Artist

OSANNA

Lino Vairetti (vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards)
Elio D'Anna (flute, sax)
Danilo Rustici (guitar, organ, vocals)
Lello Brandi (bass)
Massimo Guarino (drums, percussion)

One of the greatest bands in the Italian prog field, Osanna came from Naples, formed in 1971 by the members of I Volti di Pietra and Cittą Frontale (another band with the same name came from Osanna ashes and recorded El Tor) whose keyboard player Gianni Leone has gone to Balletto di Bronzo. Reeds player Elio D'Anna came from Showmen, the others didn't have significant experiences.

During their four years lifespan Osanna failed to create, as many critics have pointed, the perfect album, but left us four very good LP's, among which Palepoli deserves a particular mention.

L'uomo, their first album, released in a memorable triple gatefold cover, already contains their distinctive elements, the nice voice of Lino Vairetti (with interesting lyrics indeed), the aggressive flute of Elio D'Anna, fluid guitar playing by Danilo Rustici and the solid rhythm section of Lello Brandi and Massimo Guarino. Taken from this album the tracks L'uomo and In un vecchio cieco were also released as a single, both starting with an acoustic guitar introduction followed by guitar and flute riffs. 

The band also had an intense live activity, with band members all dressed in long vests and with their faces painted.  The collaboration with theatrical groups produced interesting shows, unique for the Italian audience of the time. They also played with Genesis in their early Italian tour, and who knows if the Osanna stage show has somehow inspired Peter Gabriel...
In June 1971 the band won the first prize at
"Festival d’Avanguardia e Nuove Tendenze" in Viareggio, along with Premiata Forneria Marconi and Mia Martini.

Second album, Preludio, tema, variazioni, canzona, also known as Milano calibro 9 from the name of the film for which it was chosen as soundtrack, is a step backward, with few band compositions mixed with composer Bacalov's orchestral themes. Some of the Osanna tracks are beautiful, though, like the first three Variazione.

Third album, and their best one, Palepoli, from 1973 sees the band at their peak. The album only contains three long tracks and is housed in a nice gatefold whose inner picture is based on the band live stage background. The starting track, Oro caldo, mixes the band typical style with folk chants from their native city Naples. while Stanza cittą and the side long Animale senza respiro all give space to the good playing of the band members. In many writers' reviews one of the best Italian prog albums.

Unfortunately things didn't go well between the group's members and the band came to a split during the Landscape of Life recording sessions, producing a sparse album. Housed in a great cover designed by drummer Massimo Guarino, with an inner gatefold painting by singer Lino Vairetti (some of the band members came from the Naples Academy of Arts and also had an artistic career), the album contains some nice tracks, but suffers from the lack of a real band playing it. 
The band was trying to play abroad and the album was also intended for the foreign markets, so five of the seven tracks are in English, but due to the split it had to be finished with the help of Corrado Rustici (Danilo's younger brother from Cervello) and drummer Enzo Vallicelli (then with Uno).

Danilo Rustici and Elio D'Anna, with drummer Enzo Vallicelli, went to England to form Uno, while remaining members Lino Vairetti and Massimo Guarino gave a new life to their old band Cittą Frontale, this time with new musicians and recorded an album in 1975 called El Tor

Things were not so good for both the newly formed bands and Osanna reunited in 1977 with new members Enzo Petrone (that had played with Lino Vairetti in I Volti di Pietra and later with Moby Dick) and Fabrizio D'Angelo, but their album Suddance is very far from their best days, despite some good tracks. After the last split Danilo Rustici formed Luna.

A further reunion of the bands with some of the original members brought to some concerts in the 90's, and a new CD has been made in 2002 containing old tracks in a re-recorded form.
The last release is an interesting CD+DVD set distributed by BTF taken from the December 2001 reunion concert (not 2003 as stated on the cover), and also including four new studio recordings. The latest Osanna incarnation includes original members guitarist Danilo Rustici and singer Lino Vairetti along with bass player Enzo Petrone from the 1977 line-up and newcomers Gennaro Barba (drums), Gigi Borgogno (guitar), Luca Urciuolo (keyboards) and Vito Ranucci (sax).
The revived Osanna sound is much funkier than ever before, and even the old songs suffer from the new arrangements, though sometime the energy of the old band emerges again. 

