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Project description

This research project focuses on the vast movement of Italian popular music artists who, since the late 1980s and early 1990s up until today, have engaged with the memory of the WWII antifascist Resistenza and the Italian civil war (1943-1945). Some of these artists have brought such memory to the very core of their creative activity and intellectual reflection. The study considers musicians of national renown – such as The Gang, C.S.I., Modena City Ramblers, Giardini di Mirò, Assalti Frontali and others – as well as smaller scale and local music initiatives. Part of the study is dedicated to the examination of musical repertoires and expressive idioms. Recapturing perspectives from memory and media studies, it brings in sharp relief processes of mediation and remediation of the past as foundational strategies of musical memorialization and elucidates the complex reformulation of representational referents and memory signs in Italian popular music through intertextuality, irony, and formal experimentation. Further, the study explores the social and medial networks and the participatory events within which the memory of the Resistenza is cultivated musically. Considering music as a communicative medium, an affective experience and a social practice hatched within networks of engaged citizenship, it sets out to probe music’s contribution to a broader public debate about the Resistenza and its contested legacy in today’s Italy. The project explores how the musical mobilization of antifascist memories provides an avenue of active vigilance over the present. Here, the legacy of the WWII Resistenza serves as an ethical and existential point of reference for interrogating contemporary inequalities and emancipatory struggles.


Federico Spinetti