From the banjo to the accordion, the great international virtuosos arrive at Cremona Musica

News and important guests for the historic Acoustic Guitar Village and Accordion Show, in the words of artistic advisor Alessio Ambrosi

by Maria Musti

At Cremona Musica 2024, the Acoustic Guitar Village and the Accordion Show, directed by artistic advisor Alessio Ambrosi, 69 years old, Roman by birth and Ligurian – specifically from Sarzana – by adoption, will offer visitors a rich panorama of artists and events.

The first will host Italian and foreign companies, individual luthiers, and small artisans, whose number is constantly rising. Noteworthy is the presence of the ALI, Italian Luthier Association, which deals with classical guitar, while prestigious luthiery masterclasses will play an important role in teaching: among the most awaited guests are the two American acoustic guitar builders Jason Kostal and Michael Bashkin.

The calendar of live events at the Cremona Musica Exhibitions Center is rich: on Friday, September 27, New Sounds will take the stage, with music for guitar alone or with voice, Saturday 28 will be the turn of the Italian Bluegrass Meeting – dedicated to the country repertoire – with jam sessions of no less than 19 bands, for a total of 79 Italian and European musicians involved. Finally, on Sunday 29, we will listen to Corde e voci d’autore, dedicated to songs and pieces where the use of the guitar stands out: within it, the project Parole liberate will be presented, an album to which some of the performing artists have contributed, setting to music texts written by prisoners.

The Special Night event, scheduled for the 27th at the Auditorium of the Violin Museum, is not to be missed: the guest stars will be the American trio The Kruger Brothers, founded by Jens, “the world’s number 1 banjo virtuoso: he performs Bach, klezmer music, bluegrass, and other incredible things,” says the artistic director. The other two sets of the evening will feature the accordion duo formed by Andrea Coruzzi and Cristiano Lui, and the De Bonis duo, named after the historic Calabrian luthiery of which they play magnificent examples.

Another appointment not to be missed is the series of concerts that Saturday evening will see among the protagonists the American virtuoso Preston Reed, known for having introduced percussive effects on the guitar since the 80s. On stage also Giovanni Baglioni son of the singer-songwriter Claudio – acoustic fingerstyle instrumentalist, and the beautiful encounter of Luca Zanetti’s accordion with Carlo Aonzo‘s mandolin, one of the most acclaimed world interpreters of this ancient instrument, which arouses continuously growing interest. This is confirmed by the success of Cremona mandolins on display, which this year reaches its fourth edition, whose artistic director is the same Aonzo. “An event that relaunches, with a deserved leading role, an instrument that would be absurd to leave in oblivion,” comments Ambrosi. A billboard of events in which charango and ukulele will also find space: the first of South American origin, the second Hawaiian, they are characterized by small dimensions and used to perform captivating rhythms.

Among the areas followed by Alessio Ambrosi, we must also remember the Accordion Show, born in 2018, a point of reference for accordion manufacturers and all enthusiasts. The winner of the Cremona Musica Award 2024 dedicated to this instrument is highly anticipated: it will be the 68-year-old from Pistoia, Riccardo Tesi, a virtuoso of the diatonic button accordion and a pioneer of world music.

Last but not least, in the rich scenario of the sector dedicated to plucked string instruments, the introduction of a great novelty: the Electric Sound Village, curated by Stefano Prinzivalli in collaboration with Ambrosi The Lombard music fair thus expands its program representing all musical genres, and completing a panorama that ranges from acoustic to electric sound.