The musical coop ‘The Orchestra’, whereof I have been vice-president for years, made its debut in 1974. Progressive rock activists associated to the European movement Rock in Opposition, like the legendary ‘Stormy Six/Macchina Maccheronica’, jazz players of the experimental area like Guido Mazzon and Tony Rusconi, music groups more explicitly political like ‘Quarto Stato’, traditional music teams like ‘Tecún Umán’ and also the small orchestra I led and created – the ‘Gruppo Folk Internazional’e then become ‘Ensemble Havadià’, were all part of it.
One day at the co-op, the group ‘Mamma non piangere’, composed by very young, snarky and dazed musicians of great value, made its appearance as a March wind-blown gust. The ‘Mamma non piangere’ launched a wacky genre long before the ‘Skiantos’ or ‘Elio e le Storie Tese’ debuted on the Italian scene. Their concert was overwhelming and soundly à la Zappa, the songs built on musically irresistible nonsense texts.
Throughout a performance in the performance, that is selling liquorice rolls by Perfetti or Caremoli during breaks, they financed their first album ‘Music, livestock and wealth’ and co-financed, integrating the investment of a Swiss producer, the second one ‘Always going ahead with our eyes firmly closed’. On the cover of the latest, the picture of the only spaceman from communist Germany portrayed upside down stood out. In Central Europe the sale of liquorice at one mark per piece was not only highly profitable, but it also led to irresistible hilarity. Unluckily, the ‘Mamma’ did not have the success and the distribution they greatly deserved.
Luckily, thirty five years on, they come back with a new album that, in my opinion, should be a must, not to be missed in a serious record collection, either private, media or public.
Today, the ‘Mamma non piangere’ musicians, led by Lorenzo Leddi are ‘serious gentlemen’ at their 50 plus. Some of them, the trombonist Luca Bonvini, who was as well my colleague, passed away too soon, his puzzling lunacy did not protect him, but the group in itself did not lose even one ounce of its wonderful sheen, brightly off the wall. Their mocking craziness à la Zappa gained strength and classical nature, their texts poetics has become urgent as sense of nonsense, their tunes are impeccably built as brilliant songs, enriched by never groundless quotations. Their young, but impeccable and inspired singer Laura Agostinelli sings them with rarefied pertinence as best as possible.
If you ask for my opinion, this is a record not to miss out both as creation of the music mind and as a cure against the mediocrity of our times.