A native of Genoa in northwestern Italy, Filippo plays the organetto, the diatonic button accordion, an instrument that is pervasive in several Italian regions. The son of acclaimed guitarist Beppe Gambetta, he was exposed at an early age to roots musicians from around the world, and began playing the organetto at age 14. A virtuosic player, valued collaborator, and busy composer, his music is steeped in Northern Italian folk idioms, yet has echoes of Nordic, Celtic, Balkan, and other inspirations. His latest recording, Otto Baffi (2016), follows on three earlier albums, Andirivieni (2009), Pria Goaea (2002). and Stria (2000). Otto Baffi has received strong reviews from a variety of publications for its melodic inventiveness, compelling arrangements, and as always, the dancing lightness of touch that characterizes Filippo’s sound. He has previously toured Canada and Europe with the Filippo Gambetta trio, and is also busy internationally with Liguriani, a band that specializes in traditional music of his region of Liguria. As a collaborator, he has worked with musicians from Finland, France, Belgium, Ireland, and Canada, including with the late fiddler Oliver Schroer.
Oliver Schroer was perhaps the first link between Filippo Gambetta and Emilyn Stam, who counted Schroer as her mentor. Emilyn, a pianist and fiddler, was raised in Smithers, BC, and currently lives in Toronto. She is a tireless performer there, and has toured throughout Canada, Eastern and Western Europe with The Lemon Bucket Orkestra, The Shoeless, Eh?!, John David Williams, and Té (NL). She has a passionate interest in European social dance music styles, many of which are at the root of Filippo’s compositions. Her interest in this area led her to co-found Balfolk Toronto, a new movement of pan-European social folk dancing which hosts weekly drop-in dance evenings with live music. She regularly crosses over into other art forms, collaborating with improvising clowns, theatre groups, contemporary dancers and poets.
Above all, Filippo and Emilyn bring a depth, inventiveness, and passion to their instrumental folk music that is inspiring to experience.