It’s been a while since I posted my last original post about italian music and I figured it was time to make a new one. But deciding on what genre to present and on which artist to feature is not that easy (seriously, I could make a post featuring only songwriters with the last name B alone) so the other day I had the brilliant idea of helping myself with some more media. And if the first three posts were done using the Festivalbar as the starting point to introduce you the summer bops, this post will be all about… the artists featured in Pixar’s new movie, Luca.
But I have just a tiny heads up to give first: the movie is set sometimes around the 60s and the OST features artists and tracks that were famous in those years. With the exception of one of the artists, everyone else that will be mentioned still has an ongoing career. I stuck with my usual 1 video + 3 other songs formula but seriously, if you do like any of these artists, please, check more of their music on youtube/spotify because what I linked and presented is barely a drop of their discographies. For most of them I didn’t even need to look up their song lists, I just linked the first three that popped in my head and I could probably list you three more titles at least for (almost) each of them. Also, if you want to learn Italian with music, I would actually suggest to listen to songs from this era, as I find the lyrics to feature words and phrases that are easy to understand.
Quartetto Cetra - Un bacio a mezzanotte
And we start right away with the one artist I don’t know anything about! Although I’ve known this song since I was little, I had no idea about the artist behind it so I won’t really have a lot to say except quoting what wiki tells me. The members were Virgilio Savona, Lucia Mannucci, Giovanni “Tata” Giacobetti and Felice Chiusano. The quartet gets together in the early 40s and their career lasts for almost 50 years. They were among the first artists that brought various genres of music to Italy like the boogie-woogie and rock’n’roll, recording an italian cover of Rock Around The Clock (linked below). The lyrics of their songs are described as often humours but in good taste, and they also recorded two songs for the italian version of Dumbo (When I see an Elephant Fly and Pink Elephants on Parade). If you are a fan of Breaking Bad, you may want to check the third song, as it was featured in the series. And yes, the second song is a cover of Old McDonald has a Farm.
Nella Vecchia Fattoria
Edoardo Bennato - Il Gatto e La Volpe
This was the song featured in the trailer and the second I heard the first beat, I knew I would watch this movie. Bennato is a songwriter from Neaples and he is described as one of the greatest italian rockers, a music genre he often mixes with blues and folk. His lyrics are often ironic and irreverent and what I found most interesting (and what fascinated me as a kid) is that he also uses themes from children stories. Il Gatto e La Volpe is a song about the Cat and the Fox from the story of Pinocchio (he actually has a full album of songs all inspired by Collodi’s story and also one inspired by the story of The Pied Piper of Hamelin). He is also famous for using songs inspired by the story of Peter Pan, like Il Rock Di Capitan Uncino (lit. Captain Hook’s Rock) and the song that I linked below, L’isola che non c’è (Neverland). He was the first italian artist to fill up the San Siro stadium (biggest in Italy) with over 60 thousand people. He also has another interesting record, the one of releasing two full albums in 15 days (with the first one, Uffa! Uffa! being a complete surprise as it was not announced as a release and printed in Belgium to avoid anyone spoiling the unannounced release). Along with being one of the best Italian song-writers and presenting himself as a one-band-man (he performed playing guitar, armonica, kazoo, tambourines and other percussions, he is also an architect!
L’Isola che Non c'è
Viva la Mamma
Sono Solo Canzonette
Rita Pavone - Viva la Pappa col pomodoro
Okay! I feel like bouncing just talking about Rita Pavone! Started her career at the early of 17 years, she got famous right away with her record La Partita di Pallone, where she sings about her boyfriend dumping her every Sunday to go watch the football game at the stadium, song that became a stable evergreen in every singalong. Known for her ginger hair (and nicknamed Pel di Carota), she became famous all around Europe, Japan, South America and she also participated at the Ed Sullivan show. In the 60s and 70s she also starred in a bunch of movies and she was a stable guest on various italian tv shows. Her career has been on-going since 1962 and although she did announce a retirement in 2005, she came back seven years later (she also still appeared as a guest on various occasions during that time). She is also known for releasing covers, like the italian versions of If I had a hammer, Stand by Me, Free again (original by Barbra Streisand) and many others. She actually released an album called Masters in 2013, which is a double album of covers; the first CDs features the song in their original version in English, while the 2nd CD features their version in Italian.
La Partita di Pallone
Il Ballo del Mattone
Gianni Morandi - Fatti Mandare Dalla Mamma & Andavo Cento All'Ora
And here comes Gianni Morandi, known for his great songs (and his big hands). I guess the best thing would be to start at the beginning of his career… imagine being 18 years old and having Ennio Morricone doing the arrangements of your very first album. This was Gianni Morandi (still is, he is still alive!) and actually, both of his songs featured in the movie Luca came from his first album, but if you think that he is one of those artists whose first album is full of bops and the rest is meh, you are wrong! He released 40 studio albums, 5 live albums and 58 collection albums. And he is also an actor, appearing in 18 movies and 11 TV series. In 1981 he was among the founders of the Nazionale Italiana Cantanti (the football national team of italian singers, who will often play in games for charity). he represented Italy at the ESC in 1970 (with the song Occhi di Ragazza, another hit!), he has both won and hosted the Sanremo Festival and he is probably one of the most important people when it comes to italian music, selling over 50 million copies all around the world. And as a cherry on top, his song In Ginocchio Da Te, was used in the Oscar winning movie Parasite.
C’era Un Ragazzo Che Come Me Amava i Beatles e i Rolling Stones
Scende La Pioggia
In Ginocchio Da Te
Mina - Tintarella di Luna & Città vuota
Now everybody shut up, I saved the best for last because we are talking about THE VOICE. Probably the greatest voice of Italian music (seriously, check Brava), also known as The Tiger from Cremona. Honestly, she deserves a post just for her career. Do you wanna know how good she is? Lets talk numbers. Since the beginning of her career in 1958, Mina (full name Anna Maria Mazzini) has had: 24 songs on the #1 spot, 61 top 3, 86 top 5, 114 top 10 and 130 top 20, for a total of 79 albums and 62 songs on the charts. And she hasn’t appeared live since the late 70s! Honestly, I don’t even know how to describe her, I just want you all to hit her music and listen to it, no matter if you want something upbeat or a ballad, you will find great songs from her. She was praised by names like Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Liza Minelli and Luciano Pavarotti. She can have a fantastic upbeat song that will make you shake your bootie, but also a slow and calm ballad but at the end she will just belt out a note or two and give you goosebumps that will chill you down to the bones. She has sold over 150 MILLIONS of albums and she is by far the best selling italian female singer. She performed over 1500 songs, sold them all around the world, toured South America and Japan, she recorded songs with names like Ennio Morricone, but also (to my surprise) with names like Miguel Bosé and Seal. The english cover of her song Grande, Grande, Grande was recorded by Celine Dion with Pavarotti, Dalida and Alain Delon recorded a french version for Parole, Parole, Elvis Costello sampled one of her songs, Roisin Murphy covered two of her songs on her italian EP Mi Senti. Her songs and voice are just amazing, and once you listen to them you will probably have them stuck in your head but you won’t even be mad (seriously, I had Città vuota stuck in my head since I started working on this post).
Le Mille Bolle Blu
Il Cielo In Una Stanza
And this is it! I hope you enjoyed it, I hope you will give a listen to the names presented here and I will see you in the next post (which I already know what it will be about and boy am I already scratching my head how to introduce some of the names...)
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5