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Mau Mau
Viva Mamanera
Vox Pop

Caltagirone, August 1996: What's the best way to listen to the new album by Mau Mau ? Certainly being under their stage! And I was there!

As well as you can read over these lines they aren't a little band only with drums, guitar and bass. Their sound is full of influences that are reflected in playing several strange instruments (derbouka, djembe',violectra, maracas, surdo, repinique, pandero, balafon, palitos, etc.) processed without digital technology, for example keybords and accordion have been amplified with an old Leslie with valves, unplugged guitars were modified, in order to reproduce a dirty & raw sound that could transfer as truly as possible energy and emotions from players to audience, without mediation ..... and this is Viva Mamanera: music for your feet!

Viva Mamanera is 3rd album by Mau Mau, after Sauta Rebel and Bass paradis both unplugged, in which they sounded like French Les Negresses Vertes and lyrics came out from a research of an equally oriented social politics, in which none was spared by critics (e.g. Ritmo politico against Silvio Berlusconi and italian right-wing). In this last work Luca Morino (lyrics writer) prefers to start from the individual and his micro-world to reach the whole human universe. For example in Zeppelindia he denounces the lack of strong ideals to believe in, and to choose as guide in everyday life , while songs as Fiore, Laserta, Come are more intimist, dealing with love, pride and angsts. But the main theme of Viva Mamanera is America, where lots of Italian emigrants live nearly as exiles, looking for a job that they don't find in their country, so in Ellis Island Luca sings:

- What's your name, what's your name ?
   welcome to America, do you understand me ?
   where do you come from,
   WHERE DO YOU WANNA GO ?
   Welcome ...

 

He tries to talk about stories of common people, that went looking for a dream and found a reality less wonderful and fairy-like as they wondered, so in Union Pacific he sings:

- Following the american dream,
   after the Italian miracle
   and the european community
   ... we feel alone, my friend
   working on this line of the
   Union Pacific ...

 

The single of the album is La ola, a song with a fast & cheerful rhythm that almost obliges you to jump and dance (really music for your feet!) The band tries to re-create the atmosphere of a soccer stadium, with supporters who shout and toss themselves about. It seems almost like a chorus for a brazilian or spanish team, with whistles, maracas, car-clacsons and other strange sounds in background, but it isn't, because through the lyrics Luca ironizes about soccer world with its stars, payed millions of dollars and cuddled as godlikes.

Notice that Mau Mau recorded this album at Sound Castle Studio - Los Angeles, with mixing by Eric Serafin, who shaped the great sound of Fight your mind by Ben Harper, some months ago.

Maybe Viva Mamanera is one of the best album of 1996, looking at the Italian rock scene. Actually in the latest years several young bands (and Mau Mau are among them) have ventured upon something new and original thus competing with those bands which usually & unfortunately top the sales list such as some Take That's clone or other improvised singer-song writers or rockers who, sponsored by shrewd promoters as well as a calculated look, drive very young girls crazy.

Copyright © 1996 Mario Branciforti e-mail address

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