· The Modena City Ramblers started in 1991 as an Irish folk band. They had no ambition to play concerts for the public; they just wanted to play for their friends and families. The group’s name comes from the usual way folk groups name their bands by placing their birthplace before a noun. The musical influences of the ramblers from Modena (the famous Italian hometown of Ferrari cars) stretch from the great musical heritage of Irish and Scottish folk to The Pogues, The Waterboys and Bob Dylan. They soon tried to use these influences to create their own songs, which, by speaking with love and passion, but also rage and militancy, they hoped would reach the hearts of Italian people.
· In 1993, astonished by the warmth with which the audience from their region, Emilia, welcomed their punk-Irish folk songs and their Italian Resistance ballads, they recorded the first demo tape: Combat Folk (it’s meant to sound similar to the famous Clash title!). This tape sold more than 3.000 copies and increased the popularity of the band all over Italy.
· In March 1994 their debut album Riportando Tutto a Casa (“Bringing Everything Back Home”) was released by the independent Italian label Helter Skelter. This record helped the Ramblers to assert their hybrid identity: Ireland and Emilia, the Resistance and the seventies in Italy (which they had only heard about as they are too young), the voyages and the struggles, the folk lessons and punk philosophy. The album was a success and a few months later the Ramblers started working with Mescal management and the major label PolyGram. Riportando… was reissued in November in the Blackout-Mercury catalogue with the addition of a new song (“Il Bicchiere dell’Addio”) guest starring the famous singer Bob Geldof. Up to now the album has sold 185.000 copies.
· The second album La Grande Famiglia (“The Big Family”) has been available in record stores since March 1996. The release was dedicated to all of the Ramblers’ fans: their stories and their dreams. The sound changed, the folk (which was played from the beginning with a punk attitude) got harder as it was more influenced by rock. This second album also turned out to be a great success, selling up to 50.000 copies (and the sales have continued, reaching 120.000 copies).
· Meanwhile, the band built up a reputation as a live-band. During their concerts, the Ramblers were always jumping, dancing, playing loudly, having fun and entertaining the audience who inevitably had a great time. The Italian “piazze” (squares) and clubs hosting the Grande Famiglia Tour were always crowded. In fact some of their venues attracted many more people than other more famous Italian artists.
· The early Modena City Ramblers considered they were an itinerant session group, which had a core of musicians who were sometimes helped by guest-musicians. In this way the band have been able to cope with various changes without any major trouble, and so far have remained open to the most diverse artistic cooperation. The famous Bob Geldof and the old Italian female folk singers Mondine of Novi, the Irish ambassadors The Chieftains and the Italian comedian Paolo Rossi are just some of the many artists who have shared the stages and recording studios with the Ramblers.
· In October 1997 the band flew to Bolivia to take part in the Encuentro Mundial de Vallegrande in memory of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who was killed there thirty years before: they were the first European group to give a live performance after the end of the war in the Andean precordillera.
· At the end of the year the band released a new CD, Terra e Libertà (“Land and Freedom”) which defined a new sound where the old “combat folk” inspirations merged with echoes of Mano Negra patchanka.and Balkan music. In the meantime, on 26th December, the Ramblers also flew to Cuba. Here they were the protagonists of a rousing concert in the Revolution Square in Havana where 100.000 people gathered for the event that was recorded by local television. As they do wherever they go, the Ramblers went busking through the streets of the Havana Veja after the concert.
· In May 1998 they took part in the huge 1ST May concert in Piazza S. Giovanni in Rome in front of 600.000 people. The performance gained them great success and the sales of the album Terra e Libertà reached 50.000 copies.
· In June the band performed on the main stage of the Neapolis Festival in Naples sharing the show with Deep Purple and Primus. By now, Modena City Ramblers were an important reality on the Italian rock music scene. “Canzone Dalla Fine del Mondo” was included in a Celtic compilation released by the American label Putumayo: “Dublin to Dakar, a Celtic Odyssey”.
· In July the Ramblers were guests at the Semana Negra, which takes place in Gijon, Spain. The “Semana” is a week of literature meetings and discussions on various subjects, photography exhibitions and many other art activities. The Festival is organised by Paco Ignacio Taibo II and supported by Luis Sepúlveda and it also hosts a great number of buskers and bands. The Ramblers were considered special guests (this was the second time they had taken part in the festival) due to their friendship with the Spanish-American writers who had inspired their music and especially their latest CD, Terra e Libertà.
· In October 1998 MCR released a live CD entitled Raccolti, (“Collections”, but also “Harvest” or “Quiet”), which was completely acoustic and recorded inside a pub. This is a both a collection and live CD. It is an original way of presenting the music of the band, unplugged but really “electric” and powerful as a performance!
