Agit Disco 21 by Luca Paci
Italiano by Luca Paci (image by Mario Giovanniello)
The majority of these songs are from my university years in Pavia and the Social Centre movement. All songs of resistance, in a broad sense, to the right but also to the values of Western society.
1. Il partigiano John – Africa Unite (1995) from ‘Materiale Resistente’
The title of the album refers both to resistance to materiality and also the Italian Resistance of WW2. The song is John the Partisan or Freedom Fighter. It is also the title of a novel by Beppe Fenoglio. Evokes the new resistance against Berlusconi and the new right which started in the early Nineties.
2. Germi – Afterhours (1995) from ‘Germi’
A more recent song of protest. About the ‘infection’ of the righteous thought of the West. – The just wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s a strong indictment of the attitude of Western establishment culture. The music reflects this rage in a punk style. (punk tended to take off in Italy in the Eighties with groups like the CCCP)
3. Male Di Miele – Afterhours (1997) from ‘Hai Paura Del Buio’
This is about the contrasting morality of the people who think freely and those who follow a ‘herd instinct’. Conforming to authority. The song title can be translated literally as ‘honey ache’. One line goes “its not sweet to be unique”.
“You will have an infinite possibility of conformism and an infinite possibility of rebellion” Pasolini
4. Carizzi r’amuri – Agricantus (1996) from ‘Tuareg’
Sung in Sicilian. Agricantus are an ‘ethnic’ group interested in different sounds from around the world but go back to their Sicilian roots. Sicily was inhabited by Greeks, Romans, Normans, Arabs ….. All these layers of civilisations can be seen in the landscape of Sicily and A try to reflect this in their music.
5. Elettrochoc (Blu Vertigo) – Antonella Ruggiero (1997) from ‘Registrazioni Moderne’
Its about the desire for travelling, seeing different things, changing your perception. A kind of light hearted upbeat song. Not of escapism – more about exploring different roles, in gender, age, . Antonella is a quite charismatic singer I could compare to Annie Lennox.
6. Una Storia Italiana – Banda Bassotti (2002) from ‘L’altra Faccia dell’Impero’
Banda Bassotti is a band of famous Disney characters – of burglars.
This is a ska song that is about the other face of The Empire. One the one hand our Western society shows tolerance and on the other repression. The difference between what is preached and what actually goes on is huge.
Its about the two faced attitude of any government!
7. Arriva Lo Ye-Ye’ – Baustelle (2003) from ‘La Moda Del Lento’
I like this song because it mocks the Italian concern with being dressed well, acting well, all about appearance. Everything is fine, let’s have fun with no second thought. The song is surreal with image of superficiality of mini skirts, and she loves you Yeah Yeah music. The seduction of a very shallow society.
8. L’Eretico – Bluvertigo (1995) from ‘Acidi E Basi’
The Heretic… Italy is a Catholic country and its ethics are connected to the Catholic credo. This is about someone who doesn’t believe in god.
Solo perchè non mi professo detentore di chissà quale verità
Ma non per questo sono vuoto o privo di morale
Ho principi molto saldi, non prego per dolore
Only because I don’t teach whatever truth
That doesn’t mean I am shallow or without morals
I’m a man of principles, I don’t pray out of grief.
9. Creuza de mä – Fabrizio De André (1984) from ‘Creuza de ma’
Genoese or more precisely Ligurian for a little cobbled street which leads down to the sea. This song was written and performed by arguably Italy’s most important songwriter Fabrizio De André who died in 1998. De André was an anarchist interested in folklore and the lives of the poor. Performed with traditional Genoese instruments, in the background are the voices of real fishermen at the market. I love it because it depicts a part of Italy that has almost gone – not in a patronising way but with poetry.
10. La Cura – Franco Battiato (1996)
Franco Battiato is a songwriter and composer with a strong experimental streak. He uses a lot of electronic music. La Cura is ‘care’ its about a lover who tells the loved one that he will protect her from everything, even old age! She will be preserved as beautiful and lovely as she is now.
Its part of my personal story – I loved Battiato. Even if his songs are not political in a way they are, caring for others, taking responsibility. Love is a changing agent.
11. Pop Porno – Il Genio (2008)
A cheeky song about playing with a stereotype – a man staying up till late watching porn.
12. Il Solitario – Marlene Kuntz (2005) from ‘Bianco Sporco’
Solitario is a song about disengagement – Solitario means the lonely one. He stands apart and doesn’t intervene, he doesn’t contribute actively to the social life. He’s critical but never constructive.
This has been the typical attitude of the left wing in Italy. It’s because of the left wing coalition that B came to power. They talk a lot but when it comes to intervening with something actively different they don’t, because the don’t have the courage.
13. I Soldi Sono Finiti – Ministri (2006) from ‘I Soldi Sono Finiti’
The title translates ‘money has run out’ and it’s about the moral bankruptcy of Italy.
Its not about the economic situation but more about the way we spend money and we use it and how it effects us in moral and ethical terms.
14. Bella ciao – Modena City Ramblers (1995) from ‘Materiale Resistente’
A famous partisan song from WW2 and this is an adaptation of it. Modena is a small town near Bologna that has an exciting music scene as well as one of the most famous of Italian churches. The band is influenced by traditional Irish music and uses this sound to make the song contemporary. Now we need another kind of resistance to the right that is cultural as well as political.
15. Siamo i ribelli della montagna / Ustmamò – Ustmamo (1995) from ‘Materiale Resistente’
Another partisan song this time interpreted by Ustmamò. It’s revisiting the narrative of the Resistance – on the one hand as liberators and on the other as the criminals.
Italy went through a civil war during the War. Some supported Mussolini and others supported the partisans. This divide is still present in contemporary Italian society.
16. Nella stanza – 24 Grana (2003) from Underpop
This is a 48 second instrumental interlude.
17. Curre curre guagliò – 99 Posse (1991) from Curre curre guagliò
The title is Neapolitan and means ‘run boy run’. The 99 Posse are a group formed in the notorious social centre Officina99 in Naples. They talk about unemployment, organised crime and corruption. It is one of the first Italian rap groups from the early Nineties to become famous. Naples has always been a very exciting and edgy city in the way the Glasgow is. It is also very multi-cultural but it’s a very different kind of multi-culturalism to say London. It reminds me of places like Santiago or Havana. Chaotic but incredibly vibrant.
Luca Paci 2010