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Fabrizio De Andre's Le nuvole: Italy's disillusionment at the end of the 1980s.

Abstract

Fabrizio De Andre's Le nuvole (1990) recreates and denounces the social apathy that characterized Italy from the end of the 1980s until the early 1990s. Exemplary of De Andre's criticism towards Italy's society, Le nuvole illustrates the artist's maturity as a social commentator. In this album, De Andre explicitly takes the stance of the engaged intellectual not only in the songs of the album but also in the many interviews that accompanied its release. Together with this copious corollary commentary, this article analyses in particular side A of Le nuvole. The songs on side A are more explicitly critical in their focus on oppressive powers, the waning of engagement and riflusso, the social shift towards materialism and hedonism, and the dawn of the Berlusconi era.

Keywords

Aristophanes, Silvio Berlusconi, cantautori, Renato Curcio, Fabrizio De Andre, Le Nuvole, riflusso, Adriano Sofri

I. A hedonistic attitude

In 1990, with Le nuvole, Fabrizio De Andre returned to look at the Italian context after a period of withdrawal from Italian affairs during which he had turned his attention to the Mediterranean area with the album Creuza de ma (De Andre, 1984) which was entirely in Genoese dialect. Le nuvole can be considered a concept album of socio-political criticism that, thanks to its structure, allows room for De Andre's bourgeoning interest in dialects. Dialects, which on side B contrast with Italian on side A, become instrumental to the singer's social criticism. This article, however, focuses in particular on the songs of side A ("Le nuvole", "Ottocento", "Don Raffae'" and "La domenica delle salme"), those most markedly engaged with Italy's socio-political situation at the end of the 1980s. In the wake of Creuza de ma, Le nuvole proved a new success and in a few months sold more than 300,000 copies. A tour in theatres followed in various legs until 1993.

The title, Le nuvole, draws from Aristophanes's satire [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Nephelai), literally translated in English as The Clouds and in Italian as Le nuvole. However, unlike Aristophanes' clouds which refer to the Sophists, De Andre's refer to the powerful people who, doing as they please, hang over the common people:

le mie Nuvole sono ... da intendersi come certi personaggi ingombranti e incombenti nella nostra vita sociale, politica ed economica; sono tutti coloro che hanno terrore del nuovo perche potrebbe sovvertire le loro posizioni di potere. Nella seconda parte dell'album si muove il popolo, che quelle Nuvole subisce senza dare nessun evidente segno di protesta. (De Andre in Harari, 2001: 150)

From Aristophanes De Andre borrowed not only the title but also the satiric genre. The focus of the singer's satire is a society that underwent radical change during the 1980s. After almost two decades of social turmoil and political protests, Italy experienced the so-called riflusso: a shift from social engagement towards personal and group interests. The country that in the 1960s and 1970s was the most politicized in Europe experienced in the 1980s the deepest rejection of collective values (Crainz, 1996: 245). The institutional innovations seemingly announced by the students' and workers' movements failed to materialize, and the 1980s proved a period of political restoration (Ginsborg, 1998: 259-290). In the second half of the 1970s, the Partito Comunista Italiano's (PCI) steady loss of voters among the younger generation was symptomatic of the disenchantment with the ideology that sustained previous social battles (Crainz, 2003: 581-582, 586-587). The social revolution had failed, and with it any hope for change. Collective efforts turned into individualistic ones, which found support in a favorable economic turn (Crainz, 2003: 590-591). Exports boosted the economy (Ginsborg, 1990: 409) and some traditional Italian crafts turned into industries that produced world-renowned status symbols. The hedonistic attitude of this period thrived at the expense of socio-political participation. Many left-wing party and movement activists disavowed their past and embraced new 'go-getting' beliefs. The transformations and events of the 1980s laid the basis for what Italy has experienced and undergone in the last 30 years, from "Mani pulite" to the appearance of "Forza Italia."

