This Is Entertainment


Mag 19 2010, 17:09

Sat 15 May – Fiorella Mannoia

Fiorella Mannoia may be a mainstream singer but she is too independent and intelligent to be lost in the creative void that passes for mass entertainment these days.

Her stellar performance at Cesena's drab Carisport venue proved that her cultural home lies on stage rather than as part of some dumbed-down 'family spectacular' on TV .

It was particular refreshing to hear her denouncing Italy's morally and culturally bereft government in no uncertain terms. Would that other 'celebrities' had the balls to follow suit.

Now 56, Fiorella has built a substantial reputation on covering songs from the best of Italy's cantautori. These singer-songwriters typically owe much to France's 'chanson' tradition, 60s protest songs and/or the commercial world of soul and pop.

These songs are frequently high on melodrama and sentiment so would not normally be my bag but fortunately with her wealth of experience, Fiorella has a well tuned bullshit detector. The songs she picks are almost exclusively by men, but her perfectly judged delivery and immaculate phrasing mean that it's easy to forget that she is singing someone else's words.

They seem to speak for her own emotions, hopes, dreams and experiences as, in song after song, we hear life affirming vignettes about coping with love, loss and loneliness.

The songs she performs, assisted by a polished nine man, mostly all-acoustic, band include favourites by Lucio Battisti ,Francesco De Gregori, Renato Zero, Ivano Fossati and Paolo Conte.

In other words, her selections over the course of two hours serve as a check-list of classic Italian crooners but the inclusion of Negramaro's recent hit Imbilico and La Paura Non Esiste by Tiziano Ferro proves that she does pass up the new kids on the block.

In short, a great show.

Her age defying stamina , warmth and generosity made this a feel good spectacle in every sense.


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