Enzo Favata is one of the most active and best known Sardinian musicians on the Italian and international music scene, having played more than 2,000 concerts the world over.
His research weds tradition and modernity and ranges between different musical cultures.
He has studied classical and jazz saxophone, plays the soprano, sopranino and tenor sax, and the bass clarinet, as well as other ethnic wind instruments, above all from Sardinia. He is also a capable user of electronics, that he utilises together with acoustic instruments.
His career started in 1983: after having played traditional jazz for some years, he concentrated on the study of the folk music of Sardinia, of which he is well-versed. Based on these models, together with other ethnic influences, such as those from Latin America, he has developed an idiom and composition style that are totally original.
He has composed soundtracks for the cinema, the radio, TV, the theatre and the dance.
He has designed and realised sound environments for museums and exhibitions.
He has played and recorded with Dino Saluzzi, Enrico Rava, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Django Bates, Miroslav Vitous, Dave Liebman, Lester Bowie, Flavio Boltro, Michel Marre, Tenores di Bitti, and many others.
He studied classical saxophone at the Conservatorio di Sassari (High school for music studies) and jazz music at the Siena school with Gian Luigi Trovasi, Fasoli and Rava. He taught himself ethnomusicology and the traditional music of Sardinia, as well as traditional and electronic composition.
His first album was released in 1987 containing also his own musical compositions under the name of the group “D.D. Band”, an eight-piece band which won third place at the Festival of emerging Italian jazz, Forlì.
• In 1987, a special mention was earned in the competition “Ai confini tra Sardegna e jazz” for the Sant’Anna Arresi Festival with the D. D. Band.
• In 1988 he won first prize in the competition “Ai confini tra Sardegna e jazz” for the Sant’Anna Arresi Festival with his first quartet of experimentation between improvisation and Sardinian music.
• In 1990 he met Marcus Stockhausen who introduced him to fusion between contemporary and Indian music.
• From 1990 to 1992 he played a great deal with a group composed of Rashmi V. Bhatt, Indian tabla , Marcello Peghin, guitar, Giovanni Maccioccu, cello – with Favata, himself playing soprano and electronic saxophone.
• In 1992 the first album under his own name was released, “Jana”, that documents this visionary landscape of musical blending between Sardinia and other cultures; with the same line-up he was invited to the European Jazz show in Barcelona.
• At the same time he developed another project on the side, together with the guitarist Marcello Peghin and the percussionist Roberto Pellegrini: “TANGRAM TRIO”, an experimental group in the field of contemporary jazz and avant-garde music halfway between minimalism, noise music and the contemporary New York underground sound. Favata played with this group at the Tokyo Jazz Festival in 1992 and at that of Berlin in 1993.
• In 1995, the Tangram Trio won a European competition for best improvisation group at Poitiers.
His concert-playing experience was flanked by production of sound tracks, working for RAI, radio and television, dance and the theatre.
In 1993 he started researching into Sardinian music, meeting with numerous traditional musicians from practically all the villages in the island.
At the start of 1993 he debuted as author for cinema soundtracks, composing the music for a German film set in Sardinia “Con amore … Fabia” by the Italian director Maria Teresa Camoglio, produced by Shram films, Berlin; this experience was repeated in 1995 with the film directed by Antonello Grimaldi “Il cielo è sempre più blu” presented in 1997 at 10 international film festivals throughout the world, amongst which the Berlin Film Festival. This soundtrack was released on CD by the San Isidro label.
In 1995 collaboration started with the label Robi Droli, with which “Islà” was produced, an album recorded together with the guitarist Marcello Peghin, the tabla player Federico Sanesi and Riccardo Tesi on the diatonic accordion. The disc met with optimum praise from the critics and in this phase Favata abandoned electronics to concentrate on the pure sound of acoustic instruments.
In 1994 friendship with Piergavino Sedda led to the first encounter with the music and musicians of the Gavoi tradition – an artistic love at first sight that led to a solid bond between Favata and the Gavoi Tumbarinos, who were present in many later musical productions.
1997 was the year of an important collaboration with the virtuoso of the Argentine bandoneon, Dino Saluzzi. This is immortalised on the CD “Ajò”, recorded with an acoustic quintet, the music of which deals with memories of emigration from Sardinia to Argentina. The work was applauded by both public and critics: the French magazine Jazz Man awarded it four F’s, placing it within the top 29 CDs of the month of October. This recognition was followed in autumn of the same year by a series of concerts all over Italy. The CD was also inserted amongst the best 150 records of 1997 in the World Music Charts Europe (that gathers all the radio stations and programmes specialising in world music in Europe). In the classification only one other Italian record followed (Anime Salve by De Andrè). Collaboration with Saluzzi continued in the form of a series of concerts.
