Born in a Sicily’s remote country village, Alfio Antico lived as a shepherd until the age of 18 surrounded by pastoral life, in deep nature connection, absorbing from his grandmother local tales, myths and a rich cultural baggage of traditions. The voice of the wind, the animals’ sounds, the tales of the ancestors, in a land of more than thousand of years of history, with deep ties with the ancient Greece. But Alfio is not only the keeper of this tradition, as a bard or a griot, but a man who at the age of 18 chose to make a life of his own. During early 70s, Italy had a strong internal migration: the younger generations of the southern regions started moving northernmost, looking
for a better way of life. While playing in Piazza Della Signoria, Florence, Alfio was discovered by folksinger Eugenio Bennato and invited to join his band: Musicanova, where he became one of the most prominent features alongside with the singer Teresa De Sio.
The search for traditional Southern Italian folk culture was not only the revendication of
Southerners’ youth identity but also an exotic and authentic charming world for the urban alternative scene made of students, working class people, musicians, during those vibrating countercultural times.
Alfio Antico became a professional musician, and with over 40 years of career where he performed worldwide, his instruments gave his signature sound to many Italian singers/songwriters’ hits. He also worked with Fabrizio De Andrè, Lucio Dalla, Vinicio Capossela and played in theatrical pieces alongside some of the most famous Italian actors and directors.
Alfio is considered worldwide as the master of frame drums, but this is only a part of his works.
All his instruments are handmade and decorated by himself: from the skin to the frames and cymbals, hand cast, hammered and tuned.
His amazing rhythm lies in the complete control of the instrument, from the skin tension to the resonating buzzes of cymbals, and the drawing of melodic patterns. And then, the man and the poet, the bard that has orally known all the tales of his lore and the contemporary man who speaks with his own voice, his individuality, who, if we were in a traditional eastern society, could be at the same level of a master or guru. The ancient dialect research, the use of onomatopoeic phonemes, the sounds of animals, all mixing in groove; the connection with nature and its ecologist message which has deep roots in ancient traditional cultures in which you were not allowed to take more
than what you needed. Between Apollonian and Dionysian, or simply a third way, where the two are mixed, and the man is the architect, the demiurge. Alfio Antico is active both live and in studio on different projects, performing as solo artist in jazz festivals, world music, contemporary electronic events like Berlin Atonal (held on 30th August 2019), literature and poetry events, baroque music ensembles, theaters
and many others. His new album “Trema La Terra” is out in March 2020 via Ala Bianca records, and it features electronic and electric instruments, everything at the service of his music and poetry.