ITALIA 70 – THE SOUND OF POLITICAL DISSENT is a series of stories written by Lorenzo Cibrario and published in the Bristol-based magazine Synaesthetic Magazine. The author tried to identify and analyse the music that soundtracked the Years of Lead, the turbulent and overtly politicised times that left an indelible mark in Italian history between 1969 and the late 1980s. The series is a hybrid of music journalism, creative writing and historical facts. The idea behind the project is to find and show the soundtracks that score such important, complex and tumultuous years in the history of the country.
You can hear the series every other Wednesday at 6pm BST on the NYC + Culture channel.
Episode 1 – GENOA: In the first instalment, the narrator leads us through the maze-like alleys of Genoa among Lambretta-riding far-left terrorists and a mysterious Indian funk musician. At the beginning of the 70s, Genoa was burning under riots and fights. Local labels were trying to channelling this energy into prog and funk music, providing a score for the local, upset, working class.
Episode 2 – MILAN: As Milan is hit by a bombing attack that marks the beginning of the Strategy of Tension, Bossa Nova and Samba play on Italian radios painting the portrait of a vanishing country. The evocative South American rhythms with their uptempo Saudade, imported by asylum-seeking Brazilian artists, clash with the violence and industrialisation clogging Italy. For the second instalment of Italia 70 – The Sound of Political Dissent, we discuss the loss of innocence of a country – from a postcard-like scenario to the stage for violent terrorist attacks.
Episode 3 – ROME: Late ‘70s Rome was a city haunted by violence and murders, where feminist groups tried to change the tide of collective socio-political consciousness with witty slogans, protests and conceptual art. In the meantime, a cluster of experimental musicians scored these turbulent times by recording minimalist albums that aspired to a new ethereal and spiritual dimension.
Episode 4 – BOLOGNA: When in August 1980 Bologna is hit by a devastating terror attack, the city is stuck between the old-fashioned folklorist tradition of Liscio and the roaring rise of Italo Disco under the influence of American liberalism. Meanwhile, heroin and punk creep through a scarred city.