Jovanotti’s new album came out yesterday, due (2) days after I met and chatted with an amiable Italian couple touring the streets of Provincetown, MA. While shopping along the colorful street district, I overheard a snatch of Italian from a young couple (the cadence and pronunciation of spoken Italian is unmistakable. Plus the couple was discussing pleats with gusto–Italians are not known to be overly soft spoken). I whipped around and approached the couple rhetorically asking: “Parlate l’italiano?” To my immense pleasure, they did speak Italian and had no problem with overzealous American girls interrupting their window-shopping to speak-a da lahn-guage.
We chatted (chiacchieriamo) for dieci minuti about their home town (“Vai a Roma! Non Milano dov’e sono nata. Roma e meglio.”Go to Rome! Not Milan, where i was born. Rome is better.”). The woman told me she will study economics for cinque (5) more years than I will be dabbling in information science. Finally, the couple insisted I go to Rome (“Vai!”) My English-speaking family was perplexed, but friendly Matteo explained in inglese the gist of our conversation to my grinning but silent madre e papa. My parents still had no idea what the diavolo was going on (Madre Marilyn’s sophisticated knowledge of the Italian language includes:”I’m an Optimist!” Sono un ottomista! and Papa Gary knows some of Doctor Suess’s “There’s a Wocket in my Pocket” “C’e un Mostrino nel Taschino” from the many times I read out loud on long car trips).
If only I had known that Jovanotti’s album was coming out the next day! The couple and I could have bonded over talk of the boyish singer’s brilliant and catchy tunes, his friendship with Bono, and the star’s upcoming tour. He is an artist that is bridging language and cultural diversity in places that are resistant to difference (*ahem* Get the same sports schedule as the rest of the world U-S-of-A! *ahem* Call football “football” like the rest of the Western world. Ok, well Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Japan,say “soccer” but I digress). Jovanotti’s rap and melodic pieces showcase la lingua Italiana.
One of the most beautiful things about the Italian language is its versatility. It can go through the meat grinder of various mediums, cultures, genres, dialects, immigration botchings, and maintain its dignity. I cannot go through a revolving door with grace, poise, or flowy skirts. Spell check must become dynamic with the fluidity dialectic language that changes every generation. Jovanotti is one example of how manipulating the language makes it more beautiful with its manipulation.The Italian language pleads for new mouths to mold it; for it to be be danced with, sang, spoken. Dante’s language bemusedly invites new tongues to trip over unfamiliar syllables. Syllables that roughly rub shoulders like old rugby buddies, where the abrasion of words is a pleasure because each scratchy burlap consonant wedged by a nutella-smooth vowel communicates the strength, salt, and history of a fortissimo culture, are a joy to learn. I got acquainted with Italian through Jovanotti’s Fango, a poetic Italian ballad whose name means Mud; the first lines:
io lo so che non sono solo
anche quando sono solo/
io lo so che non sono solo.
e mi fondo con il cielo e con il fango.
I know that I’m not alone even when I’m alone. I laugh, I cry; I fuse with the mud and with the sky.
Critics say his new album is an introduction for Americans (and English-Speakers in general) who have not heard his dulcet decibels…(yet). The idea is to provide a “classic” overview of Jovanotti’s music to the American crowd.
Get ready for some excellent concerts! Here are the tracks I am most excited for from the album released yesterday (in no particular order–how un-librarian-like of me. In my defense, Dewey was rather arbitrary. The alphabet is rather arbitrary also. Just go with the miscellaneous flow of the album songs before I wax overly orderly):
1) Mezzogiorno (the acoustic version!) This song is mostly in Italian: there is that one chuckle worthy moment in the chorus when he sing-yells “Beyy Beh!!!” Accidenti Americani, infiltrating the Italian language with pop words such as Baby. Thanks Backstreet Boys (i ragazzi di backstreet, if you will).
2) Con la luce negli occhi (never heard!)
3) Sulla Frontiera (remix)
4) New York for Life (in english “baby!”)
5) Mi Fido di Te
7) La porta e aperta (acoustic)
8) Salvame (Spanish edition)
9) Piove (what a groovy catchy song! Listen for the thunder)
10) il piu grande spettacolo dopo il Big Bang
11) Scappa con me (remix)
12) Una storia d’amore (<3)
13) La linea d’ombra
and I would recommend watching “La Notte Dei Desideri.” He will wear a matador’s outfit and a lampshade and kiss his lovely wife at il fine.
May you meet Italian and love it. Remember to meet it with slow enjoyment and say “Piacere!” (Pleased to meetcha) to use your manners.
I will be going to the Philly concert, fingers crossed and Syracuse iSchool plans permitting. I should not worry, though, because I suspect my iSchool plans will dovetail beautifully with any of my bi-tri-quint-lingual endeavors.
I leave you with the InformationSpace blog from Syracuse University masters students studying in Florence (Firenze) http://infospace.ischool.syr.edu/2012/08/03/suischoolfirenze/…)
and my favorite piatta italiana: tiramisu 🙂