Le nuvole criticizes what Italy became during the 1980s: 'Una barca che fa acqua da tutte le parti, tanto e carica di oggetti di consumo, di cianfrusaglie inutili, di status symbol idioti. Finisce che chi ci vive dentro si accorge che il naufragio e vicino, ma non si muove, non fa niente per gettare a mare l'inutile e il superfluo, perche ormai quelle paccottiglie le considera necessarie' (De Andre in Romana, 1991: 144-145). De Andre was aware that he belonged to the same society he was attacking and that for this reason his criticism might sound hypocritical or illegitimate. He explained his position on several occasions:

Il problema vero e stato concepire un album come Le nuvole, dove chi critica la societa in cui vive ne e piu che discretamente coinvolto, e sicuramente anche in parte responsabile. La contraddizione, solo apparentemente derivava dal fatto di non volerla accettare mendicando dalfinconscio pudibondi istinti di dissociazione e di autoassoluzione. Afferrato il problema, mi e stato facile sdoppiarmi e oggettivamente descrivere la vita dei porci continuando soggettivamente a fare il porco, tanto piu che nessuno potrebbe descrivere meglio il porcile di quanto possa fare il maiale; tenendo semmai presente soltanto una distinzione di carattere piu quantitativo che non qualitativo: vale a dire che io, piccolo suino, avrei descritto i sentimenti e i comportamenti di suini molto piu grandi di me. (Harari, 2001: 149)

By this time, the promotion of each of De Andre's new releases was carefully planned, with countless interviews preceding and following them. Studying the documents held at the Archivio De Andre (diaries, notes, correspondence, written preparations for interviews, faxes, etc), it becomes evident that the records from the last decade of De Andre's life, roughly commensurate with the 1990s, are far more numerous than all the previous ones put together. Clearly, part of the reason for this is that the documents, being more recent, had less chance of being lost. In addition, by then De Andre was a famous figure and more care was taken by his entourage to preserve material generated by or related to him. By the late 1980s to early 1990s--after the success of Creuza de ma and roughly coinciding with the release of Le nuvole--he had become a well-established voice in Italy's public debate. By then the construction of his "engaged artist" persona was complete and it is likely that those around him (and possibly he himself) were aware of the legacy he would leave. Moreover, the production of these documents had become greater with his increased involvement with the media, which remained hungry for his presence in whatever form and which he skilfully used in order to promote his work or to raise issues that concerned him. The growth of his popularity and perceived authority also meant that his interviews, appearances and statements on public issues increased, due both to his interest in such matters and because of demands from journalists. For instance, in Luigi Viva's biography of De Andre we are told that before the rehearsal of a concert in 1991 he declared to the media:

Sono incazzato, indignato per aver visto duecentomila metalmeccanici in piazza a raccontare i loro problemi di sopravvivenza. Erano li non per difendere un'ideologia fatta di slogan o altro, ma per palesare l'incapacita, l'impossibilita di tirare avanti, di sopravvivere: questo mi procura disagio. Mi indigna pero anche il fatto che si curi un ricco europeo con organi umani provenienti dal Terzo mondo, che si usi quella gente solo per i "pezzi di ricambio". E il fatto che le mie canzoni procurino questo tipo di emozione, di disagio, implica, secondo me, che c'e in giro tanta gente incazzata, disgustata per come vanno certe cose. Chi non prova questo disagio stia attento, perche la corda puo essere tirata sino a un certo punto.... Le canzoni entrano a far parte del patrimonio culturale di un popolo, sono parte della coscienza, se non altro a livello subliminale, dunque possono essere un buon deterrente. E questa la loro importanza. (De Andre in Viva, 2000: 211-212)

De Andre took a stance that he believed had been stifled; he wanted to denounce, which he believed was one of the artist's responsibilities (see Carbonelli, 2012, 2015):

Fino a dodici, quindici anni fa sentivi ancora circolare una voglia di protesta, oggi ... ognuno si fa i fatti suoi, nei limiti in cui il potere glielo consente. Io come gli altri ... vivo da benestante in una societa di benestanti amministrata da benestanti, soffia un vento di mostruosita che respiro e subisco come tutti ... Cosi, accanto all'indecenza di regime, facciamo circolare l'indecenza della ... rassegnata assuefazione. Questo e appunto un disco su questa doppia indecenza, che forse a molti di noi sta bene ma se mi spavento e perche mi chiedo come vivranno i miei figli e i miei nipoti, in questa realta dove il mondo si prepara a essere governato da un'unica potenza mondiale... dove la politica si e impadronita di qualsiasi espressione umana, dove ci sono i De Paperoni e i loro mandanti e padrini politici, c'e Bush che con la benedizione di Gorbaciov il lituano manda le sue navi nel Golfo Persico per difendere il petrolio che poi lui paghera con i soldi dei monopoli e noi, che abbiamo mandato le nostre bagnarole in suo appoggio, lo pagheremo quaranta dollari il bicchiere. Ci siamo noi artisti che avremmo dovuto stimolarla di piu, questa protesta, c'e la tivu che salvo rarissime occasioni fa di tutto per spegnerla, addormentandoci tutti con i suoi gas esilaranti, di regime. (De Andre in Romana, 1991: 147)

