TONJ ACQUAVIVA ENSEMBLE (already agricantus), is the continuation of the artistic career of Tonj Acquaviva, founder of the music group Agricantus.
"Agricantus is certainly one of the most sensitive groups on the international world music scene. Theirs is an extraordinary blend of traditional and contemporary instruments and modern techniques wich takes you on a journey through the voices and rites of the ethnic traditions of southern Italy and then leads you on to unknown territories in far away places".
Agricantus (from the latin: the singing of the corn field): is a band gender 'world ethnic-electronica' , born in Palermo.The group became famous in the mid 90's with the 'sound' of bandleader Tonj Acquaviva, and the arrival of Swiss singer Rosie Wiederkehr. Their early releases "GNANZU’" and "VIAGGIARI" were fine examples of their ability to mix ethnic music, mainly from the Mediterranean, whit ambient and trance rhythms, and were followed by "TUAREG", with which they achieved success in Italy and Europe in 1996. This exceptionally refined record was recorded in the desert of Mali with nomadic instruments and musicians, won the prestigious TARGA TENCO 1996 for the Best World Music Album and got the 6° place in the classification of the World Music Charts Europe. In 1997 Agricantus won PIM – Italian Music Award and were also key players in the original soundtrack for "Steam" (Hamam-il Bagno Turco), a film by Ferzan Ozpetek which won the Globo d'Oro 1997 (Italian Golden Globe). The mini-cd “HALE BOPP SOUVENIR”, featuring Fadimata Wallet Oumar - spokeswoman for the true Tuareg culture - was their next release. In 1998 “KALEIDOS” was an album which immediately had an impact world-wide. With “KALEIDOS” the band undertook an extraordinary journey in to the heart and origins of classical music, letting themselves be inspired by great composers such as Grieg, Paganini, Brahms and Luciano Berio. Classical music and technology are united with an incredible flair and with the desire to abolish the lines that separate them.
In 1998 they co-wrote the original soundtrack for "I GIARDINI DELL’EDEN", a film by Alessandro Dalatri. In 1999 the album "BEST OF AGRICANTUS", was realized in the States with the label "World Class", that distribute it not only in the States but also in Canada, South America, Australia and Japan. In just a few weeks it rose to the top of American and Australian radio charts. September 1999 was the release date of "FAIDDI", a compilation of their most beautiful songs re-arranged and played live. "FAIDDI" is also the soundtrack of the photographic exhibition "ON THEIR SIDE" by UNICEF, for the tenth anniversary of the approval of the Convention on the rights of the infancy from U. N.
In 2000 Agricantus wrote the original soundtrack for "Placido Rizzotto" a film by Pasquale Scimeca. The film was introduced to the 57a Mostra Internazionale del cinema di Venezia where it was enthusiastically welcomed with great ovation by the public and by the criticism and won the Fedic Prize (Italian Cineclubs Federation) and the Festival of Annecy. February 2001 was the release date of "ETHNOSPHERE", the most recent Agricantus concept album: a virtual trip among Tibet and the Mediterranean in which are mixed light and shade, night and day, introspection and extroversion, as the oriental philosophies teach.
In February 2002 "JAMILA", fruit of a collaboration among Tonj Acquaviva e Rosie Wiederkehr and the guitarist Francesco Bruno, was a single produced by the daily "Il Manifesto". The proceeds from the sale was destined to bring sanitary helps to the Sierra Leone through Emergency, an humanitarian association. 2002 was also the release date of "CALURA", a compilation that includes some remixed songs by dj Rocca from Maffia Club of Reggio Emilia, and Dj Keir from Blue Cheese of Rome, and the song Amatevi contained in Buddha Bar IV.
In 2001 Agricantus started a collaboration with the record label "George V" that distributed them all over the world and included their songs in the cd Nirvana Lounge (2001 - song Hala Hala), Buddha Bar IV (2002 – song Amatevi, the first Italian song inside the collection), Siddharta vol 1 (2003 – song Orbi Terrarum). In 2007 Agricantus wrote the soundtrack for “il figlio della luna “ a movie by Gianfranco Albano and relese the last CD “Luna Khina” who explores the fusion between rap reggae and orchestra sound with lyrics sicilian –indian – chechua …
In 2008, under the name "ACQUAVIVA - the Soul and the voices of Agricantus", they released the album "Millennium klima", a combination of music and visual arts.
Album premiered at the castle Maniace of Syracuse and on tour in Turkey.
In 2011 Agricantus by Tonj ACQUAVIVA was awarded the Prize Bodini (culture in the mediterranean), that the group will dedicate to Amnesty International for its 50th anniversary.
In 2013 Agricantus by Tonj ACQUAVIVA was released Kuntarimari, worked in Spain and published by Discmedi / Warner España, a concept album on the sea and its tales. Which premiered in Barcelona.
In 2015, Tonj Acquaviva gives life to the ACQUAVIVA ENSEMBLE, formation of music without frontiers, with the voice singer Slovak Beata Dreisigova, and the wind instruments, the french Eric Guennou.
In 2015 Acquaviva Ensemble realizes the multimedia show of music, video art and sandart "Kuntarimari (autour de l'eau)" which debuts premiered in France in Montpellier. With the video artist Natacha Tanzilli, curator of the visual direction.