Myrddin got their name from the imaginary figure of the bard Myrddin (i.e.
Merlin, the mythical wizard of the legend of King Arthur). The Celtic
music group started its activity in 1995 in Savona (Italy), on the initiative
of the brothers Fabio and Luca Pesenti. The band is currently formed
by five musicians who share a common passion for Celtic music and tradition.
In 2000 Luca Pesenti came back from Ireland after a long musical experience
and from then on the band, after having undergone a few changes (the
current singer, Eliana Zunino, joined the band in the summer of 1998),
has started performing in a regular line up. In the same year Gian Marco
Pietrasanta joined the group bringing along new ideas and energies for
a renewed creativity. During the Fall 2001, the double-bass player Luciano
Puppo, coming from a jazz background, became a member of the band. He
contributed to push the research of the group further, towards new sounds
and arrangements which today characterize the band style.
The study of tradition, of execution practice and of ancient music of
the Celtic and European areas together with the use of acoustical instruments
and the taste for new and original arrangements have made of the Myrddin
one of the most successful bands of their kind in Italy.
Myrddin have participated in many festivals of traditional music
and to national and international music shows, such as: "Aspettando
il ritorno del Re" Rome - villa Celimontana 2004, "Excalibur"
Medieval Festival - Roma 2004-2005, "Keltic Connection" Torino
2004, "Musiche dal Mondo" Cornate d'Adda - Milano
2004, "Trigallia 2003" Argenta - FE, "Festival Celtico dell'Insubria
Lepontina" Malesco - Val Vigezzo 2003, "Hobbiton 2001,
2002, 2003" Gorizia / Codroipo (UD) / S. Daniele del Friuli
(UD), “Insieme in Liguria 2003 e 2005” Regione
Liguria, "Celtica 2001 e 2002" Val Veny (Courmayeur), "Fantāsia"
Verona 2002,"Busker Festival" Brescia 2002 ,"Approdi dal mondo"
Genova 2001, "Sulle tracce del Drago" L'Aquila 2001"Keltland"
Udine 2001"Il soffio del Drago" Padova 2001, "Etnia Immaginaria"
Spotorno (SV) 2001,"Irlanda in Festa" Florence 2000,"Casas
Regionales" di Logroņo (Spain 2000), "I° Festival Interceltico"
(Busto Arsizio - Milan 2000),"Venice Folk Festival" (1998), "Pistoia
Blues" 1998 (only one selected Ligurian group), "III° Festival
Interceltico" di Trezzo sull'Adda-Milan (1998),"Folkermesse"
(Alessandria 1997), "Festival Celtique" di Aosta (1997), "Folkfestival
Oltremare" (Genoa 1996 - 1997), "Note Celtiche" (Savona 1996),
"Festival Celtico" di Acquasanta (Genoa 1996), etc....
They have also toured Scotland twice, giving concerts in Glasgow, Edinburgh
and Aberdeen, and toured Spain once.
They have often performed in important theaters, such as: Teatro "G.
Chiabrera" , Savona ,"Teatro di Campopisano" and "Le Muse"
, Genoa, "La Casa di L. Ariosto" during the concert season "Estate
a Ferrara" (1997), "Teatro Tenda" , Florence (2000) and at the
"Balnain House", Inverness, Scotland (in 1996 and 1997).
In August 2000, after having won the "Folk Contest" "3° Festival
Interceltico" of Trezzo sull'Adda (Milan), the band won also the
national ethnic music competition "Votiamoli" , which was held
in the fortress "Priamar" in Savona.
Their repertory ranges from Celtic ballads to Irish and Scottish reels
and jigs, to original pieces composed by the band in the spirit of a
living tradition of music making.
For their lasts 2 albums, inspired to the works of J.R.R.
Tolkien, Myrddin have composed original pieces, resulting
from a relevant creative effort, which shows the artistic and professional
maturity the band has reach.
Their first album, "Myrddin Q at Duffy Pub", produced in the
Summer of 1997, comes as a result of their experiences gained in Scotland,
where the band was engaged between 1996 and 1997 in concerts in Edinburgh,
Aberdeen, Inverness and other important cities.
