Review at Musical Discoveries by Russ Elliot:
“As Northern Lights co-editor-in-chief, it’s difficult to pen anything other than a biased review of a Renaissance recording. [...] Musically, listeners will find a range of recorded material with sounds that span the band’s history extending the sound into more mature almost-operatic pieces like the title track. Listners will find classic progressive rock Renaissance, entries from Dunford’s musical and musings from Haslam’s solo career. [...] The treasure of Grandine il Vento is actually its diversity, and diversity is after all the central theme of progressive rock.”
Debbi Calton of WMGK Philadelphia interviewed Annie Haslam last week – listen here
Review at examiner.com by Ray Shasho:
“After listening to Grandine il Vento, I thoroughly enjoyed the all-encompassing musical arrangements and was overwhelmed by the commanding classical orchestrations. Haslam’s vocalizations were majestic and the duets were poetic … I gave Grandine il Vento (5) Stars.”
Grandine il Vento is available for purchase in CD and digital formats.
Renaissance are proud to announce that their new studio album Grandine il Vento is available for purchase with worldwide delivery as of June 1st 2013:
Our first studio album in thirteen years, Grandine il Vento marks a bittersweet career landmark: on November 20, 2012, we suffered a great loss in the passing of our beloved friend, composer, and guitarist Michael Dunford. Grandine il Vento was to become his swan song.
You can hear samples of the music on the digital album page (three complete tracks) or this four-song sampler medley.
We hope you will share and introduce Grandine il Vento to family and friends. Purchases will not only help keep our music alive, but will also assist Michael’s widow Clare to raise sons William and Oliver.
Annie and the boys
** The album will be available to fans in Japan through the Marquee label
Grandine il Vento front and back cover
Vocalist Annie Haslam describes the tracks:
Symphony of Light
A tribute to the genius Leonardo Da Vinci.
About the rainforests in Brazil… I have been there many times and love it!
Grandine il Vento
A love song that transcends life itself.
About an African village and the people who live there.
Cry to the World
Our ‘World Song’ in honour of Mother Earth and all who are part of her.
Air of Drama
A love song about two people who come together again later in their lives in Paris, where they had first met.
Blood Silver Like Moonlight
This is a duet with John Wetton. He has been a friend for many years and I always felt our voices were similar in their timbre and range. I was told once by a ‘spiritual’ energy friend that John and I sang in the Angels choir together. That is what this song is about. Remembering the choir!
The Mystic and The Muse
I was inspired to write this by two of my paintings The Mystic and The Muse. Although it is a fantasy in a way, I see Michael as The Muse and me as The Mystic.
John Wetton (Asia, King Crimson, UK, Uriah Heep) appears as guest vocalist on the new Renaissance album Grandine il Vento, performing a duet with vocalist Annie Haslam accompanied by only the grand piano of keyboardist Rave Tesar.
Although Annie Haslam and John Wetton are life-long friends and musical collaborators, it is not widely known that John Wetton was a touring member of Renaissance briefly in 1971. With this guest vocal appearance, he has finally recorded with the band as well.
Grandine il Vento will be available in April.
Hear a sample of the track Blood Silver Like Moonlight below:
Dear Renaissance family
The sad circumstances of losing Michael that befell us all recently, will always bring tears to my eyes, but the joy he brought to so many through his music will live on through all eternity. Your notes and posts over the past few months have meant so much to Clare Dunford and the boys. Your wonderful outpouring of love and admiration for Michael has helped them through these roughest of times. Clare and I discussed the quest to find a guitarist that would be worthy Michael’s blessing, and she too feels that Ryche Chlanda is the right one to carry on with Michael’s legacy.
Clare asked that we share the following letter with you:
To you all …
William, Ollie and I want to thank you all for your condolence messages and lovely memories/thoughts of Michael – we would love to just give you all a BIG hug for your love, support and kindness through this. He not only touched your hearts, but you have touch ours too as you have given us great strength to carry on through this really difficult time. The boys and I have read every single message and would love to have replied to each of you personally but there were so many!!! We can’t believe that already more than two months has passed by – someone wrote that they would never forget the 20 thNovember, well I know we won’t as it was the day our bubble burst – I’ve lost my gorgeous husband and a wonderful father to our two sons, William and Oliver. He was very much my English gentleman – kind, caring and so very thoughtful. The boys and I miss him every single day … not a day goes by without us remembering this gracious and loving man.
