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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Da Yeah a Ueee senza passare dal MinCulPop - Strategie di coesistenza e resistenza del jazz italiano durante il fascismo.

  • Author(s): Martinelli, Dario
  • et al.

The present article aims to explore the ambivalent relationship between jazz and Italian authorities during the fascist regime, with a particular focus on the case of Alberto Rabagliati, the singer/actor who, along with other acts such as Trio Lescano, had managed to mediate American jazz with the Italian melodic tradition, creating an insitutionally-acceptable genre. During the years of the so-called MinCulPop (the ministry of propaganda), several jazz events and musicians were banned, on the basis that they would promote foreign and, particularly, negro cultures. Other songs, from other genres, the so-called canzoni della fronda, were also censored, when the authorities would perceive that the lyrics would contain anti-fascist messages. In this essay, the author suggests that a particular canzone della fronda (surprisingly untouched by the MinCulPop) was actually a swing number by Rabagliati himself: Quando canta Rabagliati. In it, it is argued, the singer (and the song’s authors D’Anzi and Galdieri) provide a subtle yet accurate description of a real jazz performance, literally under the nose of the fascist authorities (the song was the signature tune of a successful national radio program). Far from being a political type of protest, the song is here analyzed as a statement of artistic resistance: the resistance of performing a certain genre of music in a country where such genre was prohibited.

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