Il Giardino dei Semplici (literally: The Garden of the Simples) is one of the strongest and most fascinating musical realities in Italy. In an impressive span of almost forty years, this band from Naples has sold about 4 million albums, performed 1,800 gigs and tantalized thousands of fans across the country and beyond. Well known for their trademark choral falsetto and their outstanding ability to mix pop, rock and classic Neapolitan music in one package, as well as delivering unique melodic Italian songs, Il Giardino dei Semplici has just unleashed their new album to celebrate four decades of artistic life and impact on people.
“GDS,” as fans call them, was formed in early 1975, with four guys, four different personalities and artistic flavours. Co-fronted by two lead vocalists, the handsome and light-hearted bassist Luciano and the minstrel-looking and shy guitarist Gianfranco, and backed up by the elegant and brilliant keyboardist Andrea and the practiced and witty drummer Gianni.
The band released two best-selling singles, “M’innamorai” and “Tu, ca nun chiagne” (1 million copies sold), which paved the way for the ground-breaking self-titled debut album, “Il Giardino dei Semplici” (1976). It was a triumph, and in the span of just one year the quartet managed to play 176 gigs, further conquering both the public and critics alike.
In 1977 GDS attended the Sanremo Festival with the smash-hit “Miele,” securing their place as one of the biggest Italian acts of their day. A second full feature album, “Le Favole del Giardino” soon followed, as well as a huge tour. In 1978 when their pivotal songs were re-released in Spanish (Me enamoré, Tu que nunca lloraste, Tu te vas and Fresa), the quartet launched a renowned classic from their catalogue, the single “Concerto in La Minore (dedicato a lei),” which they featured on their tour of the United States and Canada.
In 1979, they signed a deal with Warner music, releasing the pop-rock album “B/N.” The album was ahead of its time, and successful enough to prompt the band to play an impressive 112 shows on their next tour. As on-stage gimmicks, the guys adopted futuristic black and white costumes, and introduced a gigantic Pulcinella’s mask looking upon the audience. Later, a song out of the album, “Silvie,” was turned into the finnish hit Helsingin helle by singer Katri Helena.
In late 1980, the band experienced its first and only replacement, when founder Gianni Averardi left and the young and wild Tommy Esposito took the duties as new drummer.
The Italian musical climate changed in the 1980’s with bands struggling to achieve the big numbers they had been accustomed to earlier in their careers. Despite this crisis, GDS managed to release mildly successful albums and conquer a whole new generation of fans with such selections as the more varied “…E amiamoci” (1982); the rock-tinted “Giallo” (1983); the experimental but highly appreciated “Ed è subito Napoli” (1985) and the electronic-pop jewel “Zingari” (1989). In 1988 their back catalogue was re-released in Japan, where they had always been considered a relatively soft progressive band.
Over the next two decades, the quartet extended their reach beyond their normal touring by appearing on nationwide TV via countless popular primetime programs. They also went on to release the neoclassical “Otto Quarantotto & Ventisette” (1993), which became very successful in Korea; the religious-themed concept “Canta e cammina” (2000); the stripped down and acoustic “Napoli unplugged” (2005) and the comprehensive box-set “Trenta” (2005), which featured several new tracks along with a fresh re-recording of their greatest hits.
In early 2012 Gianfranco Caliendo left the band, and GDS became a trio. After recruiting Savio Arato as a supporting musician, the guys recorded their very first live album, the powerful “Semplicemente live.” In August, the band played an intense gig in front of 20,000 people and reaffirmed their enduring legacy once again.
In October GDS has gone into the studio to cut songs for a brand-new album, the eleventh in their exciting career: “Argento vivo”. This strong and sophisticated pop-rock oriented record has been released in May 2013.
Il Giardino dei Semplici is musically and spiritually stronger than ever, and their amazing adventures continue.
Andrea Arcella (keyboards, piano, programming, backing vocals)
Luciano Liguori (bass, lead vocals, backing vocals)
Tommy Esposito (drums, drum programming, percussions, backing vocals)
Savio Arato (electric and acoustic guitars)
1976- Il Giardino dei Semplici
1977- Le Favole del Giardino (The Fables of Il Giardino)
1979- B/N (a.k.a. Bianco e nero. White and black)
1982- …E amiamoci (And let’s make love)
1983- Giallo (Yellow)
1985- Ed è subito Napoli (And it’s suddenly Naples)
1989- Zingari (Gypsies)
1993- Otto Quarantotto & Ventisette (Eight Fourtyeight & Twentyseven)
2000- Canta e cammina (Sing and walk)
2005- Napoli unplugged
2005- Trenta (Thirty)
2012- Semplicemente live (Simply live)
2013- Argento Vivo (Quicksilver)