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Cantanti Italiani Contemporanei – Jovanotti Posted by on Jan 11, 2010 in Culture

In this series dealing with cantanti Italiani contemporanei (contemperory Italian singers) I hope to give you an insight into some of the great Italian singers/musicians that are on the scene today. First of all, let me say that I don’t really like the kind of simplistic pop music that drones on all day on local radio stations and is secondo me (in my opinion) the musical equivalent of nursery rhymes for grown ups, the type of music that always has lyrics in which ‘amore’ fa rima con ‘cuore’ (love rhymes with heart – which of course it doesn’t in English!). There is also a vast amount of music here in Italy that, although being of good quality, is indistinguishable from British and American contemporary music except that the words are Italian. I prefer my music to have a bit more depth, and the lyrics to actually say something worth saying. I have decided to choose for this series Italian singers/musicians who are, I feel, distinctly Italian. That is to say that even though the musical style of some of these artists doesn’t appear to be the stereotypical Italian folk or operatic music which foreigners are used to hearing it still remains essentially Italian in its delivery and in what it has to say.

Today’s cantautore (singer songwriter) is Jovanotti

A Brief Biography:

Jovanotti, whose real name is Lorenzo Cherubini was born in Rome on the 26th September 1966. His family were originally from Cortona in the province of Toscana, and Lorenzo returned there regularly as a child, eventually making it his home. In September 2008 he married his long term partner Francesca Valiani in the church of Santa Maria Nuova in Cortona. His daughter Teresa was born in 1998 and his song ‘Per Te’ (For You) is dedicated to her.

Cherubini began his career in 1982 as a disk jockey. He released his debut single ‘Walking’ in 1987 under the stage name of Jovanotti. The name came about as the result of a typographical error, he had originally chosen the stage name Joe Vanotti, but the printer who was commissioned to produce a promotional poster mistakenly spelled the name ‘Jovanotti’, and Lorenzo, liking the sound of it, decided to adopt that name instead.

Stylistically Jovanotti’s early music was based on disco, rap, and hip-hop, but as his career developed and his music matured he began to absorb and incorporate elements of world music, jazz, classical, and funk. At the same time his lyrics began to deal with more profound issues, touching on philosophy, religion, racism, and politics. His songwriting, as is the case for all great musicians, is a reflection of his personal commitments and beliefs, and it is not surprising therefore to find that he has become increasingly involved in organizations such as Make Poverty History, Amnesty International, and Global Call to Action Against Poverty. Here is an excerpt from his song Gente Della Notte:

“di notte le parole scorrono più lente
però è molto più facile parlare con la gente,
conoscere le storie, ognuna originale,
sapere che nel mondo nessuno è normale.
Ognuno avrà qualcosa che ti potrà insegnare,
gente molto diversa di ogni colore.”

Translation: Night People

“at night words flow more slowly
but it’s much easier to talk with people,
learn their stories, each one original,
know that in this world no one is normal.
Everyone has something that they can teach you,
very different people of every color.”

We have several of Jovanotti’s albums, but our favorite one is ‘Lorenzo 97 – L’albero’. Here are the lyrics from one of the tracks on that album called Canzone Piccola

”Ho voglia di una canzone piccola che parli di cose piccole
che diventano invisibili, schiacciate dagli eventi, dai grandi avvenimenti,
una canzone piccola che parli di caffettiere, di cartoline, di pasta e ceci,
di sveglie che non suonano o suonan troppo forte,
di un ritornello che ti resta in testa, di uno spiffero dalla finestra,
delle tue labbra, della tua maglietta, una canzone lenta come una bicicletta,
una canzone piccola fatta di due strumenti al massimo due accordi,
senza tanti accorgimenti, lontana dall’Europa, dal mondo e dalle stelle,
ma molto molto molto molto molto vicina alla mia pelle,
piccola come l’aria che mi entra nei polmoni, una canzone piccola
con piccole emozioni, fatta di una matita, un poco di caffè,
le scale mie di casa, un piccolo perché, i tuoi vestiti allegri
a fiori di campagna, senza pretese come una farfalla
che è bella perché è bella e non c’è discussione,
una canzone piccola come la mia opinione,
come un panino caldo, come una passeggiata
talmente piccolina che adesso è già finita,
come una chiacchierata col solito vecchio amico
che sa che cosa penso anche se non lo dico,
una canzone piccola che parli delle cose in questa stanza,
un movimento semplice, una leggera danza,
una canzone piccola che ci si può fidare
una canzone piccola che non ha niente da dimostrare”

