Italy - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 1 - 11/25/96
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 ?
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