Friday Five: Italian Singers/Musicians Worth a Listen

30 Nov

Before I get started, don’t forget to go visit today’s Dolce Italiano post at The Left Over Queen. And, for those of you in the States who’d like to see the author of Dolce Italiano, Gina DePalma, baking up a storm on national TV, check out The Martha Stewart Show on Monday for “Italian Female Chef Day.” Click here for a sneak preview (click on the Dec. 3 tab).

Now onto today’s Friday Five…music. I haven’t written about any Italian singers or musicians in a while. Here are a few that I really like. Not necessarily what’s “hot” right now, but the ones I can always go back to. If you’re reading in a feed reader, please click through because each artist has a video clip from You Tube.

1) Giovanni Allevi

I just discovered Allevi when I was watching MTV Italia recently (in between guilty pleasures like “Pimp My Ride” and the sickly satisfying trainwreck of a show “My Sweet Sixteen”). I’m no expert on piano soloists, but he kind of reminds me of George Winston. You can buy his album “No Concept” as an import on Amazon. He released a new one last summer but it seems to not yet be available in the States.

Check out this video of him playing “Come Sei Veramente,” one of the songs on the above album. Just gorgeous. Even BMW grabbed it for an ad here in Italy (directed by none other than Spike Lee), which is what he jokes about a bit before he starts playing, saying that now he knows when he plays this song everyone is going to go out and buy a BMW.

2. Carmen Consoli

I adore her, hands down my favorite Italian female singer. Kind of reminds me of an Italian version of Sara McLachlan, but with a voice that’s a bit rougher around the edges and less polished.

3. Mina

She’s a classic. I fell in love with her “Parole, Parole” when I saw “Io Non Ho Paura” (I’m Not Scared) and in a certain scene it was playing on a tiny radio with a guy singing along. Here’s a unique interpretation by Adriano Celentano, another Italian singer/songwriter of mythical proportions, with Mina from 1972.

4. Renato Zero

Yes, he’s over the top theatrical. Yes, he’s a drama queen. Yes, he’s not exactly the most hip and modern of the latest singer/songwriters (I think he might have had his heyday in the early to mid 80s). But these are all reasons why I love him, and he is still going strong. I like his voice and his ability to command a stage. I went to one of his concerts here in Rome a couple years ago, and let me tell you, it was held in the soccer stadium and was packed full (the stadium can hold about 70,000 people just to give you an idea). There were people of all ages, even entire families that went together, and everyone was singing along. And the guy just really knows how to put on a good show; it was very over the top with elaborate costume changes and sets. The video below is also from a live show, a great song and a performance that is fairly tame in terms of his usual dramatic antics.

5. Lucio Battisti

A great storyteller, songs full of emotion and rich with detail. I have this 2-disc set that I bought here in Italy of his hits from the 70s…if you can find it somewhere as an import, I recommend it.


10 Responses to “Friday Five: Italian Singers/Musicians Worth a Listen”

  1. Isabelle November 30, 2007 at 12:52 pm #

    The song “Parole parole” is very famous in France too, where one of the most famous female singers of the 70s sang, Dalila, sang it with Alain Delon. It’s now a sort of symbol of the kitsch of this era ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m laughing out loud everytime I hear Alain Delon saying “you are the wind in my hair”, it is so stupid I’m almost crying ;-)))
    Thanks for the excerpt with Celentano , he’s almost as good as Delon ! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. nyc/caribbean ragazza November 30, 2007 at 2:07 pm #

    Thank you for this list Shelley. I loved the movie “Io No Ho Paura” I wondered about that song.

    I have some shopping to do.

  3. Janavi November 30, 2007 at 9:53 pm #

    I really enjoyed the videos-is Mina still recording-she’s the only one I’d heard of before.

  4. landy November 30, 2007 at 10:01 pm #

    I liked the videos…they were good

    hey you should also check out this new Russian singer!! His voice is so strange, it is amazing


  5. Andrรฉ Wegner November 30, 2007 at 11:12 pm #

    Dear Shelley,

    I think I regard this post as my first door in my advents calendar. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m actually a big fan of Carmen Consoli. Saw here some years ago on MTV, while my trip to rome. It was the live version of Orfeo. Since them I really enjoy listening to her and visited two concerts in Germany, Berlin.

    Let me add some other italian bands/musicians, which I find worth mentioning:
    – Subsonica
    – Elisa
    – Jovanotti
    – Otto Ohm

  6. anna l'americana November 30, 2007 at 11:55 pm #

    Adding to Andre’s list:

    Claudio Baglioni; Lucio Dalla; Francesco DeGregori; Pino Daniele (one of my favourites)….
    AND, for Romans everywhere: Antonello Venditti. I found a CD at Portaportese of his Circo Massimo concert some years ago – all songs about Rome in front of a Roman audience, truly awesome. My own personal anthem is Roma Capoccia – no decent version on YouTube (that was a wasted hour!) so I’m emailing it – as a new(ish) Roman, you MUST have it. Perhaps you’ll have a similar reaction to it. I’m not that tech-adept or I would have uploaded and linked for everyone…..

  7. TNP December 1, 2007 at 2:45 am #

    I remember Mina and Lucio Battisti from 1969 and 1970. Mina had a huge hit – Insieme – back then. Another biggy was Romina Power, Tyrone’s daughter. Is she still singing?

  8. Delina December 1, 2007 at 12:12 pm #

    I like Battisti a lot. Bit undecided about Carmen Consoli, I did like her lots at one time, but now I think she’s a bit OTT and samey.

    Parole parole parole… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Venditti is nice too.

  9. Julietgb December 2, 2007 at 5:07 pm #

    Grazie! I knew Carmen Consoli, but I never watched a video of her, and now I love the song, didn’t know it either. Made me happy.

  10. Rachele January 14, 2008 at 2:22 am #

    I love Carman Consoli and Renato Zero…..also Antonello Venditti is a fave.Also, Luciano Ligabue, negramaro and Jovanotti.A newer one is Mario Biondi. He sings in English but he is Italian and sound like Berry White singing jazz….its amazing!And i have learned not to tell very many about this secret fav but also Tiziano Ferro. Its a secret indulgence of mine:)

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