Italian Top 40 Makes Me Feel a Casa!

The sun was shining yesterday morning as I was cruising down Via Porretana, passing by the Basilica San Luca, with the windows down, and singing along to “Radio KissKiss”, feeling the groove as I belted out Arisa’s lyrics: “Ma ci sarò – Perché così mi sento – Accanto a te –  Viaggiando controvento.” In that moment, I felt right at home in this city, which just eight months ago was a total mystery to me. That’s not to say I’ve figured it all out. I’m nowhere near that. But with the arrival of Spring, I am starting to feel a sense of belonging that wasn’t there when the skies went winter gray back in November. It could just be the power of Top 40 radio stations… acceptance, integration, kinship, attachment, are all yours for the low, low price of learning some lyrics! This would be great news for someone who came to this country with a predilection for their melodramatic pop rock in the first place. I blame my parents, older cousins and the U.S. Spanish-language TV channel, Univision, for introducing me to melodramatic pop rock en Espanol at a very early age. In any case, I do think there may be something to the idea that when you understand a culture’s music, you understand its people better, even when the music involves just 3 chords and a catchy hook! With that in mine, here are a few of the songs that are in constant rotation on Bologna’s radio stations (along side “Happy”, “Demons”, “Team” and that awful song, “Timber”!)

Arisa’s “Controvento” (my jam from the car yesterday!)


Luciano Ligabue’s “Tu Sei Lei”


The hit of last summer, which will forever be the song that reminds me of that time we lived in Italy…

Lorenzo Jovanotti Cherubini’s “Estate”


Another beautiful thing about living here is how the proximity of other countries allows their music to get on the radio too despite being in another language. Two that are getting a lot of airplay right now are:

Chilean-French hip-hop musician, Anita Tijoux’s “1977”


and Beligian singer/songwriter Stromae’s “Tous Les Mêmes”


Finally, the gateway music that led to my full blown addiction…

A classic from Claudio Baglioni, “Mille giorni di te e di me”


And from the pop queen of Emilia Romagna, Laura Pausini, and Tiziano Ferro, “Non me lo so spiegare”


Now that I’ve listed these for you, it’s not to hard see where that sense of belonging was coming from. It was in the music, but not in knowing lyrics. It was riding along to a play list that’s as multicultural as I am. When the different cultures that live within you are seen, accepted and/or spoken to it’s truly a beautiful, yet all too rare occurrence.



















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