· In February 1999 they made a prestigious theatre tour. After this tour they started to work on the new album Fuori Campo (“Out of sight” or “Out of focus”). The pre-production was made in Ireland and involved various Irish musicians. The CD, in the music stores in October 1999, had a very special guest voice in the song “Fuori Campo”: the famous Chilean novelist Luis Sepúlveda. The album was even released in Japan. Kaba Cavazzuti, the studio band producer for many years, became a new member of the Modena City Ramblers after changes in the original line-up. The singer Cisco released, in the meantime, along with Kaba, the album of the ‘brother band’ Casa del Vento, which came out in February 2001 and was called ‘900’. The Modena City Ramblers also started a special long awaited tour with the famous Italian “combat rock” band The Gang, under the name of The Gang City Ramblers.
· In September 2000 they went to South Africa to play (the only Italian band) at the Awesome Africa Festival in Songweni Park near Durban with the legendary Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music) as a guest on stage. The band also collaborated with the South-African group Landscape Prayers, playing on their album “Lontano”.
· 2002 – on 22nd February they released a new CD, Radio Rebelde. The record was produced by Enzo “Soulfingers” Rizzo, formerly a member of the well-known DJ’s combo Kawanzaa Posse from Naples (productions and remixes for Mano Negra and Les Negresses Vertes). At the same time the Modena City Ramblers created their own Record and Productions label, Modena City Records, which develops productions and side projects linked to the band. The first title published by the label was ‘Pazienza Santa’ by the Italian old “folkers” Paulem. Radio Rebelde was a new chapter in the MCR’s history: the sound was now a real meltin’ pot of influences. There was the Clash lesson, the Manu Chao way of constructing and linking the songs, there were suggestions of world events, echoes of the no-global struggle, there was rock, punk, reggae-dub and of course the ethnic and folk sounds collected along the way.
· During the 2002 Radio Rebelde Tour there were more than 100 concerts all over Italy with highlights like the 1st May in Rome in front of more than 500.000 people and the 1st September with Manu Chao at the Independent Days Festival in Bologna.
· At the beginning of 2003 the band went to Mexico (Chiapas) and Guatemala, performing in San Cristobal de Las Casas, in some EZLN communities and in Guatemala City. The memories of this experience suggested ideas and imagination for the new songs.
· 2003 - The band also toured the world, touching Algeria (Smara – For Saharawi People), Germany (Lorrach – Stimmen Festival), South Africa (Johannesburg - 4th Woodstock Festival, Durban – Awesome Africa Festival), Holland (Amsterdam – Melkweg; DenBosch – W2; Njimegen – Lux), Czech Republic (Praha – Rock for People Festival, Tabor – Stadlecky Most Festival), Slovack Republic (Trencin – Pohoda Festival).
· June 2003 – While working on the upcoming album the band released a CD of remix versions of some Radio Rebelde songs: Modena City Remix, including “Una Perfecta Excusa”, produced by Feel Good Productions, and “Maisha” and “Newroz”, remixed and produced by Coleridge of Transglobal Underground. After the summer the Ramblers concentrated on the recording of the new songs and became the chosen testimonial for an important social campaign, “Acqua per la Pace” (“Water for Peace”) supported by COOP, Italy’s leading cooperative company in the large distribution market.
· January 2004 – The band played at the Eurosonic Festival 2004 (Groningen - Holland ). On 23rd January the band released its new CD ¡Viva la Vida, Muera la Muerte!, produced by Max Casacci (from Subsonica). The title came from the final sentence of the Zapatistas commanders in their introductions. The album follows the path of Radio Rebelde, but is also linked with the old sonorities and musical structures (the ballad). The Ramblers’ music by now had an original personality with hundreds of influences (folk, punk, rock steady, reggae-dub, Latin, African, Balkan and so on…) mixed in a unique blend. In a few days ¡Viva la Vida, Muera la Muerte! entered the TOP TEN of the Italian album chart!
· The Modena City Ramblers are now an important and consolidated phenomenon on the Italian rock music scene. They are the most important Italian band that mixes folk and “world” influences with punk and rock. They hold concerts before huge audiences and have sold half a million copies of their CDs in the last ten years.
Riportando tutto a casa
PolyGram - Album
La Grande Famiglia
PolyGram - Album
Terra e Libertà
PolyGram - Album
Cent'anni di Solitudine
PolyGram - EP
PolyGram - Live
Universal - Album
L'italia ai tempi dei Modena City Ramblers
Universal - EP
Universal - Album
Modena City Remix
Universal - Remixes
Universal - EP
¡Viva la Vida, Muera la Muerte!
Universal - Album
buy it at iTunes
Dopo il lungo inverno
Mescal - Best Of
29.04.2011: 5 de mayo XOC y Modena City Ramblers en Barcelona La 2 de Apolo (Castellano)
22.04.2010: Modena City Ramblers en concierto 8 Mayo en Barcelona y 9 de Mayo en Madrid (Castellano)
The Forum for Modena City Ramblers
Contact & Management
M.C.R. live booking
Italia : Mescal eventi e produzioni Live
Cecca email@example.com - Phone +39 051 5878905 - mobile +39 335 7169140
Europe and Overseas : Estragon Productions
Lele Roveri firstname.lastname@example.org - Phone +39 051 365825 - mobile +39 335 5736656