Anni di piombo, anni di paillettes.

Music from a country on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

[music:] Anna Arazzini, Vola, vola in alto amore mio (1970)

with 12 comments

Fabio Carboni from Die Schachtel lended me this album in a plain yet beautiful gatefold die-cut cover some time ago, saying something like: “it’s quite an interesting record, but there’s actually just one song which is worth the listening”. Oh, boy. Fabio, you definitely must have picky tastes – or maybe you were just kidding me. I brought it home, and I played it. Once and then again. And again. I was thunder-struck.

Is this an art pop female singer/songwriter? In 1970? Is she the same girl who wrote some songs for the popstar Iva Zanicchi? And that sitar-driven track? There are several reasons because Vola, vola in alto amore mio (“fly, fly high my love”, a line from “Se mi vuoi”) is astonishing. The most striking is perhaps its spectacular lack of impact on the early seventies Italian music scene, its being in vain, a grand miss; it’s like if the record, and Anna herself, imploded somewhere in outer space instead of burning like a bright sun at the centre of the star system as it, and she, should have done, undeterredly continuing to vanish for almost forty years.

Then come, of course, its strictly musical qualitites, such as the excellent songwriting (all tracks are credited to Arazzini and the producer Ezio Leoni), which spans classic ballads and torch songs, rarefied jazz, bloodless soul, bossa, Italian folk and world music (such as in the klezmer-like “Ballata di una bimba”) and seems not completely unaware of the recent achievements by Fairport Convention and Pentangle, Joni Mitchell, or Jefferson Airplane at their folkiest, while the lyrics astoundedly record in ecstatic surrender the beauty and pain of nature and love. Or the magnificent, ethereal and roomy arrangements by Enrico Intra, which shake and break their Morriconian mould by dint of insisting on the darkest and most troubled zones, eventually gracing the record with a pervading imaginary soundtrack mood (by the way, in 1969 Anna had performed the song “Un posto per un addio” – “a place for a farewell” – for the Piero Umiliani’s score to La morte bussa due volte by Harald Philipp – international title: Death knocks twice).

And, above all, the depth and intensity of her performance: starting from the positions of Mina or Patty Pravo she comes to expressive solutions and emotional lands that Italian female musicians such as Giuni Russo and Alice would have rediscovered after ages (try listen to “Quanti anni, ragazzo” or “Il mare è tranquillo”), approaching priestesses like Sandy Denny or Beth Gibbons (“Palden”, for instance, would have easily fit in the latter’s masterpiece with Rustin’ Man Out of Season).

Here is the tracklist:

01, Tu non sei più innamorato di me (“you’re no longer in love with me”)
02, Quanti anni, ragazzo (“how many years, boy”)
03, Sveglierai la luna (“you will wake up the moon”)
04, Sarà Emanuela (“it will be Emanuela” also released as a 7″ b/w “Lontano dall’inverno” – “far from winter” – in 1969)
05, Ballata di una bimba (“ballad of a baby girl”)
06, Come il vento notturno (“like the night wind”)
07, Se mi vuoi (“if you want me” also released as a 7″ b/w “Tu non sei più innamorato di me”)
08, Il mare è tranquillo (“the sea is still”)
09, Palden
10, Elegia (“elegy”)
11, Oggi il sole è il re (“today the sun is the king”)
12, Una volta (“once”)

Get it: Anna Arazzini, Vola, vola in alto amore mio (1970)

After this largely unnoticed exploit, Anna Arazzini went on working as a theatrical actress, mostly in musicals, before vanishing without a trace in the late eighties. You can see and hear her in an excerpt from the original 1980 staging of Tito Schipa jr.’s Er Dompasquale after the Don Pasquale by Donizetti, in which she played the role of Norina.

Written by alteralter

April 23, 2009 at 7:12 pm

12 Responses

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  1. Complimenti !!! Gran Bel Disco !!!
    Non la conoscevo bene , penso di avere un paio di 45giri …
    Saluti !!!

    ps- mi raccomando , dai anche un’occhiata al mio blog !!!

    Cristho70

    May 5, 2009 at 8:28 am

  2. What! Enrico Intra?! I am downloading this as I write!

    Really curious to hear his work in a “pop” context as I’m only familiar with a very good library record of his called “Oltre il tempo oltre lo spazio”.

    Thanx!

  3. hello edgar! it’s great to hear from you.

    i guess you’ll like this record, let me know about that.

    as for enrico intra, you’ll find here some amazing stuff of his anytime soon. at least as soon as i manage to get rid of some work-related issues…

    alteralter

    May 15, 2009 at 9:54 am

    • Excellent!

      I really liked the record so looking forward to more Enrico Intra-related stuff. Beautiful arrangements on that record, quite odd in places and more artsy than I initially thought, judging by that comment from the Die Schachtel guy. You know the guys from that label? That’s a pretty awesome label they have…

      Edgar Olivier Charles

      May 15, 2009 at 4:16 pm

      • fine.

        yeah, i know fabio from die schachtel, we sometimes meet to chat and exchange records. actually the label’s great: have you checked out some of their stuff such as the insieme musica diversa cd or the recently reissued claudio rocchi’s suoni di frontiera? it’s music you would certainly like.

        alteralter

        May 16, 2009 at 3:54 pm

  4. Oh! Claudio Rocchi? I’ve read about him but never actually got to listen to any of his stuff, if I remember well you posted something by him not too long ago? I will seek it out…

    Cheers!

    Edgar Olivier Charles

    May 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    • Ha! seems the record you had on your post is the one they reissued! I’ll just have to find a copy somewhere in Montreal…

      Edgar Olivier Charles

      May 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm

      • yep! that’s why i removed it. try their online shop, fabio himself runs it with love and care.

        alteralter

        May 18, 2009 at 9:39 pm

  5. perla

    Navarro

    June 1, 2009 at 3:00 pm

  6. Ehilà , ma qui s’è fermato tutto !
    Che succede ?
    Attendo fiducioso nuovi sviluppi !!
    Saluti !!!

    Cristho70

    June 11, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    • ciao christo, spero di rimettere tutto in moto a breve. e complimenti per il tuo blog. a presto!

      alteralter

      June 13, 2009 at 11:06 am


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