What I do know is that the wonderful music he created will go on, so now Michael has left the greatest legacy for not only the boys and I, but for you wonderful people out there to keep on enjoying. We’re looking forward to hearing the new album so here’s to Annie and the band.
William, our 13 year old, wanted to put a few words together to let you know what he thought of his father …… “My Dad was amazing at what he did, not only was he the best father a son could ever have, but he played in this wonderful band which was so important to him, he was always working wherever we were. I loved him lots like you could not imagine but unfortunately he has been taken from us but as a friend of my Mum’s said ‘they take the flowers and leave the weeds” (not sure what I am!) What I do know is that my Dad was talented, clever at everything. I am proud that he is my Dad and always will be, I love him like no other”.
Lastly, I m sure that each and everyone of you will have your special memories of Michael, I know we do, so keep them safe, smile and go out there and enjoy life!
Lots of Love
Clare, William and Ollie xxx
Dear Renaissance family,
I hope this note finds you and yours in the best of good health and spirit.
As you can imagine we’ve been tasked with the inevitable; the quest to find a guitarist that would be worthy of our Michael Dunford’s blessing and musicality.
We recently auditioned a wonderful guitarist/vocalist from New Jersey named Ryche Chlanda whom we feel will be the right one to carry on with Michael’s legacy. He is a well respected and articulate musician who has toured both with Nektar and Fireballet.
Please join us in welcoming Ryche (pronounced “Rich”) to Renaissance. You will be seeing him on tour with us this April, and we hope you’ll feel the same way we do about him.
Looking forward to seeing you…
Michael Dunford, musical composer and guitarist of the progressive rock band Renaissance passed away on Tuesday, November 20, 2012. He had just returned home from the first leg of the band’s North American tour and suffered a massive Instantaneous Cerebral Hemorrhage while dining at his home in Surrey, England Monday night. He was rushed to hospital where doctors declared his condition irreversible and terminal. He passed away at 11:06 pm GMT, surrounded by his family without having regained consciousness.
The reclusive and soft-spoken composer, a mainstay in the world of progressive rock, was born, raised and educated in Surrey. His first job was selling clothing in a local shop followed by a stint as an airside driver at Heathrow Airport which enabled him to form a “skiffle” group which lead to his first rock band called Nashville Teens in the early 1960s. Nashville Teens reached #6 on U.K. singles charts with their version of Tobacco Road. On leaving them, he formed several other bands including The Pentad and The Plebes. One night he went to see the original band Renaissance perform locally and ended up joining them in the early 1970s. The original band members were Jim McCarty, Louis Cennamo, John Hawken, Keith Relf and Jane Relf.
Dunford and vocalist Annie Haslam took over Renaissance’s reins in 1971 and soon had established the group as a world class recording and touring act, selling out venues like New York’s Carnegie Hall and The Royal Albert Hall in London. They would go on to release over a dozen albums before eventually parting ways in the mid-1980s. However, they would continue to write new material together and in 2001 reunited the band to record a new studio album, tour the following year, and release a live album. After another sabbatical, the refreshed line-up was introduced to the world and captured for posterity on Turn of the Cards and Scheherazade and Other Stories Live 2011.
Earlier this fall, Dunford and the band completed recording their first new studio album in twelve years. Grandine il Vento was recorded at Studio X in Ridgewood NJ, USA. All the music on the new album except for one track was composed and arranged by Dunford and features him on acoustic guitars and backing vocals.
Michael Dunford is survived by his wife Clare, sons William (13) and Oliver (10), and sister Judy Kendall. Services will be held at Woking Crematorium at a date to be announced.
April 23 – Variety Playhouse – Atlanta GA
April 25 – Palladium – St Petersburg FL
April 26 – Plaza Live – Orlando FL
April 27 – off
April 28 – Amaturo Theatre – Ft Lauderdale FL
More to follow.