. with the Musicians from Italian Progressive Rock Band LATTE E MIELE
.                                       by Carlos Vaz - Progressive Rock BR, Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

Carlos Vaz - Progressive Rock BR - Many of Band's Fans would like to know the origins of the group's members, as also, the origen of the name “Latte e Miele”, that, translating into the English means “milk and honey”. Can you tell us, how you got to this name, and report an interesting history about the band?

Alfio Vitanza: The name went from the Bible “ the land where rivers of milk and honey flow”. We were looking for a simple name, something easy to remember. 
Could you tell us some interesting facts about the history of the group, during the period when the band was in full activity, and why the silence in recent years, too? 
Massimo Gori: There are a lot of funny facts about that time. One day we played at a festival with other bands, such Le Orme, Il Rovescio dell medaglia etc. But at the end of the show the promoter, who was young and with no experience, could not pay the musicians. Since her father was a butcher, he gave us kilos and kilos of meat in plastig bags....

The band split in the late 80, after a couple of pop singles who reached the top ten in  Italy. But we did not like the commercial style that our label was asking us to play, so we went separate ways but remained in good touch.

In the official discography of the group, we have three albums, all with different musical connotations and one with biblical theme, "Passio Secundum Mattheum", "Papillon" and "Aquile and Scoiattoli". Tell us how you chose the theme's names of each album, and what album do you consider as the masterpiece of Latte e Miele?
Oliviero Lacagnina: Each one of us has his personal favourite one, but we coud not say wich is the best among these three records. After our live album, Live Tasting, we recorded “Marco Polo , sogni e viaggi”, wich is probably our best record since the release of “Passio secundum Mattheum" the complete work. But since we had a change of label after the release, this record has not been promoted as it deserves.
It is a fact that, the years 2000 arises as a new era for many progressive rock bands, many these bands are new in the current scenario and others resurface from the past. Some of the famous Italian bands are returning their musical activities, such as: Museo Rosenbach, Osanna, Delirium, PFM (recently, they performed on a great show here in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Locanda delle Fate, New Trolls, Le Orme and others. We can add the Latte e Miele band, in this list of great return, to the Italian progressive rock scenary?
Marcello Giancarlo Dellacasa: The most important thing to us is that we didn't come back just to celebrate the past. We have a lot of creative energy, we write new songs as we ever did and we just want to play our music in the best way, We don't care much about the sales or the commercial side of the fact.
I consider, the Italian Progressive Rock style as a great musical reference in the world, and my prefered style, and I confess that, I love the Italian Progressive Rock. We can list a hundred current and former bands, with a legion of followers and fans around the world. In my opinion, the main musical concept of Italian prog rock musicians is very influenced by classical music and lyrical style. In that case, tell me what are the main music influences from the musicians from the Latte e Miele?
Alfio Vitanza: Some say that Latte e Miele play “Symphonic Rock”. In fact both Oliviero and Marcello have a background in classical playing and composing: so Bach, Strawinsky, Tchaykowsky and others composers influenced our style. But also many great bands we used to listen to in our early years gave us inspiration, from the Beatles to Procol Harum, from Yes to Genesis and so on. We still listen to every kind of music, no matter what the style. To us there is good music and bad music: if you listen to Miles Davis or Jimi Hendrix you are doing the right thing .
What is your opinion about worldwide Progressive Rock scene today?
Massimo Gori: There are some new bands and musicians we really like. For istance, “Il tempio delle Clessidre”, an italian band from our town, Genova, is doing quite interesting records and concerts. We also like Picchio dal Pozzo a lot. But we also like Steve Wilson, and the The Flower Kings.
After over ten years, the band is returning with an amazing and fantastic album, titled as "Passio Secundum Mattheum: The Complete Work". With the original line-up Marcello Giancarlo Dellacasa, Oliviero Lacagnina and Alfio Vitanza, but now including Massimo Gori on bass and vocals, with the special participation of a cast of musicians from several important bands of Italian progressive scene, like: Alvaro Fella (Jumbo), Lino Vairetti (Osanna), Silvana Aliotta (Circus 2000), Paolo Carelli (Pholas Dactylus), Aldo de Scalzi (Picchio dal Pozzo), Sophya Baccini, Elisa Montaldo (Il Tempio delle Clessidre), Giorgio D'Adamo (New Trolls), Max Manfredi, Simonluca and Paolo Griguolo (Picchio dal Pozzo). Tell us everything about this amazing release, the music, the theme, the recordings, why many of the important guest musicians, mainly, what the meaning of "The Complete Work". This album, will be a new masterpiece of the Latte e Miele?
Marcello Giancarlo Dellacasa: We hope so ! It contains a lot of unreleased songs, we wanted to give a “new life” to our first record and  when we got back together in 2008, we felt that this line up was the best ever. So we  wanted to “turn back the time” playng with the new line-up our very first record. It' s been a sort of challenge, and we asked many friends to join un in this experiment.
Now, what do you expect from this time and especially the future, new albums, some live performances, or who knows, a DVD with the recording of the album "Passio Secundum Mattheum: The Complete Work" in an alive concert. Tell us more about the next steps of Latte e Miele band and the musicians?
Massimo Gori: We are planning a new tour in Italy and Japan, so we'll probably do a DVD of these gigs.

