“And the stars were shining.
And the earth was scented.
The gate of the garden creaked.
And a footstep grazed the sand…
Fragrant, she entered
And fell into my arms.”
I asked myself how I can write about one of the planet’s most influential countries in music. A romantic quote from the most famous aria, Tosca by Puccini, was the not-so-obvious answer that best represents the spirit of these people. Italy, southern Europe, the cradle of the Roman Empire, today is synonymous with warm people, excellent culinary skills, top world fashion events, great design and architecture, numerous sights and national parks, as well as, let me say this as a non-Italian, the world’s greatest artists and quality music (especially opera). Italy is also known for its wine, lifestyle, cinema, theater, literature, poetry, and, in general, good taste. From ancient times, through the Renaissance until today, Italy has been and remains a role model in everything related to art and culture.
It’s not just opera
That Italy is the birthplace of opera, we all had the opportunity to learn it at a school desk. And we more or less know all those great Italian composers who changed the music scene for centuries, but who have also managed to touch many hearts and minds during the first concerts we’d ever seen. In honor of this traditional passion for opera and its ability to unite people around the globe, every year, Italy’s best opera houses offer seasons rich in excellence performances.
However, when it comes to more modern Italian music, the majority of us at first think about the popular canzone and evergreen ‘easy notes’ singers such as Adriano Celentano, Toto Cutugno or Zucchero. Their music did not go down from the top of the charts for decades, their spots are often broadcasted on TVs all over the world, and millions of their albums are still being placed into circulation and sold.
However, what about those who love romance languages and mediterranean music? And the millions of songs which do not have enough recommendations for the launch of an album? What about musicians who are consantly looking for something more than the usual melodic refrain? Here is where thousands of contemporary Italian musicians who unjustifiably are not as famous as Eros Ramazzotti come into play.
New talents are revealed
We can not hear them on the most famous American radio stations and, despite being extremely talented, they are not very well known outside their country. So, you’ll thank me for introducing you a new generation of Italian artists. Although here we can only briefly look at the impressive variety of Italian music, starting from the followig hints, you’ll be able to discover more local artists who are usually topping the national charts, but also the less famous ones.
Francesca Michielin, Lorenzo Fragola, Valerio Scanu, Carl Brave or Ghali, all very different between themselves, may not be classic names like Laura Pausini or Tiziano Ferro. However, they (and plenty of others) had a great impact on the local art scene and contributed to the evolution of Italian music. I’ll talk about the first two, my favourite ones.
Francesca stepped into the limelight after winning the fifth series of the talent show X Factor Italy. Her first song, ‘Distratto’, climbed up the Italian FIMI Top Digital Downloads chart and was certified double platinum by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry, in addition to having taken part to the 2016 Eurovision.
Her song ‘Nessun grado di separazione’ was second runner-up in the 66th Sanremo Music Festival. What we can safely say is that both her songs ‘Fotografia’ and ‘Tropicale’ will be heard on many Italian beaches this summer.
Lorenzo became famous for winning the 8th X Factor in 2014. His X Factor winner single, ‘The Reason Why’, debuted as number one on the Italian Singles Chart. His poem ‘Siamo Uguali’ is an embodiment of what we call the Italian romantic melody.
… Something about poetry
Although not the most recent musical expression, if we want to talk about real artists, then we should never forget the name of Cesare Cremonini. “Even then, when we will be tired, we’ll find out a way to sail in the dark…”, my favourite translated verse says. Is it not enough? Then you should definitely listen to his sophisticated performance of the song ‘Poetica’.
Find someplace with a view of the Moon, a glass of Italian wine and this song will surely encourage the romantic thoughts you believed were gone forever.