In 2008 the group has released a CD single featuring two old tracks rearranged with a new sound, L'uomo and 'A zingara. For some concerts they were helped by the Van Der Graaf Generator saxophonist, David Jackson. With this line-up, after many concerts, the new album Prog family was released in early 2009, containing reworkings of old Osanna tracks, along with their version of Van Der Graaf Generator's Theme one.

The latest Osanna line-up features, along with Lino Vairetti and drummer Gennaro Barba, Irvin Vairetti (keyboards and vocals), Sasà Priore (keyboards), Pasquale Capobianco (guitar), Nello D'Anna (bass).This line-up also played in Japan and from one of these concerts the 2012 album Rossorock was taken, which includes an orchestral arrangement of the whole Milano calibro 9 album.
At the end of 2013 the Afrakà label, in collaboration with Black Widow, released a double DVD to celebrate the group's career. Entitled Tempo, it includes a 2012 concert held in Naples with a second disc featuring TV and private video recordings from 1971 to 2009.

As said above, some of the band members also had an artistic career in different fields, Lino Vairetti being an appreciated painter. He also designed the marvellous cover for the Tempo di Percussione 1975 album.
The original bass player Lello Brandi released a solo album, Osanna blues, in 2009 (Afrakà CDEL 2016), but despite its title the style is very far from the classic sound of his group.

 

 

LP
L'uomo Fonit (LPX 10) 1971 laminated triple gatefold cover with a plastic or metal hook to hang it on the wall
  Fonit/3000 (SFC 103) 1976 single cover
  Fonit/Pellicano (PL 419) 1980 single cover
  Fonit (LPP 440) 1991 non laminated gatefold cover
  BTF/Vinyl Magic (VMLP 131) 2008 glossy triple gatefold cover
Preludio, tema, variazioni, canzona Fonit (LPX 14) 1972 textured gatefold cover
  Fonit/Pellicano (PL 420) 1980 renamed Milano calibro 9 - single cover with different design
  BTF/Vinyl Magic (VMLP 092) 2008 new reissue with glossy gatefold cover
Palepoli Fonit (LPX 19) 1973 laminated gatefold cover with lyric inner
  Fonit (LPX 19) 1974 second issue with non-laminated gatefold cover and lyric inner
  Fonit/3000 (SFC 201) 1978 single cover
  Fonit/Pellicano (PL 421) 1980 single cover
  BTF/Vinyl Magic (VMLP 127) 2008 new reissue with glossy gatefold cover and inner
Landscape of life Fonit (LPX 32) 1974 textured gatefold cover
  Fonit (LPP 424) 1991 standard gatefold cover
  Fonit/Pellicano (PL 422) 1980 different single cover
  BTF/Vinyl Magic (VMLP 136) 2008 new reissue with glossy gatefold cover
Suddance CBS (82449) 1978 single cover with inner 
  CBS (466421-1) 1990 reissue of the above - single cover with inner
Osanna & David Jackson - Prog family AMS (AMS 16LP) 2009 2 LP - gatefold cover
Rossorock Afrakà (LPRG 2212) 2012 recorded live in Japan in 2011 + 3 bonus tracks with unreleased studio recordings
 

