Banda Bassotti biography
Banda Bassotti is a ska-punk band from Italy. Their songs are generally political in nature, focusing on Communist and anti-Fascist issues. Their name derives from the Italian version of the Disney characters The Beagle Boys and its music can to remind The Clash, Strawman, Red London or Specials.
Banda Bassotti was formed in 1981, by a group of politically active musicians who began to sympathize with the Nicaraguan, Salvadorean, Palestinian, and Basque people fights. This group of friends supports the Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional with solidarity initiatives by creating some work brigades. From 1984 to 1987 they took part to a three months brigade with the building cooperative XXV Aprile, to build some students houses and a school. From 1987 to 1989 the group creates a rock-band which begins to stir in the squats and in the demonstrations. The Banda Bassotti together with other comrades establishes the project Gridalo Forte No fascism! No racism! A documentation centre against fascism and racial prejudice.
From 1990 to 1991 they organize an antiracist festival with the same title who took place in Rome on 1991 May 3rd and 4th. European antiracist bands took part into such festival with concerts, videos and meetings. From this documentation centre, after two years the label Gridalo Forte Records is created. From this documentation centre the project Balla e Difendi arises, always in 1991, where the Banda Bassotti, took part to, together with other roman bands, such as: Red House, Filo da Torcere, AK 47. In this record, produced by the Gridalo Forte Records independent label, took part the most active bands of the left roman antagonist scene. "Figli della stessa rabbia" the first Banda Bassotti cd follows the success of such initiative and it is produced by the same label. This cd obtained a great success of both audience and critics and acted as an ingagements band multiplier: from a roman dimension to a national, and then an international one.
Without abandoning their roots, the BB obtained appreciation in Spain and especially in the Basque Country, where they performed in several concerts together with some independist left bands. During the recording of "Bella Ciao" together with the GANG, it raised the idea to play in Salvador for the FMNL. The occasion to realize such idea comes out few months later in march 1994, for the first political elections after 11 years of civil war in Salvador. The Banda Bassotti played with the Negu Gorriak in San Salvador central square at the end of the campaign with an audience of 50.000 people. They performed in 4 concerts in less than a week.
In June 1995 the band moved to Euskadi for 15 days in the IZ studio, on the mountains and with Kaki Arkarazo –sound technician and Negu Gorriak guitarist- they recorded "Avanzo di Cantiere" produced by Gridalo Forte Records label. Fermin Muguruza took part to the traditional song "Carabina 30-30" This cd is sold also in Euskadi and Spain, published by Gora Herriak Records a branch of the International Basque label Esan Ozenki. The record has been presented in several concerts in Italy and all over Spain: Bilbao, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Santiago De Compostela, Saragoza, Gasteiz, Oiartzun. The Banda Bassotti played with the Negu Gorriak in summer 1995 in Bilbao Gaz Square at the town party with an audience of 10.000 people. After a while the Banda Bassotti took part to a Hitz Egin demonstration for the freedom of expression, a big concert to raising funds for the Negu Gorriak trial against the civil guard General Galindo. The song reported is Ustalkerria. They raised 200.000.000 liras for the defence, about 12.000 people took part to it and 15 bands played, there were all Basque bands and the Banda Bassotti represented the international sympathy.
In the mid 1996 the band decided to stop because of great energies spent and the obvious difficulties to go on both with the band and to work in the yard.
In February 2001 Negu Gorriak -who broke in the same time of of the Banda Bassotti- decided to keep the promise to get back together to play in a concert to celebrate the end of the legal prosecution of Colonel Galindo against their song Ustalkerria when the Negu Gorriak won the trial. The agreement stated that also the Banda Bassotti should have to rejoin nad play with the Basque band. The Banda Bassotti decided to increase the instruments of the band with the brass section: Sandokan to the tombone -singer of the Ramiccia and trombone of the International Fermin Muguruza Dub Manifest and of the Radici nel Cemento- and Stefano Cecchi to the trumpet -trumpet of the bands International Fermin Muguruza Dub Manifest and Radici nel Cemento-. They rearranged their songs and left for Bilbao.
Concerts in February should have been two but they were three, due to the great demand of tickets (30.000). Seizing this opportunity the Banda Bassotti organized two concerts in Rome on 15th and 17th March 2001. The first concert is in support of the people reported for the demonstration against the nazi Haider arrival in Rome, while the second took place in the Social Centre "Villaggio Globale" with an audience of 9.000 people. The great success of these occasional concerts was the input to find new energies and the Banda Bassotti started to reorganize its future as a band. They started again to play and they received great demands from Italy and Spain.
In May 2001 a double live cd has been published by the label Gridalo Forte Records with the title "Un altro giorno d’amore" recorded at the Villaggio Globale and mixed in the Euskadi Garate Studio by Kaki Arkarazo. The video is the live concert of May 17th as well. Fermin Muguruza took part to roman concerts singing "La Linea del Frente" and "Zu Trapartu Arte" the two most famous songs by Fermin Muguruza’s first band: the Kortatu. After a while they shoot the video of "Carabina 30-30" and Maurizio Gregori -Ramiccia’s saxophonist- joined the band.
In summer 2001 the Banda bassotti is on tour again in Italy, Spain and the Basque Country until September when they played at the Independent Day Festival with Manu Chao, Africa Unite, and so on. Without forgetting their attitude, the Banda Bassotti and their label organized a concert in Rome to support the partisan Walter Dall’Olmo and his family. After that they performed in Italy and Spain and in November 2001, during their first seven concerts tour, they had a total audience of about 30.000 people.
In their second tour in December, with four concerts their audience was of around 7.000 people. During this month they released a compilation with the title "Poetry and reality" for the Japanese label Two Children Records.