Their second album,"Ginevra" (ed. MusicAurea, July 2001) is the
natural continuation of the musical journey undertaken by the group,
and contains traditional titles together with original tracks.
Their third album, "Gli Anelli" ("The Rings") (ed. © MusicAurea
2003) has been produced under the auspices of and in collaboration with
the Italian Tolkien Society. It is a fascinating journey
into the atmosphere of Tolkien's "Middle Earth", with original music
by Myrddin, and lyrics inspired by the novel. This work represents the
evolution of the band towards a personal style which remains at the
same time firmly grounded in the framework of Celtic roots that characterize
At July 2005 as been released their
new cd titled "Il Drago" (The Dragon) (ed.
© Maccaja 2005). Like the previous one, it's inspired by the
works of J.R.R. Tolkien, with original music by
The study, the execution, and the revaluation of the wide repertory of
Celtic music - in all its branches, both in Europe and overseas - together
with the possible suggestions and contaminations from 'Latin' tradition
and sensitiveness are the basic aspects which contributed to the constitution
of the Myrddin. Besides philological accuracy and attention, Myrrdin
prefer to research into and propose that part of folk tradition, containing
a convivial and passionate dimension, which makes Celtic and Italian sensitiveness
so close to each other. Thanks to the different musical background of
its members - all professionals - the band is able to merge the immediacy
of traditional music with the accuracy for sonority and arrangements.
For this reason Myrddin can also reach a wide audience even of very different
type: from folk-club-goers to concert-hall-goers.
With "Gli Anelli" and "Il Drago"
they proposes new songs from and new tracks inspired by Tolkien's
works, together with original music by Myrddin, dragging the audience
with the magic musical atmosphere of the "Middle Earth". Their concert
presents tracks taken from the two records dedicated to the great Tolkien's
fresco, and it is the result of a collaboration with the "Italian Tolkien
Society", which edited the Italian version of the film trilogy.
THE BAND LINE-UP:
Myrddin perform either as group (quartet) or as instrumental trio.
Luca Pesenti - fiddle
Fabio Pesenti - guitar
Eliana Zunino - vocals, bodhran
Gian Marco Pietrasanta - concert flute, border pipes & sax
Luca Pesenti - fiddle
Fabio Pesenti - guitar
Gian Marco Pietrasanta - concert flute, border pipes & sax
SOME REVIEWS OF THE ALBUMS "GLI ANELLI" [THE
RINGS] and "IL DRAGO"
Web portal "Celtic World"
"Gli Anelli" is a concept album based on lyrics and atmospheres
of The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. The record was made under the auspices
of the Italian Tolkien Society, and this should be sufficient to grant
the quality of this work.
But "Gli Anelli" is actually much more than just setting Tolkien's work
to music. It is a journey to the roots of music itself, a mosaic of
sonorous sensations that ranges over the meanders and folds of European
popular music, without losing its coherence.
The alchemy, which makes this project truly special, is a balanced mix
of ancient sonority together with arrangements which take from both
jazz and master's folk (double-bass and sax make a perfect choice for
this). All this is made while maintaining a steady link to the "Celtic"
style that distinguished the band so far. The Myrddin confirm
to possess and enviable body, which knows how to exploit the ability
of each component at its best: the ensemble of winds, guitars, violin
and double-bass is impeccable and very original; the incredible voice
of Eliana Zunino is an instrument among instruments. "Gli Anelli" is
a record that, independently from Tolkien theme, has an uncommon and
magnetic glamour, and an intrinsic musical value.
A journey then, through a Middle Earth made of Irish and British medieval
musical landscapes, melting ballades and unrestrained dances, which
are always rendered in the framework of a contemporary and original
interpretation of folk music. A record that deserves great attention
and, with no doubt, one of the best produced in 2003.
