Friday, December 14, 2012

Rosa Balistreri

Rosa Balistreri
24" x 12"
oil on luan, 2012
I don't speak Italian, so the lyrics to the song Buttano di to mà by Sicilian singer Rosa Balistreri don't really make an impact on me but the song certainly did. It's clearly one of Balistreri's more dramatic songs. Not I'm an expert though, I had never heard of Rosa Balistreri until just a week ago when I picked up a copy of her album Amore tu lo sai,la vita è amara. I have since heard about twenty of her songs, 12 on the album and an additional eight or so songs on YouTube (the site that pretty much has everything you can think of). Buttano di to mà was not on the album, but it was the song that stood out for me most upon my first introductions to the music of the Sicilian singer. The blog(ger) Kalliope Amorphous states that the song "is quite possibly the most powerful 'fuck you' song ever recorded." Kalliope also states that Balistreri deserves more attention outside of Italy. In Rosa Balistreri: The Sicilian Folk Singer You Should Know About she writes: "I have been listening to Rosa Balistreri for many years, but was surprised to find very little mention of her in English speaking articles and reviews. It is unfortunate that these voices can become so easily lost in the miasma of what passes for music in our culture." Despite that there is "very little mention of her in English speaking articles", there is plenty of presence on line. Lots of texts in Italian, and also lots of music and photographs that don't require any language skill to indulge in. Great photos too! I may have to paint some more soon (I have to, if I keep listening so much to her music). Rosa Balistreri was born in 1927, grew up in a brutal, feudal Sicily. As an escape she began to sing Sicilian folk songs but it took her through many inhumane jobs and relationships before she was, at the age of 39, able to make a recording. Balistreri fled from Sicily to Florence in the 1960s, but moved back again in the 1970s. She died in Palermo in 1990.

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