Best of 2022: Bar Mediterraneo - Nu Genea
Album: Bar Mediterraneo
Artist: Nu Genea
Release Date: May 13, 2022
Link to Purchase: https://nugenea.bandcamp.com/album/bar-mediterraneo
Napoli-based Nu Genea is comprised of DJs/musicians Massimo Di Lena and Lucia Aquilina. Their 2022 release Bar Mediterraneo is a groovy, 35-minute dance party, an exploration & fusion of different languages from the region, and an engaging sonic & musical experience throughout.
I love the way the album is described on the duo's Bandcamp:
"Bar Mediterraneo is the place where people constantly return to transform curiosity into participation, tradition into sharing, unfamiliar into familiar. When travelers come through its “doors”, carrying their treasures of words and emotions, they aren’t strangers any more. They take part in a shared experience, enriching themselves and others by leading to unexpected musical journeys."
This album was a go-to for me this year when I needed something energizing, warm, and upbeat. The rhythmic textures and grooves throughout are infectious. There are so many interesting sonic textures woven through each song, like the quarter-tone strings in "Tienaté" or the use of a school choir singing the melody on "Vesuvio." These little musical elements bring so much individual character to each song while the album still maintains a cohesiveness, achieving what Nu Genea describes as "a shared place where people meet and fuse together; a space that leaves its doors open to travelers and their lives, always exposed to the whims of fate."
You can hear these ideas of "shared space" and "fusion" in Bar Mediterraneo's usage of different dialects and language from the region. Neapolitan, French, the Tunisian dialect, and other languages are present throughout the album, celebrating the coming together of different people. I encourage everyone to read the full description of how these languages were used and the back story of many of the songs on the album here.
I really enjoy listening through Bar Mediterraneo because of the different ways I can engage with it as a listener. If I'm feeling like doing some focused listening, the album is full of interesting sounds, textures, and vocal timbres that keep me engaged. On the other hand, if I'm just looking for a great album to put on while driving or working on some other tasks, this rhythmically compelling album provides the perfect, lively backdrop for those activities.
I hope you enjoy Bar Mediterraneo as much as I do. Please remember to support these wonderful musicians by purchasing the album at the link above.