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Canto di Malavita
     

Il Canto di Malavita

5.0 1
by La Musica Della Mafia
 
Greeted with the kind of hue and cry formerly reserved for the latest gangsta gratuitousness from Eminem or the No Limit posse, this collection of Italian folk music arrives on American shores with a dark glamour burned into its grooves. La Musica della Mafia, songs of the Calabrian underworld delivered with echoing earnestness by some of the region's favorite

Overview

Greeted with the kind of hue and cry formerly reserved for the latest gangsta gratuitousness from Eminem or the No Limit posse, this collection of Italian folk music arrives on American shores with a dark glamour burned into its grooves. La Musica della Mafia, songs of the Calabrian underworld delivered with echoing earnestness by some of the region's favorite outlaw bards, has been assailed by some as yet another Sopranos-style cash-in on the most unsavory side of Italian culture. Granted, were it not for the blood, guts, and oaths of loyalty, this acoustic music crooned in Calabrian dialect would have limited appeal. But as the perennial fascination with all things Mafia proves, these cruel tales, tempered by an overarching sense of loyalty and honor, compel -- even if the music, accordion-and-guitar-driven ballads and tambourine-fueled tarantellas, is the stuff of a Nonesuch field recording. The lavish CD booklet spices things up, with extensive translations and gritty photographs of guns, tattoos, and desperate urban squalor. Here we sample the lyrical jewels of these tragic singers, many of whom took their lives in their hands in celebrating Calabria's Cosa Nostra, the 'Ndrangheta. "You are not a man, you are nothing/ A carcass bloated by shame," declaims Salvatore Macheda on "I Cufirenti (The Traitors)." "My knife knows its art so well/ First, traitor, I'll slash your face and watch you die," boasts Fred Scotti on "Tarantella Guappa" (Scotti's own affiliation with the 'Ndrangheta ended with a bullet after he fell for a Mafioso's girl). There's no denying the power of such vicious sentiments, which after all fueled interest in Leadbelly and, later, R. L. Burnside -- not to mention a whole genre of Mexican music, the narco-corrido. That La Musica della Mafia minces fewer words in its morbid fascination with the songs of the 'Ndrangheta is no reflection on the music itself. As our own bluesmen and gangsta rappers prove, there is always insight -- and warning -- to be gleaned from the words of a bad man.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - MacKenzie Wilson
The music of La Musica Della Mafia: Il Canto di Malavita captures a conflicting era, while also a time of romance. This 24-song collection reflects upon the life of the "'Ndrangheta," or Calabrian Mafia, and its history of violence and the consequences thereof in southern Italy. This particular mob group was not initially known for its brutal ways; the Calabrian Mafia were protectors of their country and vigorously fought against a corrupt government. Calabrian native and journalist Francesco Sbano and folk musician Mimmo Siclari composed a striking look at a highly criticized culture and put words to music for an emotional, beautiful retrospective. La Musica Della Mafia: Il Canto di Malavita, which was banned in Italy after its European release in spring 2000, highlights Mediterranean folk melodies lush with accordions, mandolins, and tambourines. Classic Neapolitan ballads are prominent, but tinges of Hispanic music make the album more familiar. What makes this an interesting album is the inclusion of the late singer Francesco "Ciccio" Scarpelli. Scarpelli, who recorded under the moniker Fred Scotti, was the only Mafia member to perform in public, and these songs are a haunting reminder of his talent. Tragically, Scarpelli was shot dead in 1971 after falling in love with a woman of another well-known mob. Scotti's own "Tarantella Guappa" bellows a playful roar while "Canto di Carcerato" showcases an undying cry in his voice. The pain is pure and obvious on La Musica Della Mafia: Il Canto di Malavita, suitable for those who'd like to forget and for others who'd like to discover the charm of a dark period of time.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/27/2002
Label:
Play It Again Sam
UPC:
0805551010825
catalogNumber:
10108

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Il Canto di Malavita 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is one of the most significant CD's to be made available in the USA in years. Any one who is familiar with the music of Calabria's Otello Profazio and other Stornelli singers should LOVE this CD. The cultural value and significance of the CD to Calabrese Americans like myself can not be measured. Even renowned Calabrese musicologist Goffredo Plastino referenced its'importance. This is the same man who wrote the liner notes for Alan Lomax's Great CD of Calabrese folk music. BUY THIS CD!!