Putumayo Presents: Italian Café

Putumayo Presents: Italian Café
Book Cover

Putumayo Presents: Italian Café is different from the Rough Guide to the Music of Italy. Whereas Rough Guide presents more traditional, folk music, Putumayo sounds like it is from the 1950’s through maybe the 1980’s or so. The music is fun and light.

I like the upbeat tempo of the Putumayo Presents CD. Not that you hear this type of music in the cafés these days but it does remind me of Italy even if it is the Italy of movies. When I listen to this CD I think of Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida and Dean Martin with a little Frank Sinatra thrown in.

Interestingly, most music was banned under the Italian fascists. I found the following interesting; it is from the product description:

“While most foreign music was banned under the Italian fascist regime, Fred Buscaglione wound up in a U.S. internment camp, where he was able to get a jumpstart in trying out the styles emerging from America. Quartetto Cetra emerged in the late ’40s, when they provided the overdubs for the Italian versions of the movies Dumbo and Wizard of Oz. The following decade found Renato Carosone blending Neapolitan folk music with American jazz and boogie-woogie to create a signature style that made him a household name in Italy and a chart-topping crooner in the U.S.

Nicola Arigliano is the only 1950s-era artist on Italian Café performing to this day. Born in 1923 in a small village in southern Italy, Arigliano ran away from home when he was just 11 years old to play music in the nightclubs of Milan. Arigliano disappeared from the concert stage for 30 years. In the past decade he re-emerged with four new albums.

Gianmaria Testa is more famous abroad than he is at home in Italy, where he works as a train station manager. You can hear his trademark gruff, whispering voice on two songs on Italian Café. Daniele Silvestri’s “Le Cose in Comune” won Italy’s equivalent of the Grammy, as best song of the year.

The collection features extensive liner notes in English, Italian, Spanish and French.

1. Juke Box – Beretta
2. Un Bacio a Mezzanotte – Garinei, P.
3. Cannelloni – Conte, Giorgio
4. Che Cossè l’Amor – Capossela, Vinicio
5. Petali e Mirto – Giua, Maria Pierant
6. Gnè Gnè – Conte, Giorgio
7. Piccolissima Serenata – Carosone, Renato
8. Dentro al Cinema – Testa, Gianmaria
9. Le Cose in Comune – Silvestri, Daniele
10. Tu Vuo’ Fa’ l’Americano – Carosone, Renato
11. La Traiettorie delle Mongolfiere – Testa, Gianmaria
12. Carina – Testa, A.

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