The structure of Le nuvole highlights precisely this shift in attitude. The first piece is a recitative introduced by the chirp of cicadas. The voices of two women of different ages, both with a Sardinian accent, describe the clouds, their coming-and-going, their colors and various shapes. Every element of the recitative combines to give the impression of a bucolic setting. However, the last verse reveals the metaphoric nature of the idyll and the fake nature of the "clouds" that in their coming-and-going stand between the people and the sky without appeasing the human desire for rain. The two women represent the lower classes in their relationship with powerful individuals, a relationship that is often characterized by a feeling of frustration and powerlessness.

The next three songs, "Ottocento", "Don Raffae'" and "La domenica delle salme" describe "the clouds" obscuring Italy's people. De Andre decided to write and sing side A of Le nuvole in Italian, even though regional accents and idioms are very frequent. Two main reasons influenced this choice. The first was to enable the listener's understanding of the criticism he was carrying out; the second was linked to his interpretation of the role of Italian and dialects. In fact, according to De Andre Italian is the language of power and domination; dialects, however, belong to the people. Drawing from Pasolini, De Andre considered dialects proof of authenticity: 'Pasolini diceva che il dialetto e il popolo, e il popolo e l'autenticita' (Sanna, 2009: 88). The lyrics of these songs are particularly dense and require full attention. As a result, the musical component sometimes assumes a secondary role. In "La domenica delle salme", for instance, the lyrics were written first and then left unaltered; the music was later "glued" onto them (Harari, 2007: 222).

"Ottocento" is a farce in the style of an operetta, an opera buffa from the 19th century. Cynically exalting an age of wealth and blind positivity, De Andre's feigned baritone voice mocks the superficiality and materialism of the 1980s which he deemed similar to the blind optimism of the previous century. By this time De Andre had become more and more a public figure. He had become more extroverted and self-confident. The shy, neurotic, terrified performer, who had too often been drunk and unable to move from the chair he sat in on stage, had disappeared. The new De Andre was a confident, all-round entertainer, someone unafraid to engage with the public and to make fun of himself, sometimes performing "Ottocento" wearing a tuxedo and adopting the stance of an opera singer. By using the operatic vocal style, De Andre characterizes the protagonist of the song:

e un modo di cantare falsamente colto, un fare il verso al canto lirico, suggeritomi dalla valenza enfatica di un personaggio che piu che un uomo e un aspirapolvere: aspira e succhia sentimenti, affetti, organi vitali ed oggetti di fronte ai quali dimostra un univoco atteggiamento mentale: la possibilita di vederli e comprarli. La voce semi-impostata mi e sembrata idonea a caratterizzare fimmaginario falso-romantico di un mostro incolto e arricchito. (De Andre in Susanna, 1990: 302)

In "Ottocento" a family's father praises all his possessions, his daughter and son included. Any sign of morality seems lost and everything has a value as long as this value is economic and utilitarian. According to Mauro Pagani, "Ottocento" should have been the title of the entire album because

alla fine degli anni '80 tirava un'aria decisamente ottocentesca: classi divise per censo e non piu per nobilta di nascita, religiosita apparente.... Un impero vince e gestisce la dissoluzione dell'altro. Sembrava di essere nel 1815, al crollo di Napoleone e dell' aristocrazia, con l'ascesa della classe Borghese. (Bertoncelli, 2003: 134)

"Don Raffae'" addresses a common situation in Italy where those in need of help and support often turn to criminal organizations rather than the inefficient State. The song depicts the sentiment of reverence and admiration that binds a prison guard to a Camorra boss incarcerated at Poggioreale, Naples. Many recognized in Don Raffae' the Camorra boss Raffaele Cutolo who was incarcerated in 1979, even though De Andre and Pagani always maintained that the protagonist of the song was not based on Cutolo. However, Cutolo's self-recognition in Don Raffae' produced a brief exchange of correspondence between the boss and De Andre. (1)

