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Fabrizio de Andrè

Fabrizio de André

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Album Review

For his 1981 eponymous release Fabrizio De André picks off where his last album Rimini had left. Pursuing the fruitful collaboration with Massimo Bubola, with whom De André co-wrote the totality of the material, this album extends the country & western musical and thematic references introduced in Rimini into a full-blown analogy between two oppressed communities, the Native American Indians and the Sardinians. In fact, the record is usually referred to as "Indiano," since its cover features a Frederick Remington painting of a Sioux hunter on a horse. In addition, the key track " "Fiume Sand Creek" depicts the harrowing massacre of his tribe at the hands of the U.S. Cavalry through the eyes of an Indian child. Based on an actual historical event, this song became a De André concert staple. De André moved to Sardinia in the mid-'70s and was profoundly impressed by the history and landscape of the island. Appropriately, many of the songs in this album tell stories of people chased from their own lands and forced to seek shelter on the hills. Community disintegration left them with very few options: shepherding, banditism, a nomadic existence marked by deprivation and loneliness. However, De André often adds a noble, if not definitely romantic, quality to his characters in associating them with nature and independence. By virtue of being pretty much forgotten by country, society, and its institutions, left in the wilderness, these individuals are thus able to attain true freedom, albeit in isolation. A sort of pastoral-by-force album, Indiano contains a few of the most truly beautiful, delicate, and strangely uplifting songs in the De André canon, such as " "Canto del Servo Pastore" and "Se ti Tagliassero a Pezzetti." At any rate, its centerpiece is undoubtedly "Hotel Supramonte," inspired by the most traumatic event of De André's life. In 1979, De André and his companion, singer Dori Ghezzi, were kidnapped by Sardinian bandits and held captive for four months until a ransom was arranged. "Hotel Supramonte" is the euphemism used to refer to the hideouts in the mountains where victims of kidnapping (a sad and long-lasting business in Sardinia) are kept. Surprisingly, De André only gives away the subject matter of his song in its title. Indeed, rather than a chronicle, "Hotel Supramonte" reads as a love song to someone who is absent and whose return is uncertain. Set to the most sparse arrangement of the album, "Hotel Supramonte" refuses to cave in to the feelings of anger, bitterness, or fear that such a dramatic experience may evoke, and chooses instead understanding and compassion, a sense of desolate tenderness that becomes all the more touching with every listening. Another exceptional De André album, Indiano is also noteworthy for being the last "traditional"singer/songwriter album he would make. Starting with 1984's groundbreaking Creuza de Mä, De André would embark on an ethnic musicologist research voyage and record very sporadically for the remaining 15 years of his career .

Biography

Born: 18 February 1940 in Genoa, Italy

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

With the death of Fabrizio De André from cancer on January 11, 1999, Italy lost one of its most modern singer/songwriters. Inspired by the songwriting of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, De André's songs encompassed Genoese folk songs, French protest/social commentary, beatnik "stream of consciousness" poetry, and the soundtracks of Italian film Westerns. A native of the Genoese province of Liguria, De André was born into a wealthy family. His father's criticism of the fascists who controlled Italy caused...
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Fabrizio de Andrè, Fabrizio de André
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