In 1998 “Voyage en Sardaigne” was released by Il Manifesto publications – the first musical work by Enzo Favata to be entirely dedicated to Sardinia. In this work the sax player involves 32 musicians who interpret his own music – amongst these musicians were some of the most important figures in Sardinian folk music. The disc was an unexpected sales success – more than 20,000 copies were sold.
“Voyage en Sardaigne” debuted as a show involving ethnic artists such as Tenores di Bitti, Tenores di Orosei, and Tumbarinos di Gavoi amongst others; the production was performed in various parts of the world amongst which the Mediterranean Song Contest in Palma di Mallorca, then it was presented in autumn at the prestigious Salone della Musica in Turin, the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Teatro Lirico in Cagliari, the Frankfurt Jazz Festival, Cairo Opera Theatre, Festival de la Mercè in Barcelona, and the Milan Auditorium.
In 1999 a new CD was recorded for Il Manifesto: ATLANTICO with M. Peghin on guitar, Daniele di Bonaventura, bandoneon, Salvatore Maltana, double bass, and Roberto Pellegrini on drums. The CD was released in November and sold more than 16,000 copies.
At the end of the year, with Jana Project, the first version of BOGHES AND VOICES was produced and distributed. This is a show based on the sacred music of Sardinia, ranging from the ancient to the new, with the participation of Dino Saluzzi (virtuoso of the Argentine bandoneon) with the A Concordu Choir of Castelsardo. It was presented before 1,000 people at the Bonaria Basilica, Cagliari. The project then continued with Simone Zanchini on the accordion.
In 2000 Jana Project produced “Maqroll il Gabbiere” with David Riondino and the Enzo Favata Quintetto. The show debuted in Cagliari and opened the festival “Roma incontra il mondo” (Rome meets the world) in June, as well as a series of other concerts in Italy.
Voyage en Sardaigne: various shows amongst which the Opera Theatre of Cairo, Arena del Sole in Bologna, Cagliari Estate 2000.
In 2001 Favata worked intensely with a long series of concerts all over Italy and Europe, and produces the show ‘Skies of Sardinia’ with Enrico Rava.
In 2001 Favata started playing with the French trumpet-player Michel Marre.
The Quintetto Atlantico and Voyage en Sardaigne Orchestra were performed all over Italy and Europe, as well as in Egypt.
2001 marked a debut in the theatre: Teatro della Tosse, Genoa, with “Storia del Labirinto” featuring the actress Mara Baronti and live music with Enzo Favata on wind instruments and Michele Rabbia on percussion.
In 2002 the Quintetto Atlantico and the project with Tenores di Bitti were invited to various festivals in Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Slovenia and Italy.
In October 2002 the CD “BOGHES AND VOICES”, published by Symphonia, met with excellent reviews in the Italian press that defined it “the Mediterranean reply to J. Garbarek’s Officium and Hilliard Ensemble”. Critics described it as one of the best records of 2002 for its category.
In March 2003 the CD “MADE IN SARDINIA” was produced for CC&c records, a German label, with a presentation by the noted German jazz critic Ulrich Ohlshausen, the disc met with a nomination by the German critics for the best world music record of 2003 (while not winning first prize, it was nominated as one of the best productions of the year together with other five artists).
2003 Italian tour of the most important theatres with Storia del Labirinto; Boghes and Voices tour in Italy and Germany.
2003: First tour of Quintetto Atlantico in Brazil.
2003: Favata played with Django Bates; together with the Montenegro singer Klarisa Jovanovic and Croatian guitarist Elvis Stanic, and Italians U.T. Gandhi, M. Peghin and S. Maltana, the BALKANTRONICS group is formed.
In 2004 the Nu Tango Compilation was released by London’s Union Square Music. The greatest exponents of new Argentine tango and international names are present, such as Mercedes Sousa, Gotan Project, and Winton Marsalis. E. Favata was the only European artist present with the track “La milonga del Sol” .
In 2004 he played in the festival Musica sulle Bocche and at Sant’Anna Arresi with Miroslav Vitous and David Liebman.
In 2004 Quintetto Atlantico toured South America: six crowded concerts between Argentina and Brazil in important theatres, participation on national radio shows, the station Globo (the most important in South America dedicated the coverage of culture in the Brazilian news). At Buenos Aires collaboration with Dino Saluzzi was renewed in the form of a concert at the Recoleta.
2004 saw the release of “CROSSING”, an anthological double album dedicated to the music of E. Favata, recorded over 15 years of live concerts around the world, with the participation of over 40 ethnic, jazz and classical musicians, amongst whom E. Rava and D. Saluzzi.
2005 saw the production of “VOYAGE EN SARDAIGNE PER GRANDE ORCHESTRA” a new work, a new repertory and arrangements for symphonic orchestra, jazz quintet, tenores voices (Tenores di Bitti) and launeddas, together with the Dutch Metropol Orkest, a project commissioned by the Orchestra of the Dutch National Radio.
Enzo Favata’s recordings have been distributed in Europe, the United States and Japan.