Italian popular music  

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European popular music, Giorgio Moroder, Italo Disco, Mina, Adriano Celentano, Pino D'Angiò

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The expression Italian popular music refers to the musical output which is not usually considered academic or Classical music but rather have its roots in the popular traditions, and it may be defined in two ways: it can either be defined in terms of the current geographical location of the Italian Republic with the exceptions of the Germanic South Tyrol and the eastern portion of Friuli Venezia Giulia; alternatively it can be defined as the music produced by all those people who consider themselves as Italians and openly or implicitly refer to this belief. Both these two definitions are very loose: due to the complex political history of the Italian Peninsula and the different independent political states, cultural and linguistic traditions which sprang within them, it is rather difficult to define what may be considered to be truly Italian. Since before the formation of a unified educational system and the spread of information through the radio and the press during the twenties, all the different cultural and linguistic groups within the country were independent from one another, and a unified Italian Country was still only a political or ideological concept far from the daily life.


Rock and pop

Italian Popular Music has produced pop stars, including : Anthony Tortorich, Paola & Chiara, Lucio Dalla, Renato Zero, Adriano Celentano, Gianni Morandi, Fabio Concato, Pupo, Mina, Eros Ramazzotti, Albano Carrisi, Umberto Tozzi, Andrea Bocelli, Ornella Vanoni, Vasco Rossi, Luca Carboni, Francesco De Gregori, Fabrizio De André, Francesco Guccini, Giorgio Gaber, Gianni Togni, Laura Pausini, Claudio Baglioni, Angelo Branduardi, Michele Zarrillo, and Toto Cutugno. Modern pop music tends to be sentimental ballads with a crooning vocal style, though it used to be unique in its blend of Mediterranean folk rhythms with pop forms. These folkier pop artists included Lucio Battisti, Vasco Rossi and Pino Daniele.

During the 1960s and 70s, Italian popular music changed by incorporating Latin and Anglo musical traditions, especially Brazilian bossa nova and American and British rock and roll. The same period saw diversification in the cinema of Italy, and Cinecittà films included complex scores by composers like Franco de Gemini, Francesco de Masi and Riz Ortolani. This popular film music remained popular in the 70s, and then underwent a revival in the 1990s.

Italy was one of the leading nations of the progressive rock movement of the 70's - the others being Germany and the United Kingdom - and its progressive scene was quite big, united and lively. The main Italian style of progressive rock was symphonic rock mixed with Italian folk music influences (Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Le Orme, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Il Balletto di Bronzo, just to mention a few), but there were also some very innovative avant-garde rock bands around (Area, Picchio dal Pozzo). Progressive rock concerts were usually political events with an energetic atmosphere. Area had mainly extremely left-winged political lyrics.

Beginning in the 1980s, pop grew more heterogeneous and more in line with international sounds.

Cinecittà soundtrack music and bossa nova were major influences on Nicola Conte (Bossa Per Due), an influential downtempo performer of the later 20th century. In 1995, Neri per Caso brought a new style of popular a cappella music to mainstream audiences after winning in the Sanremo Festival with their hit song "Le Ragazze".

Zucchero is a leading Italian rock musician, and has played with domestic stars like the late Luciano Pavarotti and international performers like Sting and Queen, while pop-folk singer Vasco Rossi has also experimented with rock and his 1999 hit "Rewind" was a popular rock song. Jovanotti is a widely popular singer mixing elements of dance with Italian popular music and rap. Other prominent rock bands include Litfiba.


Italo Disco

Hip hop

Main article: Italian hip hop

The Italian hip hop scene began in the early 1990s with Articolo 31 from Milan. Their style was mainly influenced by East Coast rap. Other early rap groups are typically politically-oriented crews like 99 Posse (who later became influenced by British trip hop). More recent crews include gangster rappers like Sardinia's La Fossa.


There are many bands in Italy that play patchanka style music. This is characterized by a mixture of traditional music, punk, reggae, rock and political lyrics. Modena City Ramblers are one of the more popular bands; they mix Irish, Italian, punk, reggae and many other forms of music. Other bands that are worth checking out are Trenincorsa, Casa Del Vento, Mau Mau, Banda Bassotti, Africa Unite, La Famiglia Rossi, Yo Yo Mundi, Pseudofonia, Folkabbestia, I Ratti Della Sabina, Fratelli di Soledad, Tupamaros, Radici Cemento and Aprés La Classe.


The most important jazz scenes are in Rome and Milan, however many Italian jazz musicians are resident in Paris.

Relevant jazz players are: saxophonists Stefano Di Battista, Rosario Giuliani and Maurizio Giammarco, pianist Danilo Rea and Stefano Bollani, trumpet players Paolo Fresu and Enrico Rava. Sicily has also a good jazz scene, based out of Palermo and including Enzo Rao, who have added native Sicilian and Arab influences to American jazz. The saxophonist child prodigy Francesco Cafiso is also from Sicily. and Italy

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