Born to an artistic family, Franca Masu is the most international representative of the ancestral Catalan language and culture which still endures in the seaside village of l’Alguer, an area with only forty-thousand inhabitants on the striking island of Sardinia which still preserves the medieval splendour of the heritage left by the Crown of Aragon.
Formerly an Italian literature professor, Masu found herself as a singer upon meeting a group of Sardinian jazz musicians in 1996, with whom she began to perform. In 1998, she discovered the beauty of the Catalan language in music, the same language which, having remained isolated for centuries, has survived in her Barceloneta of Sardinia, l’Alguer. Beyond her jazz background and eminent Mediterranean sound, among her musical interests one also finds fado—which she perfectly interprets, making her one of the top singers of this genre in all of Italy—as well as an eloquent approach to the Argentine tango. With the help of renowned producer Mark Harris, she published her first album “El Meu Viatge” in the year 2000.
The album, presented at the Mercat de la Música Viva in Vic, maintained a special mention from the SGAE and Barcelona’s Ràdio 4 as the best début album of the year. The music magazine Enderrock also qualified Masu as one of the best new artists, while Catalan critics recognise her as the “true revelation in Catalan singing and song writing”.
In 2003 she publishes “Alguímia” with the collaboration of mandolin player Mauro Palmas and double bassist Salvatore Maltana. Franca Masu consolidates the use of the Catalan language as a language of artistic expression on this album and achieves a considerable success with not only audiences, but also with critics, participating in numerous festivals and international events. For this album, she also received the “Maria Carta” award in 2004, reassuring a career which, although still young, is on the verge of bursting onto the international scene.
“Aquamare” (2006) is her third and latest album with which she presents herself to the public, this time, as the author of nearly each song. Masu reveals immense versatility, bringing together an array of musical pieces which vary in style, genre, and even language. “Aquamare” is a unique interpretation, defined by a musical selection which gives in to the tempting sounds of various influences… compositions that explore new territories in sounds, preserving the pressing sense of tradition all the while. Her passionate temperament naturally led her to the Argentine tango.
In 2003 she met Fausto Beccalossi, one of the most dynamic accordion players on the Italian scene; encouraging her to join Oscar del Barba’s Trio Nuevo Tango as a performer, with whom she sang on various prestigious occasions. In 2007, they recorded an album entirely dedicated to Argentine tango entitled “Hoy Como Ayer”, along with the grand violinist Carlo Cantini of the Arké String Quartet. Recently, her interests have also lingered on retrieving antique images of old Alghero which capture and eternalise the work of the fishermen and the devotion of the people of this Catalan microcosmos and seaport on Sardinia.
In fact, she has made a video documentary with these images entitled “Pregàries” which includes a concert. The journey alongside Franca Masu’s voice is intimate and powerfully reveals the consciousness of the artist in delivering a clear interpretation of her own identity as a Sardinian, Catalan and undoubtedly Italian woman; the pure vital energy of a true “Mediterranean mother” with a seductive voice capable of charming listeners with the light and colours of the cultural Pandora’s box of the Mare Nostrum.
THE CRITICS HAVE SAID:
“The lyrics and music in Masu’s songs are undoubtedly inspiring and grow with the vocal power that delivers them; a power which resides in the the shades of a beautiful voice; an admirable range of registers; the perfect pitch and an exquisite form of expression”. "El Comercio Digital"
“Italian, Sardinian and Catalan all converge on one album [Aquamare] conceived in the tiny village of Alghero and praised by Lluís Llach, a confessed admirer of this artist on the rise”. "El País"
“The essence of a pure diva hard to come by these days and displayed in every manner […], a mere preview of the many larger doors which are to open for the incredible talent of Franca Masu in the future”. "La Nueva España"