Franca MasuView in iTunes
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Born into an artistic family in Alghero, Sardinia, an island off the Mediterranean coast of Italy, Franca Masu knew from an early age that she was meant to sing. In the mid-'90s she met a group of fellow Sardi jazz musicians, with whom she performed, practicing her chops and getting exposure. Masu also took a strong interest in the traditional music of Alghero, a place where a dialect of Catalan is spoken and is influenced by not only Spain but also Portugal and Italy, and in 1998 she recorded her first record, "Més a Prop," with help from arranger/musician Mark Harris. That song appeared on her full-length debut, El Meu Viatge, an album that showed off Masu's clear, haunting voice and the traditions of the Mediterranean. Similar themes were explored on 2003's Alguìmia, which included musical accompaniment by mandola player Mauro Palmas and bassist Salvatore Maltana, and 2006's Aquamare, which, besides Maltana and Palmas, saw contributions from accordionist Fausto Beccalossi and saxophonist Gavino Murgia, and included a Catalan version of the song "Canzone per Te." Equally adept at other forms of traditional song, Masu has also performed fado, suadade, and tango, all three of which make appearances on her albums. ~ Marisa Brown