Posts Tagged ‘italian culture’

United States has Rock’n’Roll, jazz and Blues as traditional music. Spain has the Flamenco, Argentina has the tango and Brazil has the Bossa Nova. Unfortunately Italian popular music is the LISCIO.
In every single bar or dance hall of my country, you can easily hear this kind of music. No matter if you are in the South, in the center or in the west of the Italian peninsula, LISCIO persecutes you in any corner of the country.
The most sad aspect of this situation is that if you are an Italian musician, the only thing you can do to earn some money is to play this music.
And I’m one of those musicians who played Liscio.

Rimini, Rimini, Rimini: The soundtrack of this post”.

It happened during my last year at “La Sapienza” University in Rome.
I needed money for my studies, and at that time the only thing that I was able to do very well was play the guitar.
A friend of mine gave me the opportunity to meet Marco Napoli, the leader of a little Liscio ensemble that was pretty popular in my county.
The name of this orchestra was one of the worst names you can give to a dance-band: “The Cocktail”.
When I met Marco, the first thing that I asked him was: “Why have you chosen this name for your orchestra?”
“You know” he answered me, “when you play Liscio you have to communicate to the audience a feeling of happiness, and a name like The Cocktail suggests to the people something full of colour, of vitality and joy….in other words it suggests Happiness”.
Does it?” I asked doubtfully.
“Yes…Hey wait a moment” he said, “have you got any problem with the name of my band?”
“No, no. I love it, I was just curious about it. That’s all”.
I WAS recruited.

I was the guitarist on the right.

We played for a whole year in a Balera (it is the Italian word to indicate a Liscio Dance Hall) called “Pierrot”.
We used to arrive at the club around nine p.m. and after the sound check, we opened the show with a classic Raul Casadei’s song: “Rimini, Rimini” (Raul Casadei is one of the most important authors in the Liscio tradition).
The crowd started to dance from the first note of that song.
People who love to spend the night in a balera, basically do two kinds of things above all: dance AND drink wine.
This is the reason why often some of them would fall down to the ground completely DRUNK.

A couple of old, drunken customers. They were tireless...

The floor of a balera is literary a pool of sweat, and the owners usually strew it with talcum powder to create a grip for the dancer’s feet; but if you are drunk nothing can save you from falling, even a good “grip”.
I hated the balera’s patrons.
They didn’t show the musicians any kind of respect, and every night someone would join us on the stage (while we were still playing), and say something like: “Have you got Romantica Parigi?” or “Have you got Mutandine di Seta Nera?”; they didn’t ask for a song, they ordered a song, they treated us as if we were waiters instead musicians.
Generally at midnight we stopped playing and the crowd stopped dancing: that was the moment for the Pasta (the balera’s owners used to offer to the customers and the musicians some horrible pasta cooked by their resident chef).
While the customers ate, Marco remained on the stage to announce the winning numbers extracted for the balera’s lottery (each number was followed by a drum roll loop); it was the main event of the night and those who attended it could win: a Prosciutto di Parma as first prize, a shape of Parmigiano Reggiano as second prize and a bottle of wine as third prize.

The main event of the night: The Lottery. Pictures of Italian Culture

After the Lottery the show started again and we kept playing until one o’clock (more or less).
At that hour most of the dancers began to go back home, except the ones that we called: “Tiratardi”; these were the kind of tireless people who could dance from dust till dawn.
We invented a stratagem to set us free from them: we accelerated the bpm of the songs; in doing so they were forced to dance very, very fast.
Generally they collapsed to the floor completely strengthless after two or three minutes.
When all of them went away we descended from the stage.
I used to massage my back and smoke a cigarette while Marco and the other guys, compiled the bourderaux writing down the songs that we had played.
The most exciting moment of the night was certainly when the owner paid the orchestra: one hundred euro for each of us, not a bad wage!
Yes, despite everything, it was pretty cool to play LISCIO.


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