CD

L'uomo Fonit Cetra (CDM 2037) 1989 reissue of 1971 album - now deleted
  Warner/Fonit (26619-2) 90's as above - now deleted
  BTF/Vinyl Magic (VM 131CD) 2008 as above with glossy triple gatefold cover
Milano calibro 9 Fonit Cetra (CDP 420) 1989 reissue of  Preludio, tema, variazioni, canzona - now deleted
  Warner/Fonit (82332-2) 90's as above
  BTF/Vinyl Magic (VM 092CD) 2004 as above with mini-LP gatefold cover
Suddance CBS (466421-2) 1990 reissue of 1978 album
  Sony/BMG (88697-92285-2) 2011 as above with mini-LP cover
Landscape of life Fonit Cetra (CDLP 424) 1991 reissue of 1974 album - now deleted
  Warner/Fonit (28278-2) 90's as above
  BTF/Vinyl Magic (VM 136CD) 2010 as above with mini-LP gatefold cover
Palepoli Fonit Cetra (CDLP 425) 1991 reissue of 1973 album - now deleted
  Warner/Fonit (28279-2) 90's as above
  BTF/Vinyl Magic (VM 127CD) 2010 as above with mini-LP gatefold cover
Taka boom Afraką (CDEL 2004) 2002 2001 line-up - new arrangements of old tracks
Live - Uomini e miti Suoni del Sud/BTF (SS 002) 2004 CD + DVD - live 2001 and new studio tracks - four-part foldout cover
Osanna & David Jackson - Prog family AMS (AMS 150CD) 2008 mini-LP gatefold cover - first 1000 copies contain a numbered insert signed by Lino Vairetti
Rossorock Afrakà (CDRG 2212) 2012 mini-LP gatefold cover - recorded live in Japan in 2011 + 3 bonus tracks with unreleased studio recordings


VARIOUS ARTISTS COMPILATION ALBUMS
Progressivamente 1973-2003
(with Non sei vissuto mai)
Progressivamente (GMP 002) 2004 CD compilation of unreleased recordings, also includes Gianni Leone/Leo Nero, Metamorfosi, Alberomotore, Semiramis and others
Prog Exhibition - 40 anni di musica immaginifica (with L'uomo, Formentera / Oro caldo / My mind flies / L'amore vincerà di nuovo, Ce vulesse ce vulesse, Ys (Introduzione), Everybody's gonna see you die, Vado verso una meta, Theme one, Fuje 'a chistu paese) Immaginifica/Edel (ARS IMM 1004) 2011 7 CD + 4 DVD box set also featuring Sinestesia, The Trip, La Maschera di Cera, Tagliapietra-Pagliuca-Marton, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Periferia del Mondo, Raccomandata con Ricevuta di Ritorno, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso
 

SINGLES (with picture cover)

L'uomo
In un vecchio cieco
Fonit (SPF 31298) 1971  
L'uomo
'A zingara
L'uomo (radio version)
Afrakà (CDEL 2008) 2008 three-tracks CD single
 

PROMO-ONLY AND JUKEBOX SINGLES (with white labels and plain covers except where noted)

L'uomo
Fonit (JB 389) 1971 juke box single - backed with Casadei/Io cerco la morosa
L'uomo
Fonit (JBF 399) 1971 juke box three-track single - backed with Delirium/Preludio and New Trolls/La prima goccia bagna il viso
Vado verso una meta
L'amore vincerą di nuovo
Fonit (JBF 615) 1971 promo single taken from L'uomo
L'uomo
Fonit/Besana "Gran regalo" (JBF 625) 1972 free with Panettone Besana - custom picture sleeve - backed with Tchaikowsky/Valzer dei fiori
Canzona 
Fonit/Besana "Gran regalo" (JBF 626) 1972 free with Panettone Besana - custom picture sleeve - backed with Mussorgskij/Una notte sul Monte Calvo
Canzona (There will be time)
Fonit (JBF 407) 1972 juke box single - backed with Delirium/Haum
Animale senza respiro (frammento)
Fonit (SPF 31306) 1973 juke box single - backed with Vanna Brosio/Viva noi
A' zingara
A' zingara
CBS (6428) 1978 promo white label - no cover
same track on both sides
L'uomo
'A zingara
Afrakà (45EL 2008) 2008 33rpm single with picture cover, only sold at concerts

 

Osanna albums are rather common in Italy due to the large number of copies pressed. 
First album L'uomo was originally released in a triple gatefold cover, with the outer pictures composed in a big exclamation mark, that could be hung on the wall with a small hook (some copies had a plastic hook, others came with a metal one, glued to one of the cover sides). Late 80's reissue on Fonit, in collaboration with the Vinyl Magic shop and label, had a simpler gatefold cover.
The single taken from the album, L'uomo, should have been released in 1971 as the LP, but the vinyl on side B carries a June 1972 date.

