His dream was realised with the formation of Santa Taranta, a contemporary folk band which plays an eclectic mix of original music and traditional songs from Mr Rossano’s native southern Italy.
The group’s first EP, released the same year as its foundation, sold over 1000 copies, and Santa Taranta has since been invited to perform at festivals around Australia, winning the hearts of crowds at the National Folk Festival, Brunswick Music Festival, Piers Festival, Fairbridge Festival, Illawarra Folk Festival, as well as many concerts at prominent Melbourne music venues.
A four-piece band consisting of founding members Mr Rossano and Emiliano Beltzer, along with vocalist Hayley Egan and multi-instrumentalist and folk dancer Francesco Bufarini, the band is on a mission to show Australian audiences that, not unlike a cup of steaming espresso or a tasty aperitivo, Italian music is a part of our rich multicultural heritage and belongs to the entire wider community.
Santa Taranta’s catchy contemporary sound is inspired by ancient languages and traditions unique to the Belpaese, and raises people to their feet regardless of their background or musical preferences - it’s simply infectious.
After gaining a large following over the past four years, the band recently decided to breathe life into their first album, ‘Sete’, which they began recording in March.
Named after the Italian word for “thirst”, the album explores music as a life-force, and the right of every human to listen to music and feel good.
A combination of traditional tunes and original creations, the album also features Italian protest songs from the South all the way up to Tuscany, which highlight the idea that our world is unjust, and not everyone gets their fair share.
Ms Egan explains that the album is a metaphor for something much deeper.
“The front cover shows people drinking and having a good time, but some of them have fuller glasses than others,” she indicates.
“Many of the songs focus on workers’ rights, and we were inspired more by the music itself, which is often the case when doing traditional music.
“You find these big powerful messages and think about what they mean today; a lot of them continue to be really relevant.”
Santa Taranta will showcase a selection of the album’s tracks at an intimate concert at Co.As.It. on Friday, December 1.
The group is looking forward to not only performing their tunes, but explaining their origins and influences.
“Sometimes at our concerts people get up and start dancing pizzica and don’t want to sit down,” Ms Egan laughs.
“We really enjoy the opportunity to perform before a seated audience and delve into the traditional side, even though our music has a contemporary touch.”
Of the 10 tracks on the album, four are original creations and six are inspired by traditional songs.
That said, Ms Egan explains that the traditional songs are verging on "unrecognisable" because the band has put their own contemporary twist on them.
“It’s a cultural exchange in which we’re trying to expose Australians to Italian folk music, but also show Italians what we’re doing with traditional music,” the singer says.
“We’ve had a very positive response from Italian communities in Melbourne; they’re really happy to listen to something that takes them home without trying to be a replica of what Italian music sounded like when they left.”
Santa Taranta is currently crowdfunding to independently produce the album and bring it to their fans’ ears before the New Year.
The album will be available before Christmas for those who supported the band’s call for crowdfunding.
The group will then take copies of the album with them on tour in January, with dates lined up in NSW.
They’ll work their way down to the Illawarra Folk Festival, before returning to Melbourne for the album’s official launch at The Spotted Mallard on February 2.
While Santa Taranta have their sights set on touring Italy in the future, they’re currently excited to continue carving out their own unique space on the Australian music scene.
With Ms Egan’s enchanting voice and a range of fast-paced and exciting to slow and whimsical melodies that transport listeners to southern Italy, what’s not to love?!