During a concert in Roccella Jonica on 14 August 1998, De Andre commented on "Don Raffae"' with a statement about the role of the mafia in reducing unemployment. Once again, as was happening more and more often. De Andre used a concert to engage directly with the public on social issues: "E un dato di fatto, ed e un terribile dato di fatto, che in Italia mi pare ci sia un 12,5% di disoccupati. Se non ci fossero camorra, mafia e 'ndrangheta probabilmente saremmo al 25%" (Archivio Fabrizio De Andre IV/130 (M.1-13)). Although the public welcomed this provocative statement with laughter, (2) De Andre's words started a public debate in the major national newspapers about the appropriateness of such declarations (Archivio Fabrizio De Andre IV/130 (M.1-13); A.V., 1998: 4; Biondi, 1998: 4; Corriere della Sera, 1998: 13; Dan.Am., 1998: 4; Macri, 1998: 15; Sergi, 1998: 20), to which he responded:

... era una delle mie consuete provocazioni. Volevo dire che paradossalmente la criminalita organizzata diminuisce il tasso di disoccupazione. In realta accanto alle organizzazioni criminali piu vistose metto anche quelle che io chiamo le "spa/ad" cioe Societa per Azioni a delinquere, cioe quelle dalle tante attivita apparentemente lecite dietro alle quali si muovono affari loschi e sulle quali nessuno si e mai sognato di indagare. Ecco probabilmente senza queste arriveremmo addirittura al cinquanta per cento di disoccupazione. Insomma il sommerso e l'illecito sono da una parte il nostro dramma e dall'altra attenuano in qualche modo il problema della disoccupazione. (Macri, 1998: 15)

2. Gloomy Sunday

The light and farcical tone of "Don Raffae"' is suffocated by the gloom of "La domenica delle salme", which was added to give more weight to an otherwise rather flimsy collection. The title of the song echoes the festive day of Palm Sunday (in Italian "Domenica delle Palme") but turns it into a post-catastrophic moment by replacing the word 'palme' ('palms') with the word 'salme' ('corpses'). With an interlacing of images, reminders and often unrecognizable cues, De Andre sketches the complex image of an Italy, which could be in the present or the future, that is clearly on the verge of doom. "La domenica delle salme", which De Andre wrote by drawing on short notes taken from books, newspapers, (3) television programs, or anything that struck his imagination, results in a sort of oracle. (4) Like a jigsaw, each verse is a piece of a multifaceted Italy in ruin. In two verses De Andre stresses the general change in attitude towards ideology and engagement that took place in the 1980s when carelessness and hedonism subdued any glimpse of ideological faith and the violent clashes between protesters and police that had characterized the 1970s. De Andre describes an eerie reality where some sort of laughing gas swept away any concern from the streets and no one got hurt. The funeral procession of the "dead ideal" was crammed and people sang "quant'e bella giovinezza non vogliamo piu invecchiare." De Andre also blames the general state of ideological apathy on those who are supposed to set an example of social engagement, among whom are artists. In particular, De Andre points the finger at singers (and by using the pronoun "we" he includes himself in this) who had preferred to "prostitute" their art by following the general trend of disengagement than to fulfil their duty to denounce.

As far as current socio-politics are concerned, De Andre mentions the wave of immigrants from Eastern Europe that reached its peak in the early 1990s. In doing so, he does not dwell upon the uneasiness and fear that many Italians experienced before the first case of mass immigration in contemporary Italy but, consistent with his poetic concern for minorities, on the hardship and humiliation endured by immigrants. He stresses the contrast between the situations of Italians and immigrants by describing the Polish people who survive the hardship of their condition by kneeling at traffic lights to wash cars going to the seaside.

De Andre briefly hints at political changes by referring to the recrudescence of Nazi movements in Europe. He explicitly points the finger at this phenomenon by keeping a low register and comparing Nazism to a monkey whose "ass" is naked and visible to everyone. And in order to represent the geopolitical shifts taking place at the end of the 1980s, he uses the image of capitalistic-consumerist monuments built at the expense of communism, whose bulwarks in Eastern Europe were crumbling figuratively and materially:
   la piramide di Cheope (5)
   volle essere ricostruita in quel giorno di festa
   masso per masso
   schiavo per schiavo
   comunista per comunista
   ("La domenica delle salme")


Given that Le nuvole was released in September 1990, it is possible to suppose that with these verses De Andre referred to the fall of the Berlin Wall, on the rubble of which a new ideal monument and idol to the consumerist religion of the Western world was built.