Web portal "Corriere della Sera"
The music of the Myrddin, singers of Tolkien
An Italian band which lives on Celtic music. Involving Irish melodies
and ballades, lyrics and words to tell the ancient deeds, the Myrddin
consacrated their third album to the Middle Earth saga. Gli Anelli,
released after one and a half year of hard work, in collaboration with
the Italian Tolkien Society, collects one song from the Celtic tradition
and thirteen original pieces, with music by the band, and lyrics adapted
from Tolkien's texts. The name of the album comes from the first track,
a musical version of the famous prologue of the novel by the Oxford
Professor and of the film trilogy by Peter Jackson: One Ring to
rule them all, One Ring to find them/One Ring to bring them all and
in the darkness bind them. Hobbits and Men, Elves and Dwarfs are the
characters of this musical homage paid to the world created by Tolkien,
source of inspiration for a special and evocative record, a sonorous
journey from The Shire to Mount Doom.
When and why did you meet the author of The Lord of the Rings?
Each of us (Fabio, Luca, Marco, Eliana and Luciano) met Tolkien's world
in different ways (I knew it by reading "The Hobbit", Marco with "The
Silmarillion"). The project about making a record inspired to the great
English writer took shape slowly. In 2001 (before the film "The Lord
of the Rings" was released) the Italian Tolkien Society invited us to
play during a Celtic festival, in Udine. From then on, we started a
musical and artistic collaboration, as well as a friendship, with Paolo
Paron (President of the Italian Tolkien Society). Once we joined this
world, we started writing the first songs, which were received with
enthusiasm both from the public and from the critics?.
Do song come from the book, or from the film?
We all have seen the film, but songs come primarily from the pieces
of poetry and the songs written by Tolkien (many of which don't appear
in the film). For instance, the song A Elbereth is written in Elvish
language and we had the honour to learn these lines directly from Tolkien's
voice, thanks to a record provided by Paolo Paron.
The most charming character of The Lord of the Rings?
In my opinion, it is Gollum. Terra Dura [Hard Ground], which is his
song in the album, is introduced by the magic voice of Francesco Vairano
(voice of Gollum in the Italian version of the film).
Previously, you worked on the tradition about King Arthur and Merlin:
will you go back to Camelot, or will you stay in the Middle Earth?
It's hard to say, they're both charming worlds, and they're strictly
related to each other. The next story we will tell, it will certainly
come from previous experience, even though it won't be the continuation
(such as Gli Anelli 2).
Do you believe that the saga of The Lord of The Rings will survive
through time, together with the stories from Celtic tradition?
Yes, because it's literature. They are parallel worlds and, in this
sense, it is the oral tradition of the ancient times that took most
How did you get to this kind of music?
It's a juvenile love, which involves not just hearing, but the whole
body. It is a wish for journeys, for far and verdant lands, castles,
sagas and tales and, above all, it's the dimension of live music, of
a lasting oral tradition . Even nowadays, in the pubs, in the festivals,
we can hear the Fiddle, the Pipes that wind their melodies off. Melodies
that are impossible to write, but as a rough outline. One can love and
play Celtic music only after absorbing it.
Which link between music and literature, singing and oral narration?
An everlasting link, which comes from passion for what we narrate and
Web portal "The Tolkien Music List"
NEW TOLKIEN MUSIC FROM ITALY
(Beyond Bree, September, 2005)
True to their word, Italian Celtic ensemble,
Myrddin, have released their second Tolkien-themed album, "Il Drago",
as follow-up to their 2003 "Gli Anelli" CD [Beyond Bree July
2005, p. 4]. Unlike its predecessor, "Il Drago" is not exclusively
Tolkien-related (a little less than half of the album’s 19 tracks
being directly traceable to Middle-earth). The remainder are traditional
and original folk compositions from a variety of traditions.
The album’s title suggests a retelling
of "The Hobbit", and it does indeed contain a few songs inspired
by that tale (“Il Drago / Danza del Drago,” “Lo Sgambetto
(Danza del Nani),” and “Thirteen Dwarfs / Scheggia le Coppe”).
The majority of Tolkienian tunes are actually derived from LotR.
Some of these are straightforward arrangements
of Tolkien’s lyrics (the tale of Tinúviel, Namárië),
which maintain the high musical standards set by the group’s work
in "Gli Anelli". Of greater interest to me were the original
lyrical pieces, such as Fabio Pesenti’s “Nimrodel,”
which depicts Tolkien’s character (and river) in a way that is
faithful to the author, while at the same time individualizing and deepening
the listener’s imagination of it. This is sub-creation at its