Daniele Sepe was born on April 17th, 1960 in Naples
1975-1980: EDUCATION & FIRST STEPS
He attends the Naples’ Conservatoire San Pietro a Majella, majoring in flute.
In the meantime, he starts his multifaceted musical activity with the Zezi, a “workers’ band” from Pomigliano D’Arco. In 1976, they participate to international folk music festivals in France (Rennes and Martigues) and Germany (Bonn), and they record the album Tammurriata dell’Alfa Sud for the Italian folk label Dischi del Sole.
He buys a saxophone and starts to get interested in playing jazz music.
On top of that, he starts infesting the Neapolitan new wave, as he contributes (or creates problems? You decide) to the Vesuwave sound by composing arrangements for bands like Little Italy, Bisca, Walhalla, Degrado etc.
1980-1989: YEARS OF SACRIFICE
For a while, he goes through an intensive phase of playing “serious” music (e.g. Bach, baroque & contemporary classical music) in a number of concerts. But after the diplome, being tired of preparing exhausting concerts for old upper-class scarecrows, and lacking the money for a black tie, he gives up (toooooo serious…).
He starts an intensive career as session man, playing the saxophone both in records and live shows of an unbelievable number & assortment of Italian singers (e.g. Nino Bonocore, Mia Martini, Teresa de Sio, Roberto de Simone, Gino Paoli & many many more… ). To cut it short, just for the sake of material survival he plays anything with anyone, with a few exceptions: indeed, he enjoys collaborating with Peppino Gagliardi, Eduardo de Crescenzo, Roberto Murolo and Nino D’Angelo.
1989-1994: YEARS OF SOWING
With a remarkable lust for danger, he starts composing music of his own and for himself. The names he gives to the various bands he forms may give a picture, although still vague, of what an unaware spectator might expect from their performances, from Art Ensemble of Soccavo (aping the Art Ensemble of Chicago, where Chicago is replaced by a Naples zone) to Orchestra dell’On. Trombetta (Orchestra of the MP Trumpet): these bands have a vaste assortment of line ups, varying from a trio of wind instruments to a big band of twenty musicians. Paradoxically enough, people seem to like it all, and even more incredibly, the critics enjoy it as well (with the only and justified exception of jazz critics).
He even succeeds in doing a serious thing: during the (first) U.S. war against Iraq, he enrolls about fifty Neapolitan musicians to produce a tape of peace songs, which is dealt out free of charge at the gates of factories and schools in Naples.
At first, he documents his work on the unavoidable (and hopeless) demo tapes; finally, he records his first album, paying the production costs all by himself thanks to the money earned as “musician for sale” (and giving up buying a car). The title of the album, “Malamusica (non è tutto)” is a pun, and can mean both “But music (isn’t all)” and “Bad music (isn’t all)”. However: critics scream “how marvellous”, and the CD buyers ignore it completely.
In spite of that, he insists: he gives up eating & drinking, loses 10 Kilograms weight and finds the boldness of recording another album, with the “ordinary” title “L’Uscita dei Gladiatori” (The Release of the Gladiators, referring to the disclosure of Gladio, the parallel secret organisation within the Italian power apparatus)… And having it released – with a lack of scruples seldom to be found – by Virgin (then, he escapes to Timbuctu with the “millions of milliards of shells” earnt thanks to the sales of the album).
1994-1998: YEARS OF HARVEST. Back from Timbuctu and on the verge of starvation, he is picked up (just in time) by Ninni Pascale of the record label Polo Sud: thanks to his saver, In 1994 he releases the album “Vite Perdite” (“Lost Lives” in a sort of hybrid lingo between Italian and Spanish). At last, the sales are almost as beautiful as the critics’ reviews, and this album procures him the invitation to several festivals, together with the yearned entry into the Italian and European charts. The album gets even included among the “1OO albums of the Nineties to be saved” by the music magazine “Rockstar”, and is designated as “best album of the year” according to another magazine, “Rockerilla”; moreover, the authoritative English magazine “Folk-roots” presents it as “the only Italian album to be worthy of listening”.
All this gives sound evidence that the promotion works right if you make a fair prezzie to the fair reporter .
In 1995, he releases the album Spiritus Mundi (almost 1 hour & 20 minutes of music on one CD, and at a one CD price!), which obtains the same good success as Vite Perdite. These two albums are pilled by record labels (e.g. Polygram) and publishers (Il Manifesto, La Repubblica) for several great run anthologies.
Among other things, he collaborates with the best Italian band issued from the Nineties wave, “99 Posse”, by playing his magic flute in some tracks of their records (and not because of the money, but because of the value of his artistic contribution).
He is also asked to write music for theatre acts and companies (Falso Movimento, Teatri Uniti, Compagnia del Sancarluccio) and for ballets (International festival of dance and poetry, Menti Labili); but above all, he contributes to a lot of motion picture soundtracks (“Amnesia” by Gabriele Salvatores, “Diciassette” by Enrico Caria, “Rimini, Rimini”, “L’amore molesto” by Mario Martone, “Cronaca di un amore violato”, “Lettere dall’America” by Gianfranco Pannone, “Il caricatore” …).
He then starts a long and fruitful collaboration with “Il Manifesto”, involving the release and distribution of his albums at a fair price (8 Euro). The first two albums issued under this collaboration are “Trasmigrazioni” (Trans-migrations), involving a large number of musicians who are immigrants in Italy, and an anthology called “Viaggi fuori dai paraggi” (Journeys outside the neighbourhoods): the latter, although unhearable (so he says…), is a smashing hit, and a major breakthrough according to the readers of the magazine “Musica”.
1998-2003: YEARS OF VINTAGE & CAROUSING. With a total lack of any sense of responsability, he is sent to represent Italy to the festival of Marseille, to Nantes, to the Womex of Bruxelles and to the Wexford Opera Festival (Ireland)… Maybe just because no one else wanted to go there, but who cares, he travels a lot.
He gets prizes (e.g. Club Tenco 1998 for “Lavorare stanca”, meaning “Work is tiring”, on the legacy of workers’ exploitation in Italy), awards, more requests of collaborations from producers & directors….. And nice money from the sales of his most recent albums: he’s made it, he has total power over his public, they just buy everything, no matter how erratic or incomprehensible the records may be… they are all a must! (see complete Discography below). This was made possible with the steady complicity of a rich bunch of musicians, researchers and old & young singers (among the latter, Auli Kokko and Luca “Zulù” Persico).
His latest work (for the time being) is “Anime candide / Canzoni d’amore e di guerra” (Spotless Souls / Songs of love and war). It was released in 2003 and entered both the European World Music charts and the Italian general charts among the top 50 (not bad at all, for such a bore!), getting him the invitation to the “Strictly World Music Festival” in Marseille.
Daniele Sepe – saxphone, direct
Dean Bowman – voice
D.Castigliola – bass
Hamid Drake – drums
Gio Cristiano – guitar
Tommy De Paola – piano