Both Preludio, tema, variazioni, canzona (now with the new title of Milano calibro 9) and Palepoli were reissued in Fonit's Pellicano low price series, both with a single cover. In Milano calibro 9 case this was very different from the original sporting the band members' pictures that were on Landscape of life's cover.

Original issue of Palepoli came in a thick laminated gatefold cover that was soon after replaced by a thinner non-laminated one, both completed by a yellow coloured lyric inner sleeve.

All the albums on Fonit were originally released with black/silver labels.

Some tracks from the early production of Delirium and Osanna were used in instrumental form in the soundtrack of the 1972 western film Scansati...a Trinità arriva Eldorado directed by Dick Spitfire (Aristide Massaccesi, a.k.a. Joe D'Amato). This soundtrack never appeared on record.

Milano calibro 9 has been reissued in 2004 by VM2000/Vinyl Magic in their deluxe "Italian Progressive Rock" series with a gatefold mini-LP replica cover with an illustrated information booklet.

First four albums have been issued in Japan by Seven Seas/King label, L'uomo with single cover (K22P154), Milano calibro 9 (GXF2042), Palepoli (GXF2051) and Landscape of life (GXH2016), all with gatefold covers (Palepoli was later reissued with single cover). This issue of Palepoli has a slightly different mixing from the Italian original, with side A being longer.
Milano calibro 9 was also issued in Korea on Seven Seas with cat.no.140 and single cover with grey coloured back.
Milano calibro 9
and Landscape of life (the latter with different track order and the track Fiume renamed River) also had a single sleeve issue in USA (Peters International PILPS 9001 and 9007), the first of the two also being released in Venezuela. 
A single containing two extracts from the second album was issued in France on the Pierre Cardin label (SG 395 - year 1972), the tracks are There will be time and one of the orchestral themes, renamed Milan calibre 9.

Suddance was also released by CBS in other European countries, among which Spain.

L'uomo - LP

L'uomo - triple gatefold cover
Band picture from L'uomo cover L'uomo - 1976 reissue
Preludio tema variazioni canzona - LP Preludio tema variazioni canzona - reissue
Palepoli - LP
Palepoli - inner gatefold
Landscape of life - LP
Landscape of life - inner gatefold
L'uomo - 7" single
L'uomo - promo 7" single Canzona - promo 7" single
L'uomo - 7" single and CD single (2008)
Taka Boom - CD Live - Uomini e miti - CD + DVD set
Rossorock - CD
Tempo - DVD

 

 



Click on pictures to enlarge

Osanna & David Jackson - Live in Rome, Stazione Birra - 26-jan-2009
Osanna & David Jackson with Gianni Leone-
Live in Rome, Stazione Birra - 26-jan-2009
Osanna & David Jackson with Gianni Leone and Sophya Baccini -
Live in Rome, Stazione Birra - 26-jan-2009
    
 
Osanna with Gianni Leone and David Jackson at ProgExhibition 2010
Teatro Tendastrisce, Roma, 6-nov-2010
  
  
Osanna with Gianni Leone
Le Radici del Rock - Viterbo 21-Jul-2012

 

 

Osanna have their own site www.osanna.it and a MySpace page, www.myspace.com/osannamusic
A nice book called Osanna-Naples in the world has been written on them by Carmine Aymone (Afraką 2001 - Italian-only).

 

 

Thanks to Giuliano Medei, Peppe Carrese, John Elvis Gualtieri, Federico Bordo and Mirko Ferrarini for information