Translation: Little Song

“I need a little song that talks about little things
that become invisible, squashed by events, by the big circumstances,
a little song that speaks of coffee pots, postcards, of pasta and chick peas,
of alarm clocks that don’t go off or make too much noise,
of a refrain that stays in your head, of a draft from the window,
of your lips, of your blouse, a song as slow as a bicycle,
a little song composed of two instruments maximum two chords,
without being too clever, far from Europe, from the world and the stars,
but very very very very very close to my skin,
small as the air that enters my lungs, a little song
with little emotions, made with a pencil, a bit of coffee,
the stairs of my house, a little why, your cheerful clothes
with a wildflower pattern, without pretense, like a butterfly
which is beautiful because it’s beautiful and there’s no discussion,
a little song like my opinion,
like a warm bread roll, like a walk
that is so short that it’s already finished,
like a chat with the usual old friend
who knows what I’m saying even if I don’t say it,
a little song that talks about the things in this room,
a simple movement, a light dance,
a little song that you can trust
a little songs that has nothing to prove”

You can find Jovanotti’s official website here: http://www.soleluna.com/index.php 

 

 A Presto

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Comments:

  1. Vince Mooney:

    Salve Serena:

    I have been a big fan of Adriano Celentano since the early 1960’s. I have followed his career ever since. I learned about other Italian singers when they sang with Celentano.

    Here are my favorite Italian singers. I wonder how many will be on your list.

    1. Adriano Celentano
    2. Zucchero
    3. Eros Ramazzotti
    4. Jovanotti
    5. Claudia Mori : )

    Something I found really fantastic is ‘Prisencolinensinainciusol (live francamente sung with Jovanotti.) See it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufXlasxYh2E

    Vince

  2. Nathan:

    Grazie mille for this post! I really enjoy Jovanotti’s music and have found listening to music in a language a great way to learn! I can’t wait to see what other artists will be forthcoming.

  3. Bill Rohwer:

    Che bellissimo, Serena! Una scelta meravigliosa. Grazie.

    –Bill

  4. andreas:

    Salve Serena!
    Mi sono piaciuti molto gli etrambi testi.
    A me piace Alessandro Safina, sebbene canti un po’ in maniera pop, ma forse ecco per ciò posso capire tutto, le melodie sono belle. E la cosa che mi piace di più è la sua pronuncia.

  5. William Auge:

    Salve Serena,
    Le parole di Jovanotti sono pieno di anima.(soulful?) Le parole sono di un uomo che pensa e sente profondamente. Cerchero’ per la sua musica.
    Quando ho letto il suo nome palco, me ha fatto pensare delle molte artiste italiani, specialmente durante il rinascimento, che sono stati conosciuto dei nomi diversi dai loro nomi nascita. Per esempio, Pinturicchio,Tintoretto, Palladio, Caravaggio…. Io sempre ho trovato questa essere interessante.

    Auguri da William

  6. Serena:

    Salve William, Sono contenta che ti piacciono le parole di Jovanotti. Quello che dici è vero, sono parole molto profonde ma allo stesso tempo scritte in modo semplice. In effetti, è proprio per questo motivo che ho scelto queste parole per il blog. Caso mai, in Italiano ‘stage name’ si dice ‘nome d’arte’. Per quanto riguarda i nomi degli artisti del passato che usavano i toponimi, a quei tempi i cognomi (surnames) non erano molto comuni, perciò si tendeva a usare o il nome del padre, o il mestiere, o il nome da dove venivano originariamente, ad esempio: Leonardo da Vinci (Leonardo from the village of Vinci).

    Saluti da Serena

  7. Jeannet Mulder:

    Salve Serena,
    what about this notification?

  8. Serena:

    Salve Jeannet, Sorry, I don’t understand your question. What notification?

    Serena

  9. Dee:

    Salve, Serena,

    I am very happy I have found your site. I have already learned a lot.

    My only experience (so far) with Jovanotti is his composition of “Domani” with so many of the Italian greats. I do plan on listening to more of his music, though.

    My favorites are (in no particular order):
    1) Zucchero
    2) Nomadi (loved Augosto, but ah…Danielo!)
    3) Lucio Dalla
    4) Laura Pausini
    5) Andrea Bocelli

    Dee


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