The song also directly mentions some specific current affairs, such as the imprisonment of the terrorist Renato Curcio who in the song has his leg amputated in prison. In reality Renato Curcio never had his leg amputated but this divergence from reality allows De Andre to compare Curcio's experience to that of the carbonaro Piero Maroncelli who was incarcerated in 1820 with his friend Silvio Pellico. Maroncelli lost his leg during his imprisonment at the Spilberk fortress. The comparison exposes the precarious living conditions endured by convicts inside Italian prisons. But, more importantly, the reference to Curcio contributes to an ongoing debate about the treatment of "pentiti":

mi sembra una delle tante vergogne della nostra societa, che si vedano circolare per le nostre strade e per le nostre piazze, piazza Fontana compresa, autori di stragi, o pluriomicidi, mentre Renato Curdo, che non ha mai assassinato nessuno, e in galera da piu lustri e nessuno fa niente per tirarlo fuori. Perche? Credo sia perche non si e "pentito", non si e dissociato, non ha usato il salvagente di quella nuova legge che certamente non appartiene al mio tipo di morale, ed evidentemente neanche al suo. (6) (Romana, 1991: 146)

Besides these specific and recognisable references, "La domenica delle salme" offers some more visionary cues that become particularly significant when read a posteriori. Among these is the industrial relocation to Eastern Europe, which in the early 1990s was still underway:
   i trafficanti di saponette
   mettevano pancia verso est (7)
   ("La domenica delle salme")


De Andre's reference to a piece of news--the episode of a homeless man set on fire by a neo-Nazi group (see Romana, 2005)--almost turns into prophecy when he decides to link it to the Baggina. Baggina is the popular name of the retirement house Pio Albergo Trivulzio in Milan, where the investigations of "Mani pulite" started only two years after the release of "La domenica delle salme". The links to what was happening or about to happen in Italy when Le nuvole was released are therefore intentional and direct but also unintentional and readable only with hindsight. The web of references is not limited to De Andre's intentions but is completed by the listener who already knows what happened next. For instance, to today's listener the reference to the "ministro dei temporali" is almost inevitably evocative of Umberto Bossi, founder of the North League. The image works on two different levels. First, it is not far-fetched to compare Bossi's personality and political attitude to thunder; but also the "ministry of thunder" recalls pagan mythical deities such as those adored by the Celtic people from whom the early North League would claim northern Italians descend. It is, however, unlikely that De Andre intended to refer to Umberto Bossi since in 1990 he had not yet become a relevant political figure.

Side A closes as it opens--with the sound of cicadas that represents the only voice of protest still audible in Italy, which is none. Instead of a celebratory Sunday, "la domenica delle salme" is a day of mourning for the death of Utopia, that is, those ideals that guide a people to try to better their country. The illusive carefree and peaceful state that Italy was experiencing was in fact a dystopian reality characterised by a post-apocalyptic stillness which De Andre calls "pace terrificante." The singer clarifies this oxymoron in an annotation in which he links this idea of peace with the already mentioned pyramid of Cheops:

La vita il bene piu importante? Dipende dalla sua qualita. Operazioni di "polizia" perche il mondo sia in pace: attenzione che non sia una pace terrificante. Anche gli schiavi che costruirono la piramide di Cheope erano impossibilitati a fare la guerra, erano tenuti in vita per lavorare. Credo che chiunque di loro avrebbe preferito la guerra con il rischio della morte, piuttosto di quella orribile pace. (Archivio Fabrizio De Andre IV/146 (T. 13-20) T/16)

De Andre's autograph on a personal diary that reads "La piramide di Berluscheope" (8) openly hints to a huge monument symbol of Berlusconi's empire which he defines as "un monumento aberrante e inutile" (De Andre in Franchini, 2000: 57). This statement helps to understand the context in which "La domenica delle salme" should be placed. The "terrifying peace" is the result of a process of normalization that anesthetized the population, making it incapable of protest or even indignation, one that changed Italy's shared sense of morality and ambitions. The consequences of this social transformation are even clearer today: the first private televisions in the 1980s offered a model for society that has today become a real social paradigm. What was fantasy behind a screen 30 years ago is today a concrete, practiced reality. Berlusconi-style television has turned into Berlusconi-style Italy. By now, many studies have been dedicated to this topic. (9) Between the 1980s and 1990s, politics, and the country in general, were characterized by "lo spregio delle regole, il crescente disinteresse per i valori collettivi, un privilegiamento dell'affermazione individuale e di gruppo che considera le norme un impaccio" (Crainz, 2003: 604). This last trait became the backbone of Berlusconi's liberal politics in the 1990s. According to this politics, individual initiative ought not to be restricted by regulations (see Ginsborg, 2005) so that, consequently, private interests come before collective ones. These same values--a mix of ambition, consumerism, familism or clan loyalty--had been portrayed by Berlusconi's private television stations since the early 1980s and had penetrated Italian society. As Ginsborg writes, Berlusconi was not just about to become President of the Council of Ministers; he presided "over the imagination of a consistent segment of the nation" (Ginsborg, 2005: 110). And, most likely, he could not have become the former without being the latter.