I'd like to thank you again for agreeing to do this interview. Congratulations for
the great work that the band has done around the last years, also for the
new album recently released. I hope see you one day playing alive here in Brazil.

Passio Secundum Mattheum (1972)
Papillon (1973)
Aquile e Scoiattoli (1976)
Live (1992)
Vampyrs (1994)
Live Tasting (2008)
Passio Secundum Mattheum: The Complete Work (2014)

Marcello Giancarlo Dellacasa - Electric and Classical Guitar
Oliviero Lacagnina - Piano, Keyboards
Alfio Vitanza - Drums, Vocals
Massimo Gori - Bass, Vocals

Latte e Miele

Another group from Genova, this young three-piece was one of the Italian bands with the strongest classical influences.

They were formed in 1971 by guitarist Dellacasa, that had collaborated with I Giganti in their Terra in bocca, with the drummer Vitanza only 16 year old! A keyboards trio in the same style as ELP or Le Orme in Italy, their first album was Passio secundum Mattheum, with Bach-inspired music and lyrics on the Gospel. An ambitious work, it has its moments but can be boring at times.

The band members had a good technique but their keyboard/ bass/ drums formula was repetitive and mixed with a melodic voice with a result that's not too convincing.

A second album, Papillon, came the following year in a similar style, but the production was much better. The album contains two side-long tracks with the Beethoven's derived Patetica on most of side two being a nice example of their style. An English version of it was also recorded but only saw the light in 1992 on CD.

The band had a good live activity, and even supported Van der Graaf Generator in one of their Italian tours. A good 1974 live recording was made available by Mellow with their Latte e Miele Live CD.

After a couple of singles in 1974, the last of which was melodic and far from the albums' level, the group disbanded, and was reformed in 1976 by drummer Vitanza with three new recruits.

The new line-up released an album for Magma, Aquile e scoiattoli, a very good album, maybe their best and most original work, containing a rendition of Beethoven in Opera 21 and the nice 23-minute long Pavana, composed with help from former band member Lacagnina and also released in edited form on single (but curiously this appeared on Grog label).

The band kept playing until the beginning of the 80's with an always more commercial sound but the singles released were not successful. Their last single from 1980, Ritagli di luce, even took them to the Sanremo Italian song contest. The group included in its latest days bassist Dario Carlevaro and drummer Enzo Barbieri.

An album recorded in 1979 was not released until it was released on CD by Mellow in 1992. Called Vampyrs, and played by the three-piece line-up of Gori, Poltini and Vitanza, it's mostly pop-rock and not comparable with the band's previous works.

Drummer Alfio Vitanza has collaborated with Vittorio De Scalzi in a revised New Trolls' line-up at the end of the 90's and is still playing nowadays with the recent De Scalzi's New Trolls incarnation called La Storia dei New Trolls. He is planning to reform the original Latte e Miele three-piece line-up for a one-off CD.

A commercial single released on Grog in 1976 by LM Special was in fact by Latte e Miele in disguise.

Latte e Miele have reunited in 2008 for a series of concerts as a quartet, with Oliviero Lacagnina, Marcello Dellacasa and Alfio Vitanza from the original group and Massimo Gori, who played in the second line-up. From one of these concerts, held in Canada, a nice live CD has been taken, entitled Live tasting.

A new studio album by the reborn group has been issued in 2009, entitled Marco Polo - Sogni e viaggi.

Thanks to Italian Prog Web Site and Augusto Croce 
for Latte e Miele band Bio.

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