At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Jovanotti - musician

Former rapper important figure in Italian pop culture


Jovanotti is now one of Italy's most popular performers, attracting sell-out crowds
Jovanotti is now one of Italy's most popular
performers, attracting sell-out crowds
The singer-songwriter Lorenzo Cherubini – better known as Jovanotti – was born on this day in 1966 in Rome.

Famous in his early days as Italy’s first rap star, Jovanotti has evolved into one of Italian pop music’s most significant figures, his work progressing from hip hop to funk and introducing ska and other strands of world music to Italian audiences, his increasingly sophisticated compositions even showing classical influences.

He has come to match Ligabue in terms of the ability to attract massive audiences, while his international record sales in the mid-90s were on a par with Eros Ramazzotti and Laura Pausini.  Since his recording debut in 1988 he has sold more than seven million albums.

Although born in Rome, Cherubini came from a Tuscan family and spent much of his childhood and adolescence in Cortona in the province of Arezzo, where he now has a home.

He began to work as a DJ at venues in and around Cortona, mainly playing dance music and hip hop, which at the time was scarcely known in Italy. After finishing high school he went back to Rome because he felt he had a better chance of launching a musical career via the capital’s club scene.  

Jovanotti started out as a DJ before turning to hip hop and rap
Jovanotti started out as a DJ before
turning to hip hop and rap
Jovanotti became his stage name not quite by design.  He had intended to call himself Joe Vanotti – the name meant to sound like giovanotti, the Italian word for “young people” – but the promotional poster for one of his early club bookings as a deejay incorrectly billed him as Jovanotti and the name stuck.

His success in Rome earned him bookings further afield, particularly at holiday resorts, and it was on one such gig that he met the entrepreneur record producer Claudio Ceccheto, who would give him national exposure via his radio station, Radio Deejay.

Jovanotti’s early work was raw and basic. He fashioned himself as a Paninaro – a kind of Italian version of the English mods of the 1960s, who favoured Vespa and Lambretta scooters and had signature clothes, in particular Timberland boots, Levi jeans and American military flying jackets.

Yet he became an icon for Italian youth. Songs such as Sei come la mia moto – roughly translated: “You’re like my Lambretta/Vespa” – and Gimme Five became youth anthems, the first of many that Italian teenagers, who love to memorise the lyrics of their favourite tracks and sing them together, would turn into pop classics. Fans refer to him often as simply Jova.

His 1988 debut album, Jovanotti for President, was panned by the critics, yet sold more than 400,000 copies. His second, La Mia Moto, topped 600,000.  His catalogue now stands at 13 studio albums, four live albums, six compilations, a remix album and four video albums, plus 82 singles.

Jovanotti songs became anthems for Italian youth
Jovanotti songs became anthems
for Italian youth
The last seven of his studio albums have gone to number one in the Italian music charts and songs such as A te, L’Ombelico del Mondo, Bella, Fango, Piove, Penso Positivo and Per Te – which he wrote for his newborn daughter, Teresa, in 1998 – have entered what writers have dubbed The Great Italian Songbook.

Initially loved for the fact that his songs tended not to carry any political or ideological messages, from the 1990s onwards, Jovanotti became much more political. As a committed pacifist, he frequently worked with organizations such as Make Poverty History and Amnesty International, and he has contributed to events dedicated to debt relief, forming a friendship with the similarly minded U2 front man Bono.

He declared his support for the Partito Democratico della Sinistra (the Democratic Party of the Left), which formed from a split in the Italian Communist Party, in the 1992 general election.

In September 2008, 10 years after the birth of their daughter,  Jovanotti married his long-term partner Francesca Valiani at Cortona, in the Church of Santa Maria Nuova.

The Palazzo Comune in Cortona
The Palazzo Comune in Cortona
Travel tip:

Cortona is a charming small city in the Valdichiana, or Chiana Valley, in the province of Arezzo in southern Tuscany, about 120km (75 miles) southeast of Florence. The city, enclosed by stone walls dating back to Etruscan and Roman times, sits on the top of a hill about 600m (2000ft) above sea level, offering spectacular views.  It is characterised by steep, narrow streets – indeed the main street, Via Nazionale, is the only street in the city with no gradient. Among the main sights is the domed church of Santa Maria Nuova, designed by Giorgio Vasari.

The Best Company label favoured by Paninari
The Best Company label favoured by Paninari
Travel tip:

The Paninaro youth culture of the 1980s began in Milan among a group of teenagers who fashioned an identity for themselves around certain clothing brands. They tended to meet in particular cafes and fast food outlets in central Milan, in particular Al Panino in Via Agnello, a stone’s throw from the Duomo. As befits the fashion capital of Italy, they favoured expensive labels and it was not unusual to see Paninari dressed in Armani jeans, although the real must-haves in addition to Timberland boots were brightly coloured Best Company sweatshirts and Alpha Industries or Schott flying jackets.





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