Mina and Modugno, the stars of post Dolce Vita Italian music

As had already happened to previous musical trends, the music of the Dolce Vita would soon go out of fashion, replaced by the new faces and frenetic rhythms of Twist and Rock & Roll in the early 1960s. In the Los Carosones concerts we tell this passage through the first songs of those who would become the stars of the next generation and with whom, not coincidentally, Renato Carosone had a special relationship: Mina and Domenico Modugno.

First of all, it is necessary to resume a premise already made previously: hand in hand with the musical one, in the 1950s we witnessed a technological revolution that affected the way of listening to music. If in the past the bands established themselves thanks to their live shows and then went on recording discs to broaden their popularity, in the post-war period we have musical careers that start and develop from studio recordings.
Live performance is of secondary importance to the success of record sales and distribution, radio and television.
Let’s see how these changes in the music landscape affect the fate of two exceptional Italian artists.

Modugno: the great success goes through TV

Domenico Modugno’s musical career sees a clear pivotal moment in the Sanremo Festival of 1958: the first author and singer in the history of the festival wins with “Nel blu dipinto di blu“, which becomes the global success best known with the name of “Volare” . This record will climb the world rankings and place Domenico Modugno in the olympus of Italian music; will be joined shortly after by “Piove”, consecrating the originality of his way of composing.

Both Marino Marini and Fred Buscaglione will cover the two songs, as well as several thousand musicians. But this success shouldn’t have surprised Renato Carosone too much. Even before “Volare”, between ’54 and ’57, he drew heavily on the compositional genius of Modugno, rearranging four songs in his own way: “La sveglietta“, “Io mammeta e tu“, “La donna riccia”and “Lazzarella”.
Carosone felt at ease in reinterpreting the texts in dialects written by Modugno, he made them his own by adding all the theatrical touches typical of his style: the latin rhythms, the accelerated voices, the imitations of Gegè and the irony always as a frame.

During the Los Carosones concerts we always give space to two or three songs by Domenico Modugno, with one particularity: we prefer less famous but equally beautiful compositions to his more recognizable hits. This is the case of “Pasqualino Marajà“, a piece that is placed in the wake of Arabian portraits a la “Caravan Petrol”, or “Chella là” in Marino Marini’s version. And in memory of the artistic bond between the two, we often play “La donna riccia” by Modugno with the arrangement by Carosone.

Mina, the young diva of the Italian Twist discovered in the dance hall

If the musical wave of the Dolce Vita had an apex, the highest point, the one after which the descent begins, would be the Twist. Arrived in the early 1960s, this genre represented the breaking point between the old and the new world that was about to arrive, namely Rock & Roll.
It was the genre that best expressed the disruptive energies of the generation born from the Baby Boom, just after the end of the Second World War and up to the end of the 1960s. A music made for dancing, played by young people and for young people. The artist who best represents this revolution is certainly Mina who, still very young, becomes with her explosive voice the best example of the new musical style.

There is an interesting anecdote about the beginning of her career, which almost marks a handover between the old and the new. It is the night of September 23, 1958, we are in a dance hall in the province of Cremona; Mina is still a girl who hides her passion for music from her parents while collaborating with the local band Happy Boys. At the end of the evening, in general amazement, the audience clamored for her encore, leaving the organizers and those who should have played it speechless: Natalino Otto and his wife, Flo Sandon’s.
A new star was born.

In the Los Carosones concert we wanted to pay homage to this great diva with Tintarella di luna” and “Eclisse Twist”. In order not to miss anything, we have also included a Modugno twist in the lineup: “Selene”.