Instrumental in this transformation that Italian society underwent were the people themselves, like the slaves who built Cheops's pyramid:

... sul finire degli anni Ottanta la gente aveva perso a tal punto il senso della propria dignita che si viveva in una specie di limbo, dove nessuno aveva piu voglia di protestare, figuriamoci poi di ribellarsi: non c'e niente di piu idoneo, perche il potere possa compiere i propri misfatti nella piu assoluta impunita. Si continua ad affermare la priorita del mercato--ormai anche la politica e attraversata da grandi ventate di affarismo, non sempre lecito--e con essa la morte delle ideologie: cosi si educa la gente al ripudio degli ideali. Questa rassegnata abulia, che coinvolgeva anche artisti un tempo "impegnati", i giornalisti non di regime e politici d'opposizione, e sintetizzata nel finale de "La domenica delle salme", dove si parla di "pace terrificante", mentre "il cuore d'Italia si gonfia in un coro di vibrante protesta". Sennonche la protesta ha la voce di un coro di cicale, scelto a emblema del menefreghismo collettivo. (De Andre in Romana, 2005: 138)

The 1980s was characterised by a light-hearted and hedonistic attitude that, despite echoing to some extent the hopes of the economic boom, closed with ghastly disillusionment and the collapse of all ideals. According to De Andre, the people are not just victims of the situation but, because of their lack of action and sense of responsibility, are accountable for this transformation.

3. Conclusion

Le nuvole sheds light on key aspects of a period of transition for Italian society. By analysing phenomena such as the riflusso, immigration and the disengagement and apathy that hit Italy after particularly difficult years - the dawn of Berlusconi's era--this album offers a new interpretation of two topics very dear to De Andre that are transversal to his entire oeuvre: the relation between powers and people and individual responsibility (Carbonelli, 2012).

By the 1980s, De Andre was very well known and was supported by a large fan base, the members of which bought each new album as a matter of course. The success of Creuza de ma accorded him a credibility that sped up the construction and maturation of his public persona as an engaged oppositional artist. With success came a gradual increase in his public profile and increased respect for his opinions on public issues. By then he could disseminate his challenging stances more easily and with less resistance from the general public. Hence his definitive legitimation as an artist coincided with his legitimation as a social commentator (Carbonelli, 2012, 2015). In fact, De Andre's comments on public issues in the media increased proportionally with his popularity. (10) In his early interviews there are hardly any questions or statements on social issues, but they became more and more frequent over time. In time, the public not only expected him to make declarations about his work, it wanted to know his opinion on various issues, as if the recognition of his work coincided with the recognition of his stance.

The definitive proof of the legitimation of his role as a social commentator came with the album Le nuvole. Although loaded with social criticism the album was well received, so much so that De Andre had ironically to question his role as a critical voice: "Non mi piace affatto il successo del disco. Digeriscono tutto. Cosa dobbiamo fare per scuoterli? Darci fuoco in piazza Duomo?" (Simone, 1990: 290). As he had already tried to do on several occasions, and in particular during the 1970s with the albums La buona novella (De Andre, 1970) and Storia di un impiegato (Carbonelli, 2012; De Andre, 1973), De Andre explicitly took the role of the socially engaged artist who carries out what he considered one of the duties of the artist: social criticism.

