is connecting people of every race, background and culture and celebrate them as equal! The spider web is the connection between all these cultures!
What is your motto in life?
We are in that phase in which we see everything positive so we like to express ourselves with BOOMBA! We use boomba for celebrating, we use boomba for giving each other strength, we use boomba to attract people attention and bring them in a positive mood!
Interview: Thodoris Kolliopoulos