Funding

This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

DOI: 10.1177/0014585815586707

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Notes

(1.) Archivio Fabrizio De Andre (Cutolo's letter: II 1991 febbraio 18 (se. 2 Z. 37-40/2010). Poems that Cutolo sent to De Andre: II 1991 febbraio 18 (se. 2. Z. 1-27/2010). De Andre's answer: II--1991 (D. 1-2): 'desidero ringraziarLa per il Suo cortese apprezzamento delle mie canzoni ed in particolare per "Don Raffae"' nel cui personaggio Lei si e compiaciuto di riconoscersi'. Cutolo's reply: II 1991 maggio 6 (se. 2. Z. 31-36/2010). Cutolo: II 1992 aprile 8 (se. 2. Z. 41-44/2010)). Romana writes that in writing "Don Raffae'" De Andre drew inspiration form Marotta degli Alunni del sole, '"dove c'e un certo don Vito,' ricordo Fabrizio, 'che alla sera raduna tutti quanti e legge loro il giornale spiegando le notizie del giorno'" and from Giovanni Spadolini "che dopo non so piu che strage mafiosa ando a Palermo e annuncio: 'Sono costernato e indignato, m'impegno ..."' (Romana, 2005: 136).

(2.) At which De Andre replies, "tante volte si ride per non piangere" (Archivio Fabrizio De Andre IV/130 (M.1-13)).

(3.) "Questa visione di un mondo in avanzato stato di disfacimento ci arriva da numerosissimi indicatori. Basta leggere gli articoli di giornalisti come Sandro Viola, Vittorio Zucconi e qualche altro: ecco, sono loro i miei ispiratori sotterranei, i 'complici segreti' che vorrei invitare a iscriversi alla Siae, perche anche loro, come fornitori di un'intuizione originaria, dovrebbero ricevere la loro quota di diritti d'autore" (De Andre in Romana, 1991: 145).

(4.) "[La domenica delle salme] riletta col senno di poi, con l'occhio attento della cronaca d'oggi, potrebbe essere un ritratto non tanto dell'Italia a cavallo tra gli anni Ottanta e i Novanta, ma dell'Italia in cui stiamo vivendo" (Romana, 2005: 138).

(5.) "Un monumento aberrante e inutile, direi berlusconiano" (De Andre in Franchini, 2000: 57). Agenda del Credito lombardo, 31 maggio, 132/3 (image in Valdini, 2009: 413), De Andre's autograph reads: "La piramide di Berluscheope."

(6.) In 1997, after almost two decades on trial, Adriano Sofri was found guilty of being the instigator of the murder of Luigi Calabresi, a police officer. Just before being arrested, Sofri was photographed holding De Andre's latest album, Anime Salve (De Andre, 1996), in his hand. Commenting on the fact, De Andre said, "Sofri molti anni fa dichiaro a un quotidiano che qualche mia canzone dei primi anni Sessanta aveva anticipato alcuni degli argomenti che sarebbero diventati in seguito temi fondamentali della rivolta del '68. Puo quindi trattarsi di un caso il fatto che sia stato fotografato con Anime salve, ma non e affatto un caso che era nella lista delle persone che io desideravo ricevessero il disco" (Pastarini, 1997: 383). De Andre compares Sofri's situation to Curcio's and explains, "La legge si trasforma in una esibizione del potere dello Stato. Non e importante che colpisca il colpevole o l'innocente, che nella sentenza si trasferisca la giustizia, ma e semplicemente un'esibizione di forza. Non riesco a definire le tre sentenze Sofri se non come terroristiche, ma del resto questo fenomeno dello Stato che deve mostrare i muscoli e ricorrente. Pensiamo al caso Tortora, ma anche a molti innocenti che non hanno un nome noto" (Travaglini, 2009: 72).

(7.) In Ruggero Jacobbi's Poesia brasiliana del Novecento (1973), De Andre underlines the following verses from Raul Bopp's poem Storia: "Il Brasile mise su pancia / dal lato Ovest," p. 153 (Archivio Fabrizio De Andre). For an analysis of De Andre's literary sources see Benocci (2009).

(8.) Agenda del Credito lombardo, 31 maggio, 132/3 (image in Valdini, 2009: 413).

(9.) For a discussion of Berlusconi's role in Italy see Andrews (2005); Ginsborg (2005); Lane (2005); Viroli (2012).

(10.) See the collection of articles in Sassi and Pistarini (2008) and the drafted interviews held at the Centro Studi Fabrizio De Andre.

Guendalina Carbonelli

Independent scholar, Italy

Corresponding author:

Guendalina Carbonelli, Via Panza 2, 15046 San Salvatore Monferrato (AL), Italy.

Email: guendalina